Hello, my name is Julianne and I am a Zombie-holic.

(Hears the chorus of other Zombieholics in the room chanting “Welcome Julianne”).

It’s been less than five minutes since I last thought about Zombies, or read something about them, or heck even wrote about them. It all started a very long time ago. I was six and home for the day. I had a fever and my mother hadn’t wanted to send me to school. Instead she bundled me up on the couch in front of the television with the remote control and told me to call her if I needed anything.

Unbeknownst to my mother, she was about to unleash more monsters upon me. My first ill-advised exposure to the horror genre occurred at the age of four when my parents let my two older brothers and myself watch Alien with them. All I can say is I lasted longer than to two of them combined before I ran screaming from the room. But I digress…

With remote control in hand, I flicked through the cartoons, not finding much of anything I hadn’t seen already and wanted to watch again. I became embroiled at one point within the jagged plotlines of a soap opera before stumbling upon a grainy black and white movie that had just started.

That movie was George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead. And it scarred me for life – in a good way.

Have you ever watched something so profound in your formative years that you’ve never forgotten it? Both of the horror movies I watched at such an early age represent the beginning of my love for the feeling that fear can evoke. And Night of the Living Dead opened up a world larger than any I had ever imagined.

From that moment forward, I would do my best to watch (albeit secretly) any movie that contained the undead, and read anything that I could get my hands on that contained the subject matter. The librarian in my elementary school did his best at trying to satiate my hunger for books. To this day I can walk into that school and still find books that likely have no business being on the shelves where young children can find them.

Heck, I even started to write about them. Back in those days, I didn’t have any idea that I wanted to become a published author – I was just recording the types of stories that I wanted to read. They are rudimentary at best, but some of them contain quite a few twisted ideas I have already used in one tale or another.

Days with the Undead was born on an occasion when I needed to process a few demons. It’s a journal of survival told exclusively from the perspective of the main character. What better way to work out my own struggles than to place it against the backdrop of the undead? Zombies are the best reflection of what is wrong with ourselves. They show us the side of ourselves we’d rather not admit to having and that’s part of the reason I love them so much.

So you might ask why I’m here, standing in front of you and telling you my story. Well, I needed a place to share my own experiences and find a little common ground with other addicts out there. They are coming and when they do, I figured it was best to surround myself with others who understand and appreciate just what they are. Thank you.

**This post first appeared on Toni Lesatz’ My Book Addiction as a part of her zOctober 2013 event**

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