Wave FM radio presenter Travis Winks is well-known to Illawarra audiences.
But not many people are aware of a series of tragic events over a two-month period in 2016 which tore his family apart.
Winks' memoir, Shattered, is the unbelievable true story of the devastating impacts of mental illness and domestic violence.
Winks, now happily married with four children, spoke to the Mercury about his book, which recounts 67 days to a family's self-destruction.
During this period of time Winks brother attempted suicide, his sister had been jailed and his father had been shot dead by police on the family property in Freestone, Queensland.
"The 67-day period in my family's life is burnt into my brain....I just wish I could talk to my father one more time," he said.
Winks only decided to write the book after his brother Trent took his own life in July, 2018.
"I was pretty angry because we had gone through so much during that 67-day period," he said.
"After my father's death we all helped him greatly, we tried to guide him through and get him out the other side .....but we didn't get the result that we wanted.
"We couldn't get him back to good mental health. I was really angry when he had given up, and I started typing away. I always had the thought in my head - probably because the journalist in my blood - that it would be an unbelievable story."
The Mount Keira resident was not only angry, he started writing the book to help him grieve.
"I never got a chance to grieve post that 67-day period because there was so many things to have to deal with. There was police investigations, stewing over the imminent coronial inquest, which took two years to happen," Winks said.
"I also had to deal with my sister's legal issues and making sure mum was okay, and my other sister was okay .....whilst trying to keep your own full-time job and all that sort of stuff."
By the end of that first afternoon, Winks had written the prelude and the first chapter.
Six months later the book was finished.
It's now helping Winks deal with "67 days of pure incomprehensible disaster".
"The three main things that happened in those 67 days, the end result was a compound of all of those incidents," he said.
"But the reasons for my brother taking his prescription drug overdose and my sister reaching her breaking point, dad reaching his breaking point....there was quite a long build up to those three making the decisions that they made...and you know what, they weren't the right decisions."
But Winks didn't write the story for pity.
"I wrote it because I believe that people will be able to unfortunately relate and identify to various things in our story and maybe look at the choices they make and the relationships that they have, look at them differently," Winks said.
"I don't want to sound like a preacher but my family has gone through an unbelievable series of events that brought us to our knees and we are coming out the other side with those who are left.
"Things were pretty bloody bad. You can come out the other side but you got to want to, you have to want to live.
"Mental illness and domestic violence, they're the other pandemic of our time.
"As a society we have to somehow fight with everything that we've got to try and help these people through that darkest of times.
"We lose too many...it is such a waste when people feel like they can't take things anymore, like they have got to find the goodness in life.
"My family has been to hell and back but we are still trying to find the goodness. We could have played the blame game. We could have given up and all folded like origami cranes but well then what will it all be worth?
"I hope people who read this book just look at their lives and their choices and their relationships a little bit differently. They might avoid complete disaster."
67 days of pain
- September 12, 7.48pm - Travis older brother Trents is on life support after attempting suicide they are not sure he will pull through.
- October 19, 3.35pm - Travis big sister Amy was a victim of domestic violence perpetrated over 4years -her breaking point saw her destroy her abusers car and then try to end her life by ramming a tree.
- November 17, 6.05pm - Mum contacted the police afraid that husband Russell, who had taken his gun and headed down the gully, was going to take his life.
- November 17, 6.05pm - Russell Winks was shot dead by police after he threatened responding police with a firearms after a tense stand-off.
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