Stefan Bachmann

"Spellbinding . . . Readers will fly through the pages."
—Soman Chainani, New York Times-bestselling author of The School for Good and Evil series
"Bizarre and hugely suspenseful." —Kirkus A DROP OF NIGHT Read More "Richly realized . . . Accomplished . . . This is a story young fantasy buffs are sure to enjoy." — The New York Times THE PECULIAR Read More "A wonderfully evocative world, beautiful prose, and interesting characters. Bachmann just keeps getting better and better". -Christopher Paolini, #1 NYT Bestselling author of the Inheritance Cycle THE WHATNOT Read More "Four of horror fantasy’s newer stars share tales and correspondence . . . A hefty sheaf of chillers—all short enough to share aloud and expertly cast to entice unwary middle graders a step or two into the shadows." -Kirkus (Starred review) THE CABINET OF CURIOSITIES Read More

Tidbits of Cinders #4 – Trailings and Book Launches

Cinders and Sparrows - Triggle

Mushroom strutting purposefully.

So, I spent quarantine in emotional turmoil in my pajamas, figuring out iMovie, and I made a book trailer for Cinders and Sparrows! It took me 84 years, and HarperCollins made their own video, which is much snazzier and more professional, but I MADE THIS FROM SCRATCH, and it was kind of a joy, so I hope you like it.

Here it is!


On October 13th, 6PM Central Time, I’ll be doing a launch event for Cinders and Sparrows, hosted by the lovely people at the Chicago-based Barbara’s Bookstore. It’s online, so you can be anywhere in the world to join, and registering for the event will give you 10% off on purchasing the book. Hopefully I’ll see some familiar faces there, because book events are scary and online book events are even scarier.

I remember doing one with a school in Brazil where I and an alarmingly vast auditorium of middle-schoolers who did not particularly speak English tried to entertain each other for an hour, while the internet cut in and out and teachers ran frantically to and fro across the stage and actual hurricane raged outside. Good times. But now with the pandemic, online events seem to be sleek and fine-tuned, so yayyyy, I’m excited to celebrate the book launch with real people, even if we’re all in different countries.


Cinders and Sparrows - Greenhouse Ghost


Good news:

  • Cinders and Sparrows is a Kobo Best Book of the Month.
  • The Bulletin for the Center of Children’s Books called it “A significant and foreboding mystery,” and said “Bachmann balances horror, magic, and a coming-of-age story with aplomb”, which was very nice of them. (Also ‘aplomb’. A word.) They also said readers might be sad that it’s a standalone, which was equally nice. It is a standalone, and I remember fondly the bittersweet feeling of reading a book and then finding out the author had died like sixty years ago and any further adventures were up to me to daydream about.


Cinders and Sparrows - Audiobook


  • There’s going to be an audiobook, narrated by Justine Eyre in a lovely English accent, with music by me, and you can pre-order it here, or get it on Audible. They’re even making CDs which are apparently still a thing.


More soon! 🙂

Tidbits of Cinders #3 – The Castle Arrives


So, a few weeks ago, I teased a project I was working on involving the floorplans of Blackbird Castle, and now it’s herrrrre! Click on the button above! Wander Blackbird Castle’s haunted halls! Poke your head into its secret chambers! Lose your head to a carnivorous piece of furniture! Come back headless and let me tell you about the process, because making this was a JOURNEY.

At first this project was just going to be a printable encyclopedia like the faerie encyclopedia of The Peculiar, but then I thought of doing a floorplan, because as we’ve established, I love floorplans, and then I thought maybe the floorplan should be interactive and clickable, and then I thought maybe I should become an alpine penguin herder because it would be easier than trying to learn programming language, and then I took a deep breath and realized I could enlist the help of others, and so I closed all my tabs on penguin herding, and got to work.

I found one person to make the digital art. I found another person to program everything. I found my mom and asked her to do spot art for 22 rooms, as well as the beautiful frame featuring five very important elements from Cinders and Sparrows, all of which she kindly agreed to do. And then I spent hours and hours compositing, learning how to photoshop, figuring out why cropping an image can make it blurry, writing the music, writing the descriptions of the rooms, ETCETERA. It took a lot longer than I’d thought, but I’m very proud of the results.

Here are a bunch of pictures of the process.


Initial sketches of spot art for Mom. ‘Discarded glove (creepy)’ is my favorite brief.


Mom’s initial interpretation of the spot art. Mom likes things cute and nice, and in Mom’s opinion, being a ghost is no excuse not to be cute and nice. We had to talk this one out.






The final product lookin’ all marvelous.


‘Sluicing rays of light,’ though. Very important. Also, is parquet spelled correctly? I’m never entirely sure.


Talking Marble Heads in the making.


An early draft of the buttons, before I decided they wouldn’t pop enough and would make the whole thing look a bit tew monochromatic.






And there you have it! I hope you enjoy clicking around, and I just want to say thanks again to Mom for all the great artwork (there’s more coming, ahhh! Character sketches, etc.), and also to the programmer, who was a breeze to work with.

Good news:

  • Cinders and Sparrows got its first review and it’s a starred review from Kirkus! Kirkus is considered one of the toughest of the trade reviewers, and a starred review is the best sort of review one can get, so I am consequently honored, and also very grateful that the reviewer liked it.



  • If you like the cover as much as I do, the Balbusso Sisters, who illustrated it, are selling prints in their store. They have two up, including an exclusive colorized version of the frontispiece of the book, and I’m trying to convince myself to splurge and buy them, or at least the one of the cover because it would look great on my piano.

And that’s that! Only a little over a month until the book is out, ack. I’m excited.

Tidbits of Cinders #2 – Paris + Good News

I have various bits of lovely news, but first: I’m in Paris, in the former of townhouse of a former 19th-century sugar baron. (I say ‘former’, because he’s presumably not a sugar baron anymore and he presumably is a skeleton, or a jar of ashes, or a pan-dimensional being. Though I suppose he could still be a sugar baron, immortal yet decayed, pulling the strings of his sugar empire from beyond the grave. Or better yet, from within the grave, in the velvet-hung crypts of his Montparnasse mausoleum. That would be cool.)

Anyway, here are some Paris pictures, even though they have not much to do with anything, but Paris pictures are always nice.

Said ghostly sugar baron’s house.


My favorite painting I saw on this trip, and also my favorite picture I took. Thank you, Color-Coordinated Museum-Goer for standing just so.






Seats that allow you to better ignore the people around you are 100% my sort of seats.


Good book news: Cinders and Sparrows is a Junior Library Guild Selection!

Further good news: Cinders and Sparrows is also an Indie Next List Pick for Fall 2020!

Even more good news: I got my first blurb for this book from the very kind Soman Chainani, who is a New York Times Bestselling author, and very popular, and who liked it, which pleases me greatly.



Weeeee, thank you so much, Soman, and thank you also to the booksellers who voted for Cinders, and to Junior Library Guild, who has selected several of my books over the years, and to whom I’m incredibly grateful. I’m really glad people are liking Zita’s adventures so far.

This is what I’m reading

French Exit

This is me

This is me

I write words and music. Books are: faerypunk THE PECULIAR (out now), its companion THE WHATNOT (out now), 1/4 of a spooky anthology THE CABINET OF CURIOSITIES (out now), and my YA debut A DROP OF NIGHT (Winter 2016), all from Greenwillow/HarperCollins. I'm repped by Sara Megibow at KT Literary.

This is my first book

This is my first book

This is my second book

This is my second book

This is my third book

This is my third book

This is my fourth book

This is my fourth book

This is my fifth book

This is my fifth book

These are my random ramblings

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