Many challenges, milestones, and years later, Ashley began working on her book Unbreakable. The works explored spiritual lows with grace and gratitude, carving out a path for a self-care journey that she would later need to follow but had no idea the words were written for her. In 2018, she hit pause on creating the book when she faced the life-altering tragedy of losing her husband and daughter in a fatal car accident. Feeling helpless and torn, Ashley had to find an almost immediate way back to herself to care for her surviving daughter now as a single mother. The emphasis sat on the word survive for nearly three years before she was back at her red laptop atop the black desk nestled against a dining room window overlooking a pond. It’s there where the sound of water not only brought her peace but rejoined her with her late daughter’s water-loving presence. She began reviewing the pieces of her abandoned manuscript only to discover she had written her own healing guide.
"After experiencing great tragedy, I now feel this book was almost prophetic in nature," she said. "It’s almost like I was writing about strength and overcoming as if I was preparing myself for what would happen. In essence, I can now say wholeheartedly that I am unbreakable. I feel this book is now a testimony to aid those who are grieving, fighting to be heard, and for those who are still finding themselves. I hope this book gives a voice to those who can't articulate their emotions. I want this book to be that flicker of light in all the dark that helps someone make it through."
As a writer who chronicles experiences, whether they are her own or if she’s channeling the energy of others, Ashley wants to be remembered as someone who inspires people to keep going. Her career in grant administration and community development allowed her to impact the lives of others while she healed. Finding it therapeutic to help others in need, she recently began using more than just her words to impact her community. In 2021, she founded Baton Rouge Legacy Foundation, a nonprofit that seeks to connect people with the tools and resources to increase their quality of life by offering academic scholarships, community revitalization to blighted neighborhoods, and poverty-fighting efforts.
Ashley resides in south Louisiana with her loving daughter, son, and fiancé, where she enjoys traveling, writing, and a renewed sense of peace.
Louisiana author and community advocate Ashley Vaughn West started her journey as an overcomer early. As an infant, she battled meningitis, with doctors predicting she’d never read or write. Yet the love of words saw her through and fostered a lifelong gift of writing and creating, credit to her mother's steadfast hope and educational investment in her. By the time she was 12, she had begun winning writing contests, which further encouraged her to use the written word as a form of self-expression. Poetry and spoken word became her tool, and she was quickly inspired by the Harlem Renaissance and authors like Langston Hughes, Edgar Allen Poe, W.E.B. Du Bois, Zora Neale Hurston, and fellow Louisiana poet Sunni Patterson.