Stefan Bachmann

Tidbits and Interestings

Tidbits and Interestings #8 – Purple Lemon Socks



(The purple lemon socks will come at the end. They will have their moment. It will make sense. Sort of. Yes.)

Updates! I went to Switzerland a few weeks ago for some readings. It was very brief, so I’m sorry if I missed you. I’ll be back for a bit longer around Christmas, since my big ol’ family is going to be gathering in the childhood home before it’s absolutely GUTTED and rebuilt into a splendid modern contraption.

(Which will be sad. I mean, objectively, it’s probably going to become a much nicer house, but it’s centuries old and I’m going to miss its creakiness and drafty-ness and quirks and foibles, mice, spiders, towers of books, and random chandeliers.)

“No one cares about your trifling nostalgia, Stefan, get to to updating.”




A thing happened. You know Monster Middle Grade? The book I’ve been working for years and years, and is very dear to me? I’m shelving it. Temporarily.



Monster Middle Grade will probably still see the light of day at some point, in some form, but it’s huge and complicated, and despite many, many drafts and rewrites it wasn’t really becoming less huge or complicated. It took countless hundreds of hours of work, 1 quart of blood, 2 gallons of sweat, and a liberal sprinkling of tears to come to this realisation, but such is life. And it will be for the best. And if you’re a writer, and a project isn’t coming together, or is coming together slowly, know that that’s so normal and every single writer friend you will ever make can tell you similar tales of woe.

The good news is, I wrote a different book this year and I love it, too and it’s with my editor now and we will see what comes of it!



In farewell, here’s Henty’s theme, the hero of Monster Middle Grade. It’s a false waltz in 4/4 time that was for the ending.


Also, here’s another wee piece unrelated to books that was written for no reason. The title is a reference to the musical act of holding a note across shifting harmonies to create a dissonance, which then may or may not resolve itself into consonsance.


A Berlin Story

And now for the purple lemon socks and a brief, silly story about REAL LIFE, aka having neighbours in Berlin.

So there I was, living my best life, cozied up in my apartment, when someone rings my doorbell. It was going on 10PM so I was like, “Who is this, and are they here to murder me?” because you just never know.

I didn’t answer the door at first. I wanted them to go away and leave me alone, and also not see me looking like an ogre in pyjamas and a blanket and the aforementioned purple-lemon socks. When the purple lemon socks go on it means that I’ve made peace with the day and want nothing more to do with anyone. Purple lemon socks mean I’m done. They’re SYMBOLIC.

Whoever it was did¬†go away for a bit, and I was like “Yesssss, whew, avoided that murderer, well done, Stefan, you and your strategic murder-avoidance schemes.”

But then ten minutes later the doorbell rings again, so I peak through the peep-hole and there was someone outside who might well have still been a murderer, but who – superficially at least – looked like a normal person.

So I answered the door and was like “Yes, hello, it’s really late?”

And she told me a long, long story about how she had no wifi, and her flight was tomorrow, and she couldn’t check in, and something about kids and a grandma – because hello, emotional stakes – and could she just borrow my wifi password?

And I was like, “Sure, I mean, children and a grandma? This is serious, and she’s leaving tomorrow so it’ll be fine, and¬†I AM A NEIGHBOURLY NEIGHBOUR.”

So I give her the password and she goes downstairs and I return to my nice lil’ Purple-Lemon-Sock-Life.









Three days later I come down the stairs and who should I find painting a Narnia-sized wardrobe in the stairwell but her and her roommate.

Her friend says “Hi”. I say “Hi.”¬†Wi-fi Girl literally crawls under the wardrobe and does the Hoody-in-Mean-Girls things so I wouldn’t see her.



I saw you, Guilty McGuiltster.

So yeah, she didn’t have a flight to catch. She may not have even had a grandma. She just wanted the wi-fi password because free wi-fi. And maybe she was having a rough day, or was broke or something, I don’t know her life, but . . . I also would have given her the password if she’d just been like, “Hey, we have no wifi, can we borrow yours until it’s set up?”¬†Why be a weirdo and invent a whole involved backstory?

What I’ve learned subsequently, though, is that when you google whether you should help your neighbour out with wifi the answer is actually “No”, because people are often terrible and you don’t know what they might do with it and it’s just not smart.

That’s not a very uplifting holiday story. But if there’s any good to be taken from it, maybe just don’t answer your door after 8PM? You and your purple lemon socks deserve peace and quiet.

