I wrote my first novella when I was in fourth grade: the tale of a boy (my father) and a dog (his beagle, since instead of agreeing to get me a dog of my own, he would tell me stories about his). I continued to write through my teens, when a novel of mine called “Kelly’s Ghost” gave me my first near-miss with a publisher.

At 17, I left my Canadian hometown of Peterborough, Ontario, to spend a year as an exchange student in Australia. I lived with four different host families and discovered that every family houses an entire culture of its own. I returned home and took up tae kwon do (I got my black belt seven years later). A humorous essay I wrote for English class appeared in the local paper and helped win me a partial four-year scholarship to Queen’s University. It was renewable only on the condition that I maintain an A average in my chosen major. I managed to do this, but barely, since I refused to sacrifice constant watching of movies or crushing on boys or bonding with girlfriends or, uh, skipping of classes. My parents were proud.

I taught ESL in Japan for a year and finished the manuscript of a novel called Tender, then Sway, then The Last Taboo. Now I simply call it my PGTLNA (my Post-Graduate Transgressive Literary Novel Attempt). Although it was the novel that landed me my first agent, and drew comments (some of them positive) from editors at the major publishing houses, it did not get published. This is for the best.

At this time I had moved to California to pursue a romantic relationship with Elon Musk. We were living in a rather squalid apartment in Mountain View, shared with an ongoing succession of roommates and a miniature dachshund named Bowie (after David). We rode around in a vintage Jaguar that was constantly breaking down. I continue to have conflicted feelings toward Jaguars. I love them and I really, really hate them.

After Elon sold his first company, Zip2, we moved to Palo Alto. He co-founded Paypal and I began work on a dark urban fantasy novel called Bloodangel. I also became pregnant with our first child, a boy named Nevada Alexander who died of SIDS at 10 weeks of age. I still can’t really talk or write about this. His death coincided with the Paypal IPO and our move to Los Angeles. Through the use of IVF, I had five children (twins and triplets) in four years. I also sold three novels — Bloodangel, Uninvited, and Lord of Bones.

Elon and I filed for divorce in June of ’08.

Now I live in Bel Air and share custody of my five sons with Elon, who runs a rocket company (Space X) and an electric car company (Tesla). I am writing a novel called The Decadents, about a young dancer who infiltrates a closely knit group of privileged thirtysomethings in Los Angeles with unexpected and explosive results.

I am 37. The best is yet to come.


21 responses to “BIO

  1. Lovely story about your life Justine. I wish you luck with your next novel. I’m sure that it will be very wonderful. I found you through Karen Mahoney. 🙂 I’m also a writer of YA and Adult, though I’m working to be published as we speak. 🙂

  2. Hello Justine,

    I was attracted to your blog by the title and the animal fur. I once was a zookeeper at Happy Hollow Park & Zoo and helped care for the jaguar, Sophia. I think like the car so named after it, the animal jaguar is persnickety and fickle but a survivor nonetheless.

    I’ll be interested in reading your works. Thanks for the honesty in your writing…well done.

    All the best,

    Mary Anne Groen

    • Awww, I love that. Thanks for sharing, and I hope to see you around in the comments.

      I love the big cats (and I would never buy a *real* fur) — I sincerely hope the jaguar survives its listing as an endangered species.

  3. necutsforth

    Thanks for the inspiring blog and sharing your real life story. I just stumbled across Tribal Writer when setting up a wordpress account. A thirty-something single woman writer as well I’ve recently taken the leap from a 14 year career in technology to financing my writing career from my savings. So far it’s been worth every moment, scary as hell and I’m getting better at “sitting my butt in the seat” daily (in addition to the morning pages).
    I’ll be following!

  4. You are only 37 and it sounds like you have had such a full life. You’re story is so interesting. I look forward to reading “The Decadents.”

  5. Hello Justine,
    Found your blogsite on the frontpage of WordPress so I clicked it and here I am. You’ve had such a full life and with 5 children and a writing career, your hands are so full! I am proud of you that you kept on despite all the adversities you experienced in life. Though you did not discuss the pains in your heart, I’m sure they are not few. I am divorced too with four children and a full time job. And I’ve been writing a lot these days – one of my biggest passions. I have several writing projects that I already started and will work on more this coming year.

    Sometimes, we do not have a choice in matters that happen to us. Many of them, we do. But the best thing to do is to keep going and moving on and forward. I am 40 as of this writing. And you are right….the best is YET to come!

    I wish you and your family the best. I will visit from time to time. Take care.
    – Anna

  6. Sam


    I find your bio very encouraging. It serves as motivation for me to continue pursuing my dream of being published. I have been writing for 19 years, have written six books so far, yet editors continue to shy away, and I yet have to find an agent. 14 years I’ve tried! Thanks for sharing your story!


  7. Aaron

    Hi Justine!
    I’ve recently become a big fanboy of your writing. In search for any continuation of Lord of Bones, I’ve luckily stumbled on your blog.

    I’m always boggled down by procrastination, and though I’m not aiming towards becoming a writer (on my fourth year towards a BFA), your words are very inspiring.

    Currently I’m putting your “5 Principles To Remember As You Battle The Demons of Creative Procrastination” to good use through school life and… life life.

    Thanks for reading and thanks for writing!

  8. stevesaw

    I put the guts of my reply on your Connect Me tab.

  9. Allan Johnson

    Loved reading your personal story. Wishing you the best luck possible with the new book.

  10. Pingback: How do you get an e-book signed? Novelist Justine Musk on the future of marketing | Press Release – Buzz Issue.

  11. Stumbled upon your latest post via my twitterstream….

    so glad to have discovered this inspiring space….created by an inspirational, talented, brave woman.

    will be stopping by your neck of the woods, often.


    twins and triplets in 4 years! i officially award you your super-woman cape.

  12. So glad to have you in the neighborhood. 🙂

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  14. Dear Justine:

    You are courageous and original! I really admire you. I look forward to reading all of your books. I follow you on twitter and have invited you to be a friend on Facebook. I am an author also and once spent 6 months in Federal prison for contempt of court concerning one of my books (Laguna). You can see my website;

    I am proud to have a son who got his Ph.D at the University of Toronto. He now is assistant professor of Zoology at the University of Quebec at Montreal. I have close ties with Canada.

    I laughed when you talked about your Jaguar that was always breaking down. If my wife Elena met you, she would tell you funny stories about two Triumph TR-7’s we had at the beginning of our marriage that were constantly breaking down.

    with kindest regards,
    -Jack Waldbewohner

  15. Pingback: How do you get an e-book signed? « News, Articles and Information

  16. Dear Justine,

    What a compelling bio. Thank you for sharing it. There’s nothing more than a vulnerable story to grab your readers attention. You’ve inspired me to dig deeper with my writing.


  17. Vishal

    nice post….

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