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

Baku Adventures

Right at the beginning of 2020, when all of us were still blissfully ignorant lil’ ignoramuses about pandemics, I went to Azerbaijan for a week.

It was nothing like I expected, not as surreal and over-the-top as Dubai, nor as dirty and gritty as Moscow, but kind of partway in between, a big gleaming Middle Eastern metropolis mixed up with ancient sandstone castles and minarets, and just a hint of Vienna in the tall, baroque apartment buildings lining the downtown.

On my first day I found the Swiss embassy, which made me feel right at home.

Then I stumbled across a museum of tiny books, which was equally delightful. Why are tiny books not more readily available? Think of the shelf space! *nudges publishers*

This carpet museum is made to look like a carpet.

This part of the city is made to look like a small, fake Venice.

This building was made to look like a beautiful, swoop-y wave, I’m assuming, I don’t actually know. I trekked for miles to see it, and I got a little lost and scurried across a (not-too-busy) highway, but it was worth it.

I don’t know what this demonic presence is, but I like that that one lady is completely unbothered by it and is using its serpentine skull tongue as a comfy spot to chat with friends.

So many skulls.

After that, I walked another very long way to get to one of the largest soukhs in the city, which was something I was recommended to do, and which, if you find yourself in Baku, I recommend you do, too.

They made little houses for all their outdoor plants for winter, which I thought was very considerate.


Carpets for days.

At the end of the trip, I went to the airport and shared the waiting area with a sheik’s entourage. The entourage was returning to the UAE from a hunting trip TOGETHER WITH THEIR HUNTING FALCONS. (I asked for permission to take this picture, and I’m still proud of me for doing that because they were an intimidating bunch. They were like “Is it for your Tinder profile”, and I was like, “AHAHAHA, no, I think I look more pheasant-y, actually” and they didn’t get it.)

And that was Baku! After that I went to Chicago for my brother’s wedding, and then all travel ceased, so I’m glad I squeaked in when I did.

Tidbits of Cinders #6 – The Characters of Blackbird Castle











I hope everyone had a good Halloween! I diiiiid, though I did nothing of import, only watched a scary movie (Gretel and Hansel, the new one from 2020 with all the pretty cinematography) and ate ice cream. I’ve been doing nothing of import in general since Cinders and Sparrows came out, though I have done lots of walking and reading and baking of blackberry crumbles. I’m also working on a short story about mythological deities in Victorian London that’s breaking my brain. BUT BE THAT AS IT MAY. Cinders has been out for two weeks, and so here are some of the characters that populate it.

Our heroine and long-lost heir, Zita Brydgeborn – formerly known as Ingabeth, or Mrs. Boliver’s housemaid. She’s generally a cheery and optimistic sort, but this picture finds her practicing the Language of Clouds, which she finds highly annoying.

Cinders and Sparrows by Stefan Bachmann


Bram and Minnifer – the castle’s two remaining servants after everyone else flees.

Cinders and Sparrows by Stefan Bachmann


Absinthia Klarmp, or her gravestone, at least. (I think Absinthia is mentioned one time in the entire book, but her gravestone is too nice to exclude from the character list. It is, like all of these, by my mom.)


This next one I made myself, very hurriedly, but I’m determined to do it again in detail with a proper background, and a proper hand holding the key instead of a lobster pincer, and also proper spacing of the words in the dress. In the meantime, this is Ysabeau Harkleath-Cantanker St. Cloud, Zita’s somewhat mysterious guardian and teacher.


And lastly, coin and lavender in hand, and surrounded by sinister accoutrements, Magdeboor III, our dangerous, dangerous villain. (This is a picture of her hundreds of years ago when she was alive. Things are rather different now. . .)



















There are more characters – several ghosts, an enchanted beast, a crow, and a rather ineffectual lawyer named Mr. Grenouille – and hopefully I’ll have sketches of them all eventually. Also, I’ll be able to share some exciting news soooooooon! Possibly next week. Watch this space. 🙂 I hope everyone’s doing well!

Tidbits of Cinders #5 – Book Birthdays and Thank You’s

Cinders and Sparrows


Cinders and Sparrows is out in bookstores today, which means Book Number Four is in the world, which means it’s been nine years since The Peculiar sold, which means nine years since that cold and rainy day in the Swiss alps when my agent emailed to say we had an offer and I would be a published author, which means I am now very old.

So much has happened since then: I’ve done readings from Japan to Vienna, Denmark to Detroit, events in front of thousands of people (cries in a corner), and events where no one showed up (cries in a corner). I’ve met so, so many people, most of them wonderful.


Cinders and Sparrows - finished copies
Finished copies arrived the other day and they are maybe my favorite-looking of all my books so far?


Cinders and Sparrows - title page
The arrrrrt. The hand-letterinnnng. The pink faux sheepskinnnnnnn. Ok, not the pink faux sheepskin. 


So here is my customary thank you post to the great people who allow me to write these stories. Thank you so much to my editor Virginia, who is the best, my agent Sara, who is also the best, Paul who designed a gorgeous book, the Balbusso twins for their art, Lois for her erudite copyedits and finding a timeline issue just in time so I could fix it before the manuscript was locked and the key thrown a way and ne’er another word changed. Thanks also to Mom for her read-throughs and all her lovely art pieces (more coming!), and thanks to Thomas, Rob, and Aaron from my Writers Group in Berlin who didn’t workshop this book, but who did offer tons of encouragements and community for my writing life in general.

And thanks also to youuuuuu, of course, you who are reading this, and who read my books and stories. I appreciate that so much, and I hope you enjoy this little tale of magic and spookiness and finding a home.

Happy Book Birthday, Cinders and Sparrows, fly, fly, fly!

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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