To end with, here’s the only picture I have of me and said socks, taken at some point where I apparently thought it was a good idea to wear them in front of other people. Also, shout-out to my leg looking like a deformed Christmas ham, we love a good angle.


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Tidbits and Interestings #7



I’m done!!¬†I did it. It was an experience. I was going to do a big post about the ordeal, but since I’m still technically a member of the army until I’m 30-something and don’t have time to get in trouble over snarking about¬†it, I’m going to wait to tell delightful tales¬†about things like. . .

I feel so accomplished.


I never posted the pictures¬†from my Japan/South Korea/Hong Kong adventures¬†from last year! I might still do¬†that. In the meantime, I went into the mountains for a bit after military and it was dreamy and here are some pictures. I read books, hiked with the parents, stayed in a castle, ate good food, saw many tiny butterflies which are so tiny they didn’t make it into any pictures. . . .





My little castle room. It brought to mind that Virginia Wolfe quote about how all you need to write fiction is a room of your own. I also need a laptop, headphones, and a steady supply of cashews, but basically yes.


I had no time to write during military, alas, so it feels very nice¬†to get back to it now.¬†I’m rewriting Monster Middle Grade for the 7th time, and as they say, SEVENTH TIME’S THE CHARM.¬†(Do they say that? They should.) This book feels like an¬†enormous puzzle and sloooooowly the pieces are coming together, and¬†it’s thrilling.


I’m off to Berlin for a while. I have a little garret and notebooks and pens¬†and my laptop and¬†music work to do, and I’m very much looking forward to it.

Book events

I’m doing one public book thing¬†between military and moving away, and here it is, this coming weekend! It would be lovely to see you there. ūüôā

Lesung in englischer Sprache im Rahmen des Festivals Lauschig РwOrte im Freien.
Park der Villa Jakobsbrunnen
Schwalmenackerstrasse 4
8400 Winterthur
When: 08. Juni 2018, 19:00
Deutscher Part: Mira Frehner
Moderation: Dominik Dusek
Musik: Linda Vogel
Weiterer Autor: Hansjörg Schertenleib

And that’s that! Farewell, friends. ūüôā

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Tidbits and Interestings #6 – Good News Edition


I haven’t done a Tidbits and Interestings in a whiiiiiile, but I have lovely news!

First bit of lovely news:

I’m super honoured to say that I’m one¬†of the 39 authors picked for¬†the¬†International Hay Festival for Literature in Aarhus 2017, which according to them is a selection of ‘the best emerging writers under 40 in Europe.’ That’s very kind.¬†This was just announced at the London Book Fair, and I’m pleased-but-also-surprised¬†because I spend most of my life¬†in the uni library with earphones in, so how do they know I exist? BUT ANYWAY, I’ll¬†be going to Denmark in October 2017 for the festival,¬†and¬†there’ll be an illustrated anthology out this May in both English and Dutch with a newly-written short story from me¬†called The Honeybee Cemetery.

I’m especially happy because I remember getting the email saying I was on¬†the longlist, and I¬†had to send a sample of writing that was¬†going to be judged by people like Matt Haig, and I was like: “Matt Haig is very famous. I don’t know what Matt Haig likes to read. What if I choose something he hates and in one fell swoop my writing career ends forever?”

So I labored over picking a snippet, and you know how when you think about things too much you make poor decisions that make no sense? So I ended up sending a piece of an obscure short story I wrote for Cabinet a few years ago, which . . . was probably quite weird and morbid.¬†But then I got picked, so I’m very grateful.

Another nice thing:


A Drop of Night‘s paperback is releasing in the US this week! Kirkus called it ‘bizarre and hugely suspenseful’. Publishers Weekly called it ‘pulpy’. xD So,¬†if you want some bizarre and hugely suspenseful but also pulpy French Revolution-y thriller adventures, you can now have them for cheaper.

(Publishers Weekly also called it ‘polished and engagingly snarky’, though, so at least it’s polished and¬†engagingly snarky¬†pulp. *pats self-esteem delicately back into place* Also, here’s a deleted scene¬†if you are inclined toward reading deleted things.)

More nice things:


It’s meeeee. Looking snotty. In front of a barn.

Switzerland’s Friday Magazine picked me for their 30 under 30 innovators and artists. I’m very flattered, thank you.

Also, I’m in Z√ľrich’s Who’s Who of 2017, which cracks me up, as I’m sure there are much¬†who-ier people in Z√ľrich, but thank you anyway.


