Jason Schechterle was only 15 months into working his dream job when a runaway taxi slammed into his Phoenix Police Department patrol car and trapped him in an inferno. Flames devastated his face, hands, and much of his body.
Burning Shield, an independently published book, tells the story of Jason's brave struggle toward a new life. Readers witness wrenching moments, like the time almost two months after the crash when Jason's wife stopped her car, banged on her steering wheel, and screamed a desperate prayer: "Just take him. I can't do this anymore. He has no quality of life. He can't battle these infections. Please, God, don't make us suffer anymore."
Let’s just go for it on our own. We’ll have creative control. It will be 100 percent the book we want.
Readers have given the book an average of 4.8 stars on Amazon and posted reviews saying "cried often and cheered just as often" and "so inspirational."
Burning Shield exists because Jason met Landon J. Napoleon at the ideal time. Landon, an author whose first novel became a movie, was looking for a new project. And Jason, who was a decade into his recovery, believed a book would be the best way to share his message about the everyday strength we all can find inside ourselves. "It took about three minutes for me to know Landon had to write this book," Jason says.
He would go on to marvel at Landon's level of thoroughness, at the way he interviewed and interviewed and interviewed until he knew exactly what each firefighter and each police officer and each paramedic was thinking as they struggled to save Jason. For his part, Landon says Jason put so much time into sharing the details of his life that he's basically the book's co-author.
When it came time to share Burning Shield with the world, Landon decided not to approach any traditional publishing companies. His previous book, which his literary agent believed would be a huge hit, went through a long – and occasionally very hopeful – process that ended in all the big publishers saying no. Landon laughs, remembering what he said to Jason: "For both of our health and sanity and wellbeing, let's just skip that part. Let's just go for it on our own. We'll have creative control. It will be 100 percent the book we want."
So Landon put the book out independently using Kindle Direct Publishing, one of Amazon's self-service publishing platforms.
"Amazing" is the word Landon uses to describe the first months after publication. "We were selling a lot of copies quickly and entered the Amazon top 100 for biographies and memoirs, and we received a rave review from Publishers Weekly."
Jason is gratified that readers are taking the book the way he intended – not as a hero story about one exceptional police officer but as what one Amazon customer called a story about "less than perfect people who rise to and above the situation driven by love, commitment, loyalty, and character."
After all, Jason says, "I still feel like Jason, and I still am just Jason."