About Me and The Silver Ninja books

Cindy preparing for battle, image created by Antoine Collignon.

How did The Silver Ninja: A Bitter Winter begin?

It started the same way this about page did . . . with a question.

What if the character Gray Fox from the Playstation Metal Gear Solid video game . . .
was a woman?

This is the story of how I spent a decade of my life creating a female superheroine.

This is the origin of The Silver Ninja.

Although I was born in the ’80s, I grew up in the ’90s. Back then my shows were Thundercats, He-Man, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Rugrats, Spider-man TAS, Batman TAS, and She-Ra. I mention She-Ra because I owned the action figure and even owned the horse she rode on. So even as a child, I wanted stories of heroic women. But the media never gave them to me.

Wonder woman was the stereotypical heroine. Gorgeous, invincible, compassionate, and utterly boring. Rogue and Storm were powerful heroes, but they were support roles to the male characters like Wolverine and Cyclops. This is why stories of female heroes in the 90’s bugged me.

A woman in the 90’s never had their own agency. They were damsels in distress, sex objects, or babysitters. Women could not be rulers of their own destiny.

I wanted a female lead with the gravitas of Batman and the tortured soul of Punisher. I didn’t want her body to be sexually objectified and I didn’t want her to be a support role to a male lead. The character I wanted didn’t exist.

In 1998 a game called Metal Gear Solid released on the original Playstation console . . . and with its release, my life changed forever.

A lone commando by the name of Solid Snake must infiltrate a military base and prevent a nuclear weapon from destroying the United States. In order to succeed, Snake needs to defeat members of an elite Special Forces unit known as Foxhound. Throughout this game, you fight floating psychic’s, helicopters, a hulking man with a giant machine gun, and a gun-slinging cowboy. Little did I know that the battle with the Revolver Ocelot would plant the seed for The Silver Ninja.

After defeating Revolver Ocelot, a ninja appears and slices off his hand. He grips the stump of his forearm as blood spews on screen. Revolver Ocelot escapes off screen. And right before Snake could chase after him, Gray Fox blocks his path.

Gray fox from Metal Gear.

Gray Fox concept artwork by Yoji Shinkawa.

I remember my mouth falling agape when I saw him. He was tall and muscular with a color motif of blue and orange. His face hidden behind a helmet with one eye. In his hand, he held a sword that could cut through anything.

Gray Fox was the coolest character I had ever seen in my life. And I desperately wanted to play as him.

He could turn invisible, hold men above his head with one arm, and cut anything with his sword. Gray Fox wasn’t a two-dimensional character either. Demons of the past plagued his life and so did a desire to be killed by his old friend, Snake. Near the end of the game, when Snake goes to battle Metal Gear, Gray Fox sacrifices himself to save his friend.

And every time Gray Fox showed up on the screen, I kept wondering that same question.

“What if Gray Fox was a woman?”

This question haunted me for years.

On a Friday night in the year 2002, nagged by thoughts of this stupid question, I sat at my computer and answered it.

First, I redesigned Gray Fox’s suit. I liked the sleek, form-fitting aesthetic of his armor but not the visible cyborg components. I also wanted Cindy to have an imposing, muscular physique. This design would make her body type stand out in a crowd of big breasted, tiny-waist superheroines.

Finally, I based the Heads Up Display and functionality of the suit off an obscure game called Terminator 2029.

Inspiration for H.U.D. (Terminator 2029 Bethesda Softworks)

Inspiration for H.U.D.
(Terminator 2029
Bethesda Softworks)

I bet you never would have guessed that the company who published this game was the same one who published The Elder Scrolls games.

Forearm weapons inspiration (Terminator 2029 Bethesda Softworks)

Forearm weapons inspiration
(Terminator 2029
Bethesda Softworks)

The 1st draft of the book ended up a whopping 84 pages—and I say whopping sarcastically. This was not the version of the book published in 2012, it is the grandparent. I never thought of publishing The Silver Ninja, didn’t even dream of it. So once I wrote it, I showed it to my friends then buried it in my hard drive.

The book sat for years while fans on the Internet demanded stories with female heroes. Therefore, I had a story everyone wanted.

I won’t bore you with the details of how the short story became a novel and how A Bitter Winter became a rewrite of that novel. Writing and rewriting the book was a huge undertaking, we’ll just leave it at that.

What I will say is that A Bitter Winter is the result of years of dedicated hard work. With this foundation in place, The Silver Ninja: A Bitter Winter resets the series to zero.

Cindy didn’t become the female version of Gray Fox like I had intended. Instead, she exceeded my expectations and became something better. Cindy became a vigilante unafraid of breaking the law in order to get justice. If you want to read The Silver Ninja: A Bitter Winter.

Click the image below to order your copy.

A Bitter Winter 2018 promo artwork by Alexander Chelyshev

Biography

Author Wilmar Luna 2018From the time he put on Superman pajamas and leapt off a flight of stairs, Wilmar Luna has been captivated by stories of heroes saving the day. As he grew older, his fascination with 90’s pop culture, video games, and movies filled his overactive imagination with fantastical worlds and legendary heroes.

He found an outlet for his creativity by studying video editing and motion graphics design at Mercer County Community College. After graduating in 2008, he freelanced throughout New York City and has edited numerous indie films, freelanced for the NFL, and also worked with the cinematics team at Rockstar Games. He assisted with the launch of Grand Theft Auto V and was also involved in the creation of cutscenes for Red Dead Redemption 2.

After years of watching his name scroll in other people’s credits (please don’t remove me), Wilmar wanted to develop his own projects and ideas. He decided that if he wanted to tell stories of empowered female characters, paranormal detectives, and ghost stories, he would have to venture off on his own.
Wilmar published his first novel in 2012 and his second in 2014. He also published several horror short stories on Wattpad, as well as concept ideas for a gothic fantasy novel. In 2018, Wilmar completed his novel The Silver Ninja: A Bitter Winter, fulfilling his childhood dream to create an empowered, independent, brand new superheroine for a generation of readers hungry for new stories.

For updates on his latest projects, please visit https://thesilverninja.com or follow him on Twitter @WilmarLuna.


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