“Why haven't you written a book, yet? I don't get it. You should have a book!”


Writing my first book was not a bucket list project. It was not a big goal I wanted to cross off my dream board, or a milestone I set out to achieve.


Writing this book has felt like an obligation.


Before you take that the wrong way and jump to conclusions, allow me to explain. For the last eleven years, I have received countless messages from strangers and letters from people incarcerated. They have found themselves down a similar path that I once walked. At every presentation I deliver, I'm approached by individuals seeking advice on how to overcome their personal struggles.


I am not a therapist. I am not equipped to counsel or support anyone. I’m the woman who shattered countless lives with one decision. I was the eighteen year old girl who drank, drove, and killed my best friend.


I may not be able to counsel these individuals but I have to do something for them. I am someone who understands exactly where they're at right now: paralyzed with the unknown, wondering if survival is even an option, and feeling completely and utterly alone on that journey.


They need a light at the end of the tunnel. They need to know that yes, this road DOES continue forward… no matter how bumpy it may be. They need to know that others have made it out the otherside. They need to know that (with a whole lot of heart and hard work) they can use their mess for good. They CAN find light in the darkness.


Eleven years ago I searched the shelves of a Barnes and Noble Bookstore. I was looking for something, anything, that would give me that light. Something that would tell me that my journey didn’t end here… that there were things I could do to keep my friend’s memory alive and prevent others from repeating my mistake. I broke down in the middle of that store when I couldn’t find anything.

You can read the full “Barnes and Noble” story by downloading the introduction to my book for free. Click here to read the full story.


I felt obligated to create a tool (the book) that could serve as a guide for that uncharted path.


But why has it taken me over eleven years to finally put that book on the shelf?


Frankly, it’s taken me that long to find that light at the end of my own tunnel. It’s taken me eleven years to feel comfortable enough sharing a message of hope rather than one of uncertainty for my future. Trust me, it's not all rainbows and sunshine over here… but those beautiful beams of light are starting to creep their way through. I knew I was called to share my message in a big way and I knew part of that would include a book… but I had no idea what those pages would hold. I have been approached with a two different book deals over the last few years. I turned them both down. Why? The vision those individuals had for the book was not my own.


I responded with “no thank you.” I wish I could have countered with another angle or message… but at the time, I had no idea what those pages were supposed to include. I didn't know what message I wanted to share with my readers.


When you experience the roller-coaster like I have, sitting down to write a book is overwhelming. “What stories am I going to tell? What parts do I need to leave out? What is the message that will best serve my audience? Who is this book for? What difference do I want it to make for them?” Everyone wanted to know “my story.” They wanted to know what these years have been like; the good, the bad, and the ugly. They wanted the over-dramatized hollywood version they had become accustomed to through the major media outlets who covered my story.


But that didn't feel right. That angle never felt right.


How would a hollywood version of my story serve others? I couldn't stand behind that. I knew this project needed to be so much more than that. I shifted the focus. My story couldn't be the thing that guided the book writing process.


If not my story, what would guide this book?

I reverse engineered my own journey by asking myself, “What were the most significant parts of my journey? What were the moments that pushed me forward? What were the stops along the way that others could relate to?”


These answers set the stage for the 6 Pillars that make up Shattered. Removing my own story, these pillars can apply to anyone experiencing adversity in their life. Now THAT could certainly serve others much more than the Hollywood pitch I was given.


Once I outlined the key pillars, I knew that wasn’t enough. Sure I could deliver the pillars, thought provoking messages and actionable takeaways… but that wouldn’t be enough. We’re all skeptics, aren't we? People can tell us to do (or not do) something time and time again… but until we see ourselves in those shoes or make an emotional connection, we don’t take action. I knew that I needed to use my story as the example. I needed to take my readers on my own journey to illustrate the importance of each pillar.


Shattered shares with you my journey on a mission to “put the book on the shelf.”


Each pillar (chapter) shares a part of my personal journey. At the end of each chapter, you’ll find either a “What Can I Do?” or “Consider This” section. Those sections are a special part of the book with a message just for you. Although my story may be different from your own, my hope is that the messages and action steps will resonate with you and your own story.

My story is simply being used as an example on this journey the reader and I are taking, together.

Jessica Rasdall