Friday, January 25, 2013

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY: Contemporary Horror Author J.L. Petty

Welcome contemporary horror author J. L. Petty who took a break from working on her masters degree to fill us in on her first published work.  Inspired by a real event, DEATH AND THE JOURNALIST (Solstice Publishing) tells the story of a journalist who disappears one night following a plane crash upon meeting some kind of supernatural force.  The story is “a thoughtfully entertaining read that puts a fresh spin on one person's encounter with Death,” according to a reviewer. In addition to writing contemporary horror short stories, J.L. Petty has written suspense, science fiction, and fantasy fiction, and has published works in a variety of magazines and anthologies. 

She has a dog named Chewbacca, and her favorite author is Michael Crichton. 

Q: What do you consider “horror”?

J.L. Petty: I consider a shuddering feeling of fear the definition of horror.

Q: How do you make your stories “scary”?

J.L. Petty:  I make my stories scary by having really horrifying villains. I think having a great villain makes the story great.

Q:  What inspires you to write horror stories? 

J.L. Petty:  I am inspired to write horror stories by watching horror movies. I particularly like the indie movies because they always have fresh concepts that haven’t been seen with mainstream audiences yet.

Q: How do you make us care about your characters?

J.L. Petty:  I make readers care about my characters by using vivid imagery when describing them. Most writers struggle with showing versus telling. I always try my best to paint a really vivid character description.  

Q: Are you in control of your characters? Or do they push you around?

J.L. Petty:  I am definitely in control of my characters. lol. I may have an idea of how I want the characters to be that is stuck in my head. But then, when I start writing, I completely change my mind.

Q: What makes a hero/heroine? What makes a villain?

J.L. Petty: Unwavering bravery makes a hero and pure deceptive intention make a villain.

Q: How important is back story? Do you do any research for credibility?

J.L. Petty: I think back stories are extremely important; so that the story flow makes sense. I do a lot of research for credibility. It is extremely important because readers will email me with criticism and that can be embarrassing lol.

Q: Why are you a writer?  When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer?

J.L. Petty:  I am a writer because I grew up reading. My mother is a school teacher and she would always promote literacy in our house. So from an early age, I always had an aesthetic appreciation for literary arts and writing. I knew I wanted to be a writer when I was 9 years old. I would write short stories to my mother in class. She was always encouraging me.  

Q: Tell us something about yourself, e.g., do you like to read? Eat? What’s your favorite charity, holiday, book, author, character, play, movie, celebrity?  What do you do when you’re not writing? Do you have a muse? Do you like dogs or cats?

J.L. Petty:  When I’m not writing, I am in school working on a master’s degree in education. I have a dog named Chewbacca; so I am a dog lover.  My favorite author is Michael Crichton…and my favorite book is Congo. My favorite movie is Casino. I don’t have a muse yet; though, I’d love to have one someday. My favorite holiday is Christmas. Also, my favorite play is Lion King; it has beautiful scenery. My favorite celebrity is Robert Dinero and my favorite charity is Around the world, there are thousands that don’t have fresh drinking water. I donate to their cause once a year.

Author Bio
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.

Set in the fall of 2001 and purportedly based on actual events. Michael Devoe, journalist for the New York Times, is the victim of the most compelling evidences of disappearances ever documented in United States History. After a plane crash, Michael disappears one night during an encounter with an unexplained supernatural force. Authorities report that his body was never found.

The flight attendant faced the passengers. Over the roar of the engine, she spoke in a firm voice with a hint of quiver, “We are going to be okay, please put your oxygen masks on,” then she sat down and buckled her seat belt. The fat man and I were still standing. Grimacing at my cramping hands, I kept my grip on the black metal bar.

In the midst of the now-panicked passengers sat one woman, calmly flipping the pages of her Cosmopolitan magazine and taking occasional sips of her Pepsi. She seemed so calm and serene; I couldn’t take my eyes off her. She had long black hair and her face was like that of a fashion model or actress. She was wearing a black dress and needed no jewelry to define her long ivory-colored neck. This woman had the whitest skin. Her limbs were long. She seemed to ignore everything around her and was patiently waiting for the plane to crash.

As though she felt me staring at her, she turned to look at me. Gooseflesh popped up all over my skin when I looked into her cold gray eyes, then shifted my eyes to the ground. I could smell the heavy smoke rising from the engines I stared at the rain drops that splattered against the exit window. Smoke drifted into the cabin of the plane.

Publisher: Solstice Publishing


  1. I found your great blog through the WLC Blog Follows on the World Literary Cafe! Great to connect!

  2. Loved this interview. What sort of dog is Chewbacca--does the name fit? Sounds wonderful.

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