Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Zürich at Christmas

[Insert convincing excuses for not having blogged in fifty bajillion years here]

Hi, peoplessssss. :) It's almost the end of December. Which means it's almost 2014. Which means next week I'm sending Dead Man's Palace to my editor and fleeing to London, and will take many, many pictures there. Haha. No, really. I'm going to try.
In the mean time, I have THINGS:

Thing 1 -  I watched Frozen. I really loved it. *claps delightedly* You should watch it, too.

Thing 2 - I watched The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. I have many opinions on it, but overall I really loved it. *claps delightedly* You should watch it, too.

Thing 3 - I wrote a poem for Cabinet of Curiosities. Writing it was utter torture. *claps delightedly* Ahem. I don't actually know anything about poetry, but it's there for you to read if you so please. 

Thing 4 - random snapshots of Zürich and Christmas-time:

Christmas is all about little red-painted trams.

And comfortable clothing.

And death in motorcycle helmets with sparkly antlers.

And floofy ponies.

And getting wash-off Winnie-the-Poo tattoos like a rebel.

And doing photoshoots at the Lindt chocolate factory. (Ok, this a whoooooooole 'nother story, and actually this happened back in September? Yeah. I don't know why I haven't blogged about this yet. It will have to be a different post.)

And eating bagel burgers.

And running smack into people in the street because you're staring at the lights. (This picture does not do justice to the prettiness that is the Bahnhofstrasse in December. A few years ago the old Christmas lights were replaced by some artsy, tubular ones, because Switzerland likes to be hip and with-it to the point of exaggeration, and they looked like this, and folk were like "Ewwwww." So they changed it. And they got it right this time, I think. Also, I don't know who those people in the picture are. Sorry, random people.)

And visiting the Zürich market. THAT TREE: It's decorated with something like 50,000 Swarovski pieces. Shiny.

And that's all. I hope you guys have an awesome Christmas and happy holidays and a good new year AND I SHAKE YOU WARMLY BY THE HAND and will post again soon with London pictures. Bye. :)

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Storytimevictoriansuperheroeblablabla - PICTURE

So, remember that last post? About the Victorian Superhero story? Little Brother just took the perfect illustration for it, and it's so great and creepy I HAD TO SHOW YOU.

(Also, I don't know how Little Brother got Other Brother to hold fire in his bare hand, but there was clearly magic involved. Or cookies.)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Storytime! - Victorian Superheroes

I have a large and frightening test at school today and have absolutely no time to blog, but I wrote a short story about tricks and cheats, vast sewer systems and 19th century kids with powers, and you can read it here. I hope you like it! :)

Friday, November 22, 2013

Recent Reads - #1

I've recently been reading alll the books, and these are some of the ones I've loved, and so of course I want EVERYONE to love them, and if they look like your cup of earl gray you should get them, because they're great:

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

This isn't a kid's book. I feel like I should say that. There was one part toward the end where I was just like, "Ewww?" *covers eyes and skips two pages because so much blood and guts* But not all books can be kids books, and this is just a sad fact of life that one must be understanding about, and so that being said this one is super well-written, and based on an actual 19th century murder-case, and reads almost like a mystery thriller. Actually it kind of reminded me of a Agatha Christie book, only 1000x darker. And set in Iceland. Great characters, stark, haunting atmosphere. . .

Also, I gave it to my sister right afterward and she loved it, too, which is important because she reads Aristotle and Sun Tzu for fun and thinks most of the books I give her are lame.

The Year of Shadows by Claire Legrand

I've loved everything Legrand writes. Her first book The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls was one of my favorites from last year, and this one was so good, too. It's about a girl who is enlisted by a group of ghosts in her dad's old music hall to help remember the things that are keeping them from moving on. The back-stories of each of the ghosts are the highlight of the book, I thought. They become more and more heart-wrenching, right up until the hopeful, glowing finale, at which point you're just like "Yaaaaaay!"

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K.Rowling

Okay, this one is maybe a little bit obscure and you might be hard-pressed to find it anywhere, but it's so worth going on a million-mile quest over mountains and dales to read. I just finished the first book for the first time, and while it's a lot of "Harry Potter inherits a vault full of gold, and Harry Potter gets the BEST FLYING BROOM EVER", it's written in such fun, charming, engaging way that you totally don't get sick of it and you start wishing you got flying brooms, which I think is the appeal. Basically, it's famous for a reason: because it's fun and happy-making and great. If you haven't read it yet, I think you should. :)

Also, I have four gifts cards for bookstores sitting on my desk, so if you've read anything recently that you thought was amazing I would probably buy it if you told me to.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

THE WHATNOT - Review Round-up!

