Bestselling author Jessica Knoll has revealed the inspiration behind her hit novel.
The truth behind the best-seller “Luckiest Girl Alive” isn’t far from the fictional story created by author Jessica Knoll, who revealed that she — like her protagonist — once gang raped.
In a chilling essay shared on Tuesday, Knoll opened up about a sexual assault she suffered by three boys at a high school party when she was 15, and the torment that inspired her to write her debut novel.
“The first person to tell me I was gang raped was a therapist, seven years after the fact. The second was my literary agent, five years later, only she wasn’t talking about me,” she wrote in her heart-wrenching piece published in Lena Dunham’s site, Lenny Letter.
“She (my agent) was talking about Ani, the protagonist of my novel, ‘Luckiest Girl Alive,’ which is a work of fiction. What I’ve kept to myself, up until today, is that its inspiration is not,” she continued.
The hit author had previously avoided questions from readers on how she penned the harrowing and accurate description of the gang rape and the trauma that followed for her protagonist.
Fans were especially curious as Knoll’s vague dedication in the thriller reads: “To all the TifAni FaNellis of the world, I know,” referencing main character, TifAni FaNelli.
The former Cosmopolitan editor described in detail her rape: A night she remembered with blurry painful snippets, which included drinking, flirting and later a boy’s head in between in her legs. She wrote there were waves of pain and a memory of a boy “falling above me in an excruciating rhythm.”
The debut thriller was an instant best seller.
What followed was confusion over what happened that devastating night and a period of being teased as a “slut” by classmates.
“What was the point in raising my voice when all it got me was my own lonely echo?” she recalled.
“Like Ani, the only way I knew to survive was to laugh loudly at my rapists’ jokes, speak softly to the mean girls, and focus on chiseling my tunnel out of there,” she continued.
Now, the 32-year-old said she’s ready to confront her past because “there’s no reason to cover my head.”
“I’m not fine. It’s not fine. But it’s finally the truth, it’s what I know, and that’s a start,” she wrote.
“The Luckiest Girl Alive” was released last May. It was quickly compared to Gillian Flynn’s popular works and became an instant best seller, with actress Reese Witherspoon looking to turn the book into a movie.