On Wednesday April 15, Leza Lowitz, a prolific writer and yoga instructor, invited interested High School students to join her in a discussion about the process and dedication behind one of her most highly-rated books Jet Black and the Ninja Wind.
Jet Black and the Ninja Wind is a fictional story of a girl, Jet, who lives with her mother on a Navaho reservation. She finds herself orphaned and, following her late mother’s wishes, moves to Japan to live with her grandmother. While living with her grandmother, Jet learns that she is the only one who can protect a hidden family treasure.
Although the book tells quite a tale, Leza visited ASIJ to tell the story of her book’s journey from idea to final product. From inspiration to fruition, the creation of Jet Black and the Ninja Wind spans more than 15 years. Defining dedication, Leza’s husband, Shogo, took her inspirations and turned them into a hand-written Japanese language draft. This first draft required deep research into the history of Japan, ninjas, Native American life and culture as well as any other topic even just brushed upon. They then worked on a translation of that transcript, editing it and then they let it sit. Inspiration later struck again when young adult novels rose in popularity. They rewrote and reedited Jet Black to fit the new style.
Leza also spoke in depth about the inspirations for Jet Black and its characters, from her husband’s reflection of family members to her own desire for a strong, Japanese female role. She emphasized that in order to write something that others will want to read, you must write about things that truly grasp your own attention.
A 15 year process cannot be so shortly abridged. However, Jet Black and the Ninja Wind went through a writing process that many successful books must. Conception, research and countless edits—all while putting yourself into a book and topic that you are thoroughly interested in—are hallmarks of a personally fulfilling piece, if not a public success.
You can learn more about Leza Lowitz on her website.