Justine Gardner 

Blood, Bone, Feather, fiction, Issue 51, June 2020

Justine B. Gardner was born, raised, and still lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her young son, old husband, and two cats. She is a former dog trainer, a past pizzeria proprietor, and a current freelance copy editor and writer. Her story "Hagride" was recently selected as part of a new horror anthology by Dark Ink, The Half That You See, to be published in March 2021.

Get to know Justine...


July 7, 1974

When did you start writing?

In my teens. I was a creative writing major in college…and then it was a ball I dropped for too long.

When and what and where did you first get published?

I decided in late 2016 to finally start getting my work out there. I was as green as new grass and no doubt offended a lot of editors with my poorly formatted submissions and dorky bios. (Sorry, everyone!) My first story to greet the public was “Nature Will Provide,” a finalist in the 2018 Literary Taxidermy Short Story Competition and published in that contest’s anthology, Telephone Me Now.

Why do you write?

I can’t imagine not writing. Even when it wasn’t the main focus of my life, I was still writing. Poems, essays, short stories; there is a drawer full of half-finished novels. A few completed ones, too. Writing is a way to process things; find my feet. Without it the world is too big, too frightening to consider.

Why do you write Science Fiction and/or Fantasy?

I write what I want to read, and I want to read weird stories that make my brain have a little think.

Who is your favorite author? Your favorite story?

Too many and varied to pick just one! I love authors that take me strange places, even if (or maybe because?) they are not genre-specific. Currently on book two of Neal Stephenson’s Baroque Cycle and loving it. “It’s Against the Law to Feed the Ducks” from Paul Tremblay’s Growing Things is a short story that has stuck close by me the last few months.

What are you trying to say with your fiction?

I don’t know how to answer this without feeling like I’m lying, or making something up to please the teacher. If I’m truly honest, I don’t know that I am trying to say anything: the stories always surprise me with what they are trying to tell me. Which I guess often boils down to: “Hope for the best, expect the worst.”

If you could write your own epitaph, what would it say?

Nevertheless…she persisted.”


Do you blog?

Not with any great regularity, but I am trying to do better. I have a website at www.grumpstonegazette.com, where I say some things now and again.

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