Stefan Bachmann

"Spellbinding . . . Bachmann is a terrific, ambitious writer."
—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

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. 🙂

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.


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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