Current Favorite Music:



This song is from the 50’s, and I don’t know what ‘ticky-tacky’ is but it’s my new ¬†favourite word. Also,¬†I love that they used a Theremin in the orchestration. (You can hear the Theremin right at the beginning and throughout. It sounds like a very sad, muted¬†violin.)

And that’s that! I’m very¬†grateful for all this good stuff, and for the people who suggest me for these¬†things¬†and¬†read my stories and talk about them, and for my agent and publishers. Thank you, truly.

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London / Oregon / Tidbits and Interestings #5



This summer ended up being much more travel-y than I was expecting,¬†which is HARD, I know, let’s all have a moment of silence and form a healing¬†circle. But in all seriousness, I was super happy to get home and sort myself out.

I got back from the US recently, which was one long panic¬†attack for basically¬†no¬†reason. Well, maybe some reasons. (Like listening to crazy presidential candidates scream 24/7 via radio/ads/your private telephone; someone should report them for noise pollution.) But no specific, blog-worthy reasons. Oregon is gorgeous and full of good food, and good people, and I’m always happy to be back. And there were no airport shenanigans either! (In fact, PDX¬†has the nicest TSA. For real.¬†JFK, GET YOUR NOTEPADS. We got selected for extra security¬†scrutiny¬†because we’re lucky like that, and the guy who patted us down basically told his whole life story and asked how the fishing was in Lake Z√ľrich. ūüėā)

But I’ll start at the beginning! London!



This seems like a Harry Potter house, no? Like, a house that doesn’t actually fit, but was kind of¬†squashed in there by magic.

I’ve done tons of London posts in the past, so this time I’ll just do some pictures of the Victoria¬†&¬†Albert Museum, which I had never been to before and which is fantastic. I do very much recommend it, if you find yourself in¬†London. It felt like it had a wider variety of displays and subjects, so especially if you’re traveling with multiple people with varying interests, it’s a way better bet than the British Museum. It had sculpture and paintings and jewelry and¬†costumes and furniture and libraries and curiosities and all the interesting things. I loved it.



Red Raincoats.



When you leave your plates in the sink too long.



Dolls are scary.



Ok, this sculpture is amazing, do we all agree? Look at that veil. Turning something as solid and non-transparent as stone into something that so clearly implies transparence and lightness is pretty much magic, I would say.



That poor brass band. Poor brass band got squashed.



Canopic jars. Practical for holding small lunches, car keys, internal organs. . .



My feelings exactly, little clay pot.



Our hotel had this solemn convocation of birds overlooking the court.



Herman is a happy potato, obviously.



What IS this?

I also met up with Emma Trevayne, which is always lovely. And then I went to all the galleries. Walked lots of miles. Ate much good food, including a shrimp burger. (Shrimp burgers, I have discovered, are the best invention since non-shrimp burgers. If you see one, get one.)

And then it was off to Oregon!



A non-shrimp burger. But still delicious.



Found myself in the wild west for a few seconds.



County Fair, bein’ all cute and stuff.



As oppose to success *without* houseplants, which, let’s be real, is¬†not even possible.



Pie for breakfast. ūüôā The best pie. My non-existent photography skills do not do this pie¬†justice.

And then it was back home to Switzerland! Whenever I get back here I wonder why I even travel in the first place when Switzerland is so pretty and perfect. And then a day or two later I want to be traveling again, but seriously. So, so pretty.



I would be a Swiss cow, if that were an option when choosing what to be. They have nice views.

I also met a pig, back in Switzerland. I thought you should know.



His name is Napoleon and he is plotting the downfall of capitalism. Poor Boxer.

And now, Things!





Hope everyone’s hale and happy. ūüôā Bye.

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Tidbits and Interestings #4

Hiiiiiiii, so this is an in-between-post because life has been busy, and by life I mean college. So we shall do a Tidbits and Interestings, wherein I will list up my current favorite things, and then I’ll do some actual¬†blogging shortly.

Current favorite art:




I’m really into video game concept art right now, which is weird¬†because I don’t actually play video games. This is from a game called Bloodborne. It¬†seems to be mostly about gallons of blood and viscera, and I could never, eeeeeever play it because I would vomit all over the screen. But the art is cool and inspiring and I love the mood and the light and the Gothic atmosphere. Would read if it were a book. *holds out hands to universe*

Current things I need to tell you ’bout:



The Radiant Road by Katherine Catmull


The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud












And that’s that! I will do some actual blog posts once the worst of my finals are over.

Hope everyone’s well! ūüôā Bye.

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