The Questioning Blogger Edition

The Questioning: Justine Bergman

The Questioning is where everything gets upside down. Every month I invite one author and one blogger, who showed me great support during my blogging life. Then I push them waaaaay out of their comfort zones. Authors has become interrogators and Bloggers get interrogated. Rest assured, no one gets hurt (much) and everyone has fun (eventually). You can find every related post on The Questioning page!
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My name is Justine, web developer by trade, ravenous reader, excited reviewer, dark fantasy enthusiast, mother of pups, drinker of strong coffee, and player of games. I do my best to organize my brain over at Whispers & Wonder, my personal SFF book blog, and I’m also a contributor over at Fantasy Book Critic and The Fantasy Hive. You’ll usually find me with a book in my hands, and one day my to-be-read pile will probably crush me to death

Welcome to the Asylum! Take a seat by the fire, have a glass of beverage of your choice and tell me something about yourself!

Well, hello, Timy. So happy to be here! I’m a reader and reviewer of all flavors of fantasy and science fiction, however I am a self-labeled dark fantasy enthusiast – the grittier, the better. I recently launched Whispers & Wonder, a place where I keep all my thoughts together, and am also the newest member of the Fantasy Book Critic and The Fantasy Hive families. I’ve been falling deeper and deeper into the self-published rabbit hole, and I couldn’t be happier!

New Jerseyan, born and bred. I’ve tried to leave this state several times, but I keep getting sucked back in. Wife to a lovely husband and mother to three gorgeous pups. I read too many books (impossible). I play too many games (again impossible). And I have a strange passion for yard work – I don’t know how this happened. I’m a person who loves to laugh, make others laugh, and meet new people who love to share the love.

What blogging means to you?

So, a little background: I really only started reading for fun a few years ago, as it was honestly my least favorite thing growing up. Once I cracked open my “first” book (Prince of Thorns, if you’re curious) during my commute to work, I couldn’t stop. At the time, I wasn’t part of any reading communities, not familiar with any websites or platforms, so I pretty much picked up books blindly. This was alright, but then…I discovered *trumpet blare* THE BLOGGING COMMUNITYYYY *trumpet blare*. I can’t tell you how many awesome books I’ve read based on the recommendations of others, and I felt like I finally found my people.

I began reviewing to show my love for the treasures I’d found, and while I of course do this to shine light on amazingly talented and worthy-of-much-praise authors, I mainly do it in hopes of bringing that excitement and happiness to other readers. The market is flooded with tons of great books, many drifting downriver unnoticed by those that aren’t active in social environments (this was me, so I know what I’m talkin’ about here). It’s my goal to spread word of books I’ve found to people that may never hear of them otherwise. If even just one person says “I loved that book you recommended”, that’s all matters to me.

You are locked in an asylum. What did you do to end up there?

It’s not a pretty story – the madness of NYC seeped into my bones and I finally cracked. Disappeared for over a week, and they found me in a dark and lonely basement under a mountain of books, singing Ozzman’s Crazy Train on a continuous loop. Next thing I know, all goes black, and I end up sitting across from you. It’s probably for the best.

Which fictional character and/or author would you like to live with in an asylum?

Can I pick two? Let’s go with Riyria’s Royce Melborn and Hadrian Blackwater, thief and mercenary – great stories, plenty of snark, safety in numbers (none would dare threaten Duster and Galenti), and when the time is right, they’ll have a flawless escape plan. I mean…what.

Which fictional world would you like to live in? 

Narnia, of course. Magic and mythology are two things I’ve always craved. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe was one of the few books that I actually did enjoy when I was a kid, and no lie, my bedroom closet had a hatched doorway towards the back. Unfortunately, it was not a portal to Narnia, but rather a cobweb-infested crawlspace leading to the attic. So, adult me would like to live out the dreams of 1997 me, thank you very much.

If you could switch lives with any character in a book, who would you choose? Would you like to have the author along as a fellow character? 

Timy, I read A LOT of dark fantasy, and honestly, I don’t want to switch lives with any of ‘em.

You are a treasure hunter, about to retrieve a chest of gold from a sunken pirate ship, when a beatiful mermaid/merman approaches you, trying to stop you. How do you react?

Present her/him with a dinglehopper, of course. ALWAYS have a dinglehopper handy when diving for sunken treasure – I thought everyone knew this.


Your family allows you to keep one fantastical creature at home. What do you choose?

I’m a dog person, so I think I’d have to go with Cerberus. Although, I hope it’d prevent unscrupulous people from entering my house, rather than preventing me from leaving.

Fun fact: As mentioned, I currently have three pups, and one of their collective nicknames is Cerberus, so I guess I already have a fantastical creature?

You can have one magic ability for a day. What can you do and how do you spend that day?

I know the correct answer to this is time travel/control over space and time, since I’d only get a day, but I feel the need to switch it up a bit. Let’s go with telekinesis as a means for levitation and some (mostly) harmless shenanigans. And I’m talkin’ like Michael Fassbender as Magneto levitation – I am INSANELY jealous of this. So badass. If I was telekinetic, I’d probably just be floating around all day, moving things ever so slightly to cause just a bit of mischief, and be thrilled to be able to say “I can move things…with my mind.” Care to join?

You are a magical creature living near a village. How do you get on with humans?

What humans? Oh, and don’t mind the pile of bones, that was there before I got here.

While you are locked in here for eternity, we will allow you one book – what would you choose?

The Complete Works of Joe Abercrombie: Past, Present, and Future, please? That’s a thing, yeah? This question is impossible. Let’s move along.

Well then, we hope you’ll enjoy your stay in the Asylum! Any last words? *locks door*

I just want to thank you for this opportunity, Timy. This wasn’t as bad as I thought it’d be, and I’ve really had a great time. Pretty nice place you got he…Timy, what are you doing? Timy?! TI…


Justine and me had become besties on Twitter in the past few months when I got included in their group. Whether it’s good for me or not is still a question. Anyway, Justine is awesome and you really should know her!

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