Today we welcome Travis Winks to discuss his new memoir, Shattered: 67 days to a family’s self-destruction.
Travis Winks on writing ‘Shattered’
Why does a writer write? I’d think there are plenty of motivators. To create, catalogue, reflect, honour, put bread on the table, the list could go on and on.
I began writing my story for one reason and one reason only. To grieve.
When a person loses a loved one or suffers a traumatic experience, they grieve and it usually begins seconds after the event.
Not for me. I wasn’t afforded that opportunity because of the nightmare mess my family had found itself in. It became my role to navigate us through a tunnel that felt like was closing in like the narrow end of a funnel. It was an out of control beast and I couldn’t see a finish line.
For those that love and help sufferers of mental illness and victims of domestic violence, is there ever a finish line?
Is a person ever completely healed? Hopefully, they give themselves the opportunity to find out but for those helping and left picking up the pieces, the finish line feels just as far away as it does for the poor buggers who are crippled by depression or lured in and out of violent relationships by narcissists.
What my family went through during a tumultuous 67-day period back in late 2016 still isn’t over. The hurt remains along with the worry for those that are left.
Another family tragedy in July 2018 was the ignition for me to open up my laptop and start writing Shattered.
I always thought the explosive and destructive journey my family went on would make one hell of a story, that’s the journalist in me but as I began writing I quickly realised that it was my way of grieving. I had 18 months of grief built up inside my body and writing about it was a cathartic release.
As my writing helped me through that period I also began to believe that my family’s story could help others. There are no clear cut answers or solutions on how to deal with loved ones battling depression or helping those involved in a violent relationship but support is paramount.
Supporting those providing the support is also just as important. Having been on this journey I feel that there is a major hole in this area. The supporters, who are the ones left picking up the pieces are often the forgotten people. Thankfully my now wife Amanda was right by my side throughout and remains my main support today, as I do hers.
Almost every family has a dark chapter and mine is no different. Mine just had a number of issues compound at once and my brother, sister and father all made choices that affected many people, not just themselves.
For every action there’s a consequence and the consequences can be catastrophic.
I hope reading Shattered encourages people to think about the ones they love, think about the decisions they make, to make better choices, accept help when it is offered and needed and look at life and highly challenging situations differently. We might not get the perfect outcome but hopefully, the worst-case scenario can be avoided.
I’m not sharing my family’s story for pity.
Life is worth living. We only get one chance at it and if you or a loved one finds themselves in a difficult situation or in a position where they feel helpless I hope this story makes them realise that life is worth fighting for.
Disclosure: If you click a link in this post and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission.
Shattered Book Synopsis
67 days to a family’s self-destruction
A true story about the devastating impacts of mental illness and domestic violence that saw one family self-destruct in just 67 harrowing days. Told through the eyes of a hurting brother and son, this tragic story follows three family members through a series of decisions that bring the family together and then tear them apart. Almost every family has a tumultuous chapter and this story is about the real impact mental illness and domestic violence can have. The consequences are not only catastrophic for sufferers, but also for those who love them. Travis tells his story with rawness and honesty, but also with hope and humour.
(Simon & Schuster, September 2020)
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About the Author, Travis Winks
Travis Winks is a breakfast radio news presenter based in Wollongong, New South Wales.
Winks was born at Ipswich hospital in 1980 and attended Ipswich Grammar School before graduating with a journalism degree from the University of Queensland. He has won a number of radio and television sports journalism awards and is the former Sports Director for the Australian Radio Network in Sydney. Winks spent three years living and working in the USA as one of the inaugural co-anchors for ESPN’s International Sportscenter. He is an avid fan of the Brisbane Broncos and enjoys fishing when he gets the chance to wet a line. Connect with Travis on Instagram.
Breaking & Mending: A junior doctor’s stories of compassion & burnout by Joanna Cannon / Things Nobody Knows But Me by Amra Pajalic / Jane Doe January: My Twenty-Year Seach for Truth & Justice by Emily Winslow / Skin In The Game: The Pleasure & Pain of Telling True Stories by Sonya Voumard