My Favorite Bit: Kristy Gardner talks about THE DARKEST STARS

Kristy Gardner is joining us today to talk about her novel, The Darkest Stars. Here’s the publisher’s description:

The most terrifying monsters are the ones that lurk inside…

After discovering everything she’s ever known has been a lie, Calay understands humanity’s brutality firsthand. Now, depleted rations, unexplained aberrations, and an ecosystem in collapse have driven her to the brink of madness. When a mysterious woman sent from the stars promises to grant every desire she’s ever locked away in her shattered heart, she’s forced to make an impossible decision: remain on a dying Earth or journey to a planet two-billion lightyears away in an effort to save them all.

When she arrives on the shimmering, glass-city planet Téras, Calay desperately want to believe in a better future. Despite being haunted by the past she’ll never escape, her hope is buoyed by the reunion with the mother she thought long-dead and the possibility of uniting their civilizations. The reality, however, is more horrifying than anything she could have imagined.

As the universe descends into darkness, she finds herself trapped in the far reaches of deep space, face to face with dangerous forces, unyielding truths, and feral monsters that will force her to confront the darkest parts of herself, pushing her to the very limits of what it means to be human.

In this gripping queer sci-fi odyssey, Calay’s journey through love, betrayal, and self-discovery becomes a fight not only for her life, but the survival of Earth itself.

The Darkest Stars is perfect for fans of the character-driven journey of The Last Of Us, cosmic anomalies of Annihilation, and heart-pounding action of Alien.

What’s Kristy’s favorite bit?

Kristy Gardner

Have you ever felt like you don’t belong?

I wrote The Darkest Stars main character as a bisexual, neurodivergent disaster struggling to love herself and find her power in the height of the alien apocalypse because…honestly? I’ve felt this way most of my life.

That’s where the inspiration for this book came from. I came out as bi when I was in my late teens/early twenties rather quietly. No one seemed to notice or even care. Meanwhile, I was screaming inside to be acknowledged, seen, and loved for who I was. I never really fit in with the straight community, but also felt invisible in queer ones. Like I’m both, but never quite enough to belong to either.

This Otherness and the erasure of this part of my identity was one of the first times I learned to be quiet. To be small. To shut up, shut off, and disappear. I guess in a way, writing The Darkest Stars – and Calay’s journey – was one of the ways I created space for these feelings. To be heard. Seen. And visible. Finally.

One of the biggest challenges I faced writing this book was deciding how honest I was going to be. After all, this is near-future, post-apocalyptic sci-fi, not a memoir. Plus, there’s the compounded fear of smearing your deepest, most secret thoughts on the page only to have them judged, ridiculed, or worse–unread. Still, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I had something to say about being a queer woman in a heteronormative world. So, I put pen to paper as real, flawed, and raw as I dared, given the universe in this book is brimming with aliens and hellfire.

It’s easy to write off The Darkest Stars as genre fiction with heart-dropping twists, inter-galaxy adventure, and sapphic romance, but the true core of the story – my favourite bit – is that it digs so much deeper than that.

The Broken Stars series has been an exercise in writing what I know; I just didn’t know it when I wrote the first book, The Stars In Their Eyes. Seven years passed between writing books one and two. A lot can happen in that amount of time; I suppose a lot did. The pain, self-discovery, and hard truths I grew into over that time shaped me as a person, and surprisingly, the narrative arc of this story, too.

I believe (self-identified) women and especially (self-identified) women in the LGBTQIA+ community have a unique set of challenges when it comes to claiming space. This is especially true in science fiction. Many of us know sci-fi has historically been a cis-white, straight male space. In the larger eco-system of our society and the issues surrounding who gets a voice and claims the privilege of personhood, I suppose that isn’t breaking news. I have to admit though, I find it a little shocking this reality persists in the genre since it already begs the question, “what if?” …  What if the landscape becomes more inclusive of diverse voices?

Writing this story and sharing my experience as a queer person was an attempt to make people like me feel seen. Loved. Validated. Fucking human. It was an attempt to make us kinder. More empathetic. A better species. By the time I finished writing this book, the way I explored and understood writing sci-fi had changed, and with it, the way I explored and understood myself, and others. And isn’t that the point of literature–genre or otherwise?

How sweet it is that The Darkest Stars releases on bi visibility week. Talk about a late coming out party, but hey–at least I arrived.

If you’ve ever waded into the darkness, lurked there, and then fought your way back to survive and tell the tale, this book is for you. I hope you enjoy the journey.


The Darkest Stars universal book link







Kristy Gardner is a bi sci-fi, fantasy, and horror writer. She is the author of the Broken Stars sci-fi series, and the award-winning cookbook, Cooking With Cocktails. Furnished with degrees in Gender Studies and Sociology, she crafts queer characters that adventure through space, time, and emotional maelstroms questioning what identity – and home – really mean.

When she’s not jet-setting words on her laptop, she’s chasing stars, mountain adventures, belly laughs, curating playlists for her books, and packing her carry-on for another escape to SE Asia. She resides in Vancouver B.C. with her partner.

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