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

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.


Japan Adventures – Tokyo and Kyoto



This post will be ONE GIANT THROWBACK THURSDAY. I never got around to blogging about being in Japan last year, but I took many pictures which I think are pyootiful – not because I know anything about photography but because Japan is so pretty you could have your camera on self-timer and just pirouette through the streets and you’d get lots of good pictures – so I figured I would do a massive post full of pictures or they will never see the light of day.

Backstory: My mom was there for her 60th birthday. She made lovely paintings. I jogged around Nijo Castle every evening. We lived in a house in Kyoto made mostly of paper, and then Mom returned to Switzerland and I moved into an apartment the size of a small packing crate in the depths of Tokyo’s Takadanobaba district. It was great. I’ve split this post very scientifically into phyla, classes, genera, and species, beginning with. . .

Random Pretty Pictures

Origami crane


Fluffy Chrysanthemums at a Chrysanthemum competition in a temple courtyard. (I hope that purple one won. It was A++ fluffy.)


Fall colours.


I imagine these lanterns having the personalities of grouchy elderly people and gossiping about everyone who passes by. Make it a short, Pixar.





Judge-y, judge-y.


The famous Torii gates in Kyoto, featuring a black cat who is almost certainly a spirit of the dead.




This is my favourite picture. It looks like a corny postcard, but it was just a regular scene we stumbled across one afternoon in a Kyoto park.







This photo makes the Golden Pavilion look very serene and lovely, like something you would find while frolicking through a woodland glen a thousand miles from civilisation, but no, dear reader, do not be fooled. There were a million people around and I held the camera really high in the air so their heads would not be in it. If you look carefully you can still see a head, though. Off with it.



Now I’ve gotten most of the fancy pictures out of the way, here are the food pictures.


Green tea ice cream

Elena, who has an excellent instagram and who happened to be in Kyoto at the same time as me, knew of a pretty great ramen place. It was cool. You ordered and paid at a machine in a narrow passageway, got a stub of ticket, waited a good long while, because lots of other people thought it was a cool place, too, and then got the above dish, which was delectable.


Travelling with family means eating much nicer food than I would ever buy for myself. Note the six raspberries. Someone had to count those out. Imagine being a Counter of Raspberries. Also, please tell you me you thought that red goop was jam, because I did, and I dipped a ridiculously perfect bite of French toast into it and it was KETCHUP. I’m still mad about the shock of that bite.


Every department store in Tokyo has a food court in the basement with the vastest, most beautifulest array of pastries you will ever see.










YUMMMMMMM. (Ok, I don’t actually know what this is, but I’m sure it’s good. Don’t judge books by their covers. Don’t judge people by their shoes. Don’t judge gobbets of brown goo by the pale, tumorous lumps floating within.)

This was the pastry I ended up buying. It had about seventeen layers under that shiny red shell.


Look at this small adorable bird, which is edible and filled with sweet bean paste.


Look at these small adorable birds, which are also technically edible but are not filled with sweet bean paste and therefor should be left alone.


After 22 o’ clock the pasta ceases to be yummy. Don’t say they didn’t warn you.


Random pictures that are not artsy at all

Fashion. Also, how I feel when more than one person tries to call me on any given day. (Also-also, I don’t know what was going on here, but I think they were filming a video?)


My head would literally snap off my neck if I had to carry around that much hair on top of it.


The only picture I got of Shibuya crossing. Note Miss Tay Tay Swift in the top left corner, swinging on her swing, getting that Japanese coin. Look what you made her do indeed.



Uh, rude, I’m tryna take yuh pic-shah hya.


This cool squad. I love how the people in the background are wearing dark, serious clothes and this group is *not* partaking.
















At some point a bullet train was taken to Kyoto. People say Switzerland is precise and has a great train system, and like… it’s fine, but Switzerland’s got nooooooothing on Japan. See those little lanes on the ground? Those are people lanes. You form a queue to board the train. Every door of the train stops exactly in front of its corresponding gate, and each gate is marked so no one has to walk through miles of wagons to find their seat. Also, every time a bullet train pulls in, these women in pink go in and do a lightning-fast, perfectly coordinated clean up and are out again in two minutes flat. It’s fascinating to watch.


Japanese convenience stores are an experience unto themselves. I don’t know what any of those things in the picture are but I find them delightful and intriguing, and if a convenience store can delight and intrigue you, it’s pretty good.


A Dance Thing and more random pictures

In Kyoto, we stumbled across some sort of dance event. I don’t know exactly what it was and never quite found out, but doooooozens of colourfully costumed dance troupes were walking from point to point throughout the city and performing choreography and looking super happy. It was a cool thing to happen upon.



More random pretty pictures


Evening light.


Why you starin’.


Reading material and a book.


Those leeeeeeaves.


Where does the door in the water go?



And that’s that! After leaving Japan, I went to South Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, but I got very ill there and consequently took very few pictures, so we’ll see if they get a post. I hope everyone’s well! 🙂


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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