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 #1 – Exploring Blackbird Castle


It’s raining, I’m holed up in my lil’ brick house in the Dutch-lands, and it’s time to bloooog. Instead of Tidbits and Interestings, which is where I talk about unrelated things that delight me, I’m going to do a blog-series called Tidbits of Cinders in run-up to the release of Cinders and Sparrows in October. I’ll be sharing music, artwork, news, reviews, deleted scenes, flattery, calumny, and various other bits and bobs, including a project!

During revisions, one of my editor’s notes was that Blackbird Castle felt like ‘a moving banquet’ (which is a nice way of saying ‘it’s unclear’) and that I should make a floorplan. So I sketched out a rough one, and then said to myself, “Weeeeee, what if other people could see this floorplan and explore the castle the way Zita does, and visit the Vestibule of Blood and see where exactly the Orchid Room is in relation to the Tiny Queen’s Throne Room?” to which I answered, “Yes, what then, Stefan?” to which I also answered, “I don’t know, but I shall do it.”


And then my mom, who is excellent at these sorts of things, made it look like something one would actually want to look at. (Thanks, Mom!)

I won’t show you what it will look like when it’s up, but it will be snazzy. You’ll be able to click on rooms and view little anecdotes about various hauntings, and see spot-art of spooky phenomena, and get glimpses into Zita’s adventures.

Fun fact: I used to be obsessed with floor-plans as a kid. I wanted to be an architect, and I remember filling entire notepads with floor-plans of imaginary castles and mansions, most of them impossibly large and impractical.

2nd fun fact: When I realized being an architect hardly ever entailed designing impossibly large and impractical mansions and mostly entailed fitting boring concrete blocks into oddly shaped plots of land, I stopped wanting to be an architect.

3rd fun fact: All of my books contain at least one bizarre and labyrinthine house. In The Peculiar it was Nonsuch House, the home of Mr. Lickerish, the faery politican. In The Whatnot it was Piscaltine’s house, with its painted, ever-shifting stage walls and pulleys. In A Drop of Night it was . . . everything. The whole setting. And in Cinders and Sparrows it’s Blackbird Castle.

I blame The Secret Garden for this (When Mrs. Medlock said, ‘The house has over a hundred rooms. .  .” I felt that) and maybe also Beatrix Potter’s kitten stories, where the kittens wander this enormous farmhouse full of cupboards and staircases, before one of them becomes bored, climbs a chimney, and is almost turned into a roly-poly pudding by rats. (If you haven’t read The Tale of Samuel Whiskers, you should. Read it to yourself. Read it to your kids. Read it to your cats. It will teach them never to climb chimneys, give them a healthy fear of rats, and also illuminate the very important differences between a British pudding and an American one.)

4th fun fact: though we’ve only made floorplans of the first and second floors of Blackbird Castle so far, I’m guessing the castle has about five floors and 150 actual rooms, as well as countless antechambers, vestibules, corridors, cellars, dungeons, and attics, most of which are odd or haunted in some way. The game is going to have descriptions of about twenty of those rooms. Maybe more will come later.


Don’t do it. *wags finger*

Anywho. Someone who is very clever with the language of code is going to make it interactive, and hopefully it’ll be up in a month or two, closer to the book’s release. Huge thanks to my mom for all the lovely artwork.

COVER REVEAL: Cinders & Sparrows


*blows dust off of blog*


*sweeps out cobwebs*


*pushes antiquated plug-ins from upper window*



It’s been ̶a̶ ̶m̶i̶n̶u̶t̶e̶  a year, but I have a new book coming out, weeeeee, and it’s lovely, and I hope people like it. It feels weird to talk about writing and books now when I’ve just kind of forgotten about the internet and ignored everything except Instagram, where all I do is scroll through delectable recipes and post pictures of my bike rides. But anyway. . .

Here it is, the cover for my next book, Cinders and Sparrows! It is beauteous and fair, and I love it. Many thanks to the Balbusso Sisters for the artwork, and Paul Zakris for the book design, and my editor and Greenwillow/HarperCollins for being the best publisher anyone could ever ask for.


Cinders and Sparrows



Thirteen-year-old Zita Brydgeborne doesn’t know the first thing about being a witch. Then, one moment to the next, she is whisked from being a housemaid in a tiny village to inheriting a castle, an enchanted wood, and entire rooms full of ghosts, treasures, and mysterious secrets.

But Zita soon realizes her newfound fortune comes with a world of trouble. Her long-lost family – a glamorous dynasty of witches who have long stood as a bastion against the lands of the dead – has been murdered, snuffed out by some sinister foe from the spirit realm, and her guardian, the beautiful Mrs. Cantanker, does not seem to have her best interests at heart.

As Zita navigates the perilous halls of her new home, she finds herself thrust into a magical battle of wills between the living and the dead. It will require every ounce of cunning, friendship, and secret power she can find, because whatever killed her family is now after her.

Out October 13th, 2020! (Just in time for Halloween, yas . . . It’s a very Halloween-ish sort of tale, with many ghosts and enchanted trees and heinous curses.)


Announcing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . CINDERS & SPARROWS

Photo by Tim Walker, who if you like the same sort of aestheteeck I do, you should google because his fairy-tale imagery is the best.


Some of you may have already seen this on Twitter or Instagram, but those are quick and flighty platforms, and is anything really official before it’s been carved into the unbreakable, everlasting stone of WordPress? I think not. So. . .


I’ve been very slow at writing these past three years. My last book was released in the US in 2016. In 2017 I graduated and intern’d in Prague. In 2018 I military’d and did quite a few other life-changing things like moving to Berlin. 2016 – 2018 I worked on a book that I love dearly but isn’t ready yet.

BUT . . . In 2018 I also wrote another book, and I’m so very pleased and excited to say that CINDERS & SPARROWS will be out Fall 2020 from Greenwillow/HarperCollins!!!!



When you get lost on the way to your goth picnic and wander into a pond, but you’re so goth that you’re kind of ok with that.


It takes place in a pseudo-Victorian world run by dynasties of glamorous witches. An orphan named Zita Brydgeborne is plucked from obscurity when it’s discovered she’s the last surviving heir to a distant castle whose original inhabitants have all been assassinated while breakfasting. Needless to say, all is not well in that castle.

It’s basically my take on a Gothic novel, but for children, and with a lot more magic and monsters, ghosts, boneyards, and skullduggery going on.

Also, I saw the cover art the other day and it’s lovely, and I just want to say thank you to my awesome editor and agent, and to Greenwillow for continuing to let me write books. I’m beyond lucky and grateful to be working with these people.

So. . .




Mark your calendars! Add it on Goodreads! Rename your firstborn! Or just return to whatever you were doing before you read this post on the internet about some book among 47,000 other books! Regardless, I’m super excited. Writing this book was a startlingly enjoyable experience, and while its release is still a while off, I can’t wait to share this story with you guys. 🙂

This is what I’m reading

French Exit

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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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