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J.L. Petty is an author of several short stories. She published her first book “Death and the Journalist” with Solstice Publishing, February 14, 2011. Her stories range in contemporary horror, suspense, science fiction, and fantasy fiction.  Over the years, she’s written for various magazines and has been featured as an author in several anthologies. Petty discovered her love of writing at an early age and started working as a contributor for The Virginian Pilot Newspaper. After working with the local newspaper in her hometown, J.L. Petty embarked upon a career in entertainment journalism and also worked for United States Congress. She is currently working towards a Masters degree and resides in Virginia.

Inspiration for City of Shadows, White Zombie Anthology

First off, I was really attracted to White Zombie’s concept upon first hearing about it. I was intrigued about this project because it talked about the usage of retroviruses and genetic differences between the racial groups on Earth.  It wasn’t your “everyday” zombie story concept. It was bold, creative, and artistically diverse. I fell in love with the basis of this anthology and so desperately wanted to be a part of it.

“City of Shadows” is about two brothers who race through the streets of Tokyo to find a cure before one of them succumbs to the virus. I think because this anthology talks about culture, I decided to incorporate and Asian theme. Horror can be culturally diverse and I wanted to challenge myself as a writer and tell this story from another perspective. I’ve always been a fan of anime and some of the greatest horror movies have originated from Japan and have been mainstream successes. This plot is taken place in Tokyo, one of the largest cities in the world, so I thought a zombie theme would be excellent because of how huge this area is, so a zombie-like virus spreading could be colossal because of how big the population is in Japan. Originally, I wanted the main character to be a girl but I thought it would be better suited being a boy because of the motorcycle chase scene in the beginning of the story.

I chose to focus on a relationship between two brothers because I thought that would heighten the level of emotion and compel readers to feel sorrow when one brother succumbs to the virus. I was trying to relate to readers to some degree by evoking sympathy in one of the characters. I really enjoyed writing this story and I hope readers enjoy it as well.