James Leitch, a 2013 graduate of Brighton High School in Burbank, CA, published his first novel, Drifting Curtain, at the beginning of his senior year in high school. The book is a story written for the Young Adult readership, and it was meant to shed light on an often untold story--the work of an Explosive Ordinance Disposal Technician. He greatly respects the hard work and courage continuously exemplified by American soldiers, expressed initially in a short story. His publisher then asked him to extend his short story into a novel.
What inspired and intrigued him, he says, are “those in the military who have a certain kind of bravery about them that allows them to traipse off into the middle of a war-zone, walk up to a device that could easily kill them, and try to shut it off before it hurts anyone else.”
James explains that his membership in NSHSS further encouraged him to pursue his artistic endeavors. He believes that organizations such as NSHSS enable students to unquestioningly devote their time, efforts, and energy to fulfilling academic aspirations. A devout reader and writer, James believes that one’s craft must be diligently and repeatedly practiced in order to reach the desired goal. He explains that learning outside of the traditional realms of academia allows a student to push one’s self and expedite the pace of the learning process. Though aware that formal education is essential to many careers, as a writer, James believes that the limitless supply of literature, articles, and historical resources allow writers to constantly develop through reading and writing outside of assignments mandated within a given syllabus. James encourages students to ceaselessly self-educate, as learning, reading, writing, and developing are never-ending processes.