The Whatnot got its first reviewwwws! From Kirkus! And Publishers Weekly! And School Library Journal! And they liked it! And PW gave it a star. Starred reviews were always weird to me when I was a kid because one star means you don't like a book, duh, and I didn't get why the publisher would want to print that on the jacket, but in fact a starred review means the reviewing magazine wants to highlight the book because they liked it extra much, and so I'm super happy PW decided to give Whatnot one. Thanks so much, PW. :)

Here are the pull-quotes from Harper's site. The full reviews are linked up, too, but they have spoilers, so be warned if you haven't read The Peculiar.

Publishers Weekly

"Exhilarating . . . Bachmann writes with a skill that belies his youth . . . and he has a genius for envisioning fairy magic and architecture . . . Readers will want to start with The Peculiar, and immediately dive into this fine tale.
- Publishers Weekly (starred review)


"Bachmann unleashes his boundless imagination in his descriptions of the Old Country, whose rules and landscape are capricious and ever-changing. Hettie’s terror is well-justified. Detail upon baroque detail piles up as Bartholomew and Pikey race to find Hettie, the war between humans and faeries inevitably catching them up in it—as does friendship.
A bleak and breathless read, one that will have readers hoping for a peaceful outcome as fervently as its characters do."

- Kirkus Reviews

School Library Journal

"Enthralling . . . The breathtaking beauty of [Bachmann's] prose is coupled with a plot that also leaves his audience breathless." 

- School Library Journal
AREN'T THOSE THE NICEST EVER? I feel all flattered now. Thank you, reviewers!

Update: Common Sense Media also reviewed it, and they give points based on educational value, message and content, along with the usual star rating, so this will maybe interesting to parents and teachers. The Whatnot's review is here.

Monday, November 11, 2013

A Little Tiny Tour Re-cap

I got back from tour over a month ago, and I haven't blogged yet because:

Whoa, that came out slightly more vehemently than intended. But you guysssss, why is there school and who invented it? I kind of want to blog about it, because there are lots of interesting tidbits that I find super funny, but I would probably be expelled. So nope.

Tour re-cap. I had the best tour ever. I met tons of nice people, a rude taxi-driver, some very nice taxi-drivers, some old friends and new friends, and my fellow Cabinet Curators! I went to interesting cities I had not been to before, and I spoke to bajillions of school children and signed lots of books and it was great. I took no pictures, though. At all.

So I scoured the internet and found some that my agent took, and then I randomly wrote to Emma Trevayne asking for a picture of her shoes and luckily I don't think Emma cares if she gets unhinged emails from me, so here's what we've got:

Reading and Signing at Boulder Bookstore, in Colorado

Awesome shop. Super awesome people. Polka-dot soooooocks.

Cabinet Curators in Portland:


Claire, Emma, and I were in Portland for panels and signings and such, and we got no group pictures! Which is a travesty really. But Emma's shoes! Aren't they grand? They are.

Also, Wordstock did this cool thing where alllllll the authors sat in a red plastic wing-chair, and Andie Petkus took their pictures. Here's mine:

I like that red-plastic wing-chair. I want it.

Curator Katherine was unable to come to Portland, which was sad, but she was there in SPIRIT in the form of a snazzy houseplant:

It's hard to see, but Katherine is wearing sunglasses and a scarf, as cool houseplants should, and rocking a wild haircut.

I have no pictures of the skyscraper hotel in Austin, or of San Francisco, or Golden Gate Bridge even though I drove right across it, or when we met Laini Taylor and she came to Claire's and my reading (O_O), or of the visit we did at a haunted dessert restaurant in Portland where April Tucholke and Kendare Blake and I talked about STABBING.

But it was fun and I'm super grateful I got to go, and now I need to do homework or write or something, because Dead Man's Palace needs to be handed in in like three weeks.

Bye! :)

Sunday, October 20, 2013


I'm back from tour! I hope you guys are hale and happy and all that good stuff. I'm having the obligatory Entering University Meltdown right now, and I took zero pictures while traveling, and so I'm trying to figure out how to do a re-cap post that isn't boring, but I have something else for you today and it's way more exciting anywayyyyy. It was all over Twitter and on Book Smugglers a few weeks ago, so you might have already seen it, but now I'm posting it here. THE CABINET OF CURIOSITIES cover!

D'you like it? I like it. In fact I love it lots. This is a collection of creepy and weird tales by me and Claire Legrand, Emma Trevayne, and Katherine Catmull, and it's coming out from Greenwillow/HarperCollins Summer 2014, and iz goina have illustrations and pretty-ness inside, and iz goina be good.

Tell me what you think? :) And then go read a creepy short story. We're writing Halloween ones this month.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

2013 Tour Schedule!

Somehow it became October? (Like, what? how dare you, September.) I'm flying out to loverly USA in a few days for The Whatnot's tour. And I'm ridiculously excited. But not ready. But excited. :)

I'll be doing a bunch of school visits, and some public events, and meeting lots of writer-people, and friends, and friends who are writer-people, and it'll be great. Below is a list of the public events. If you came to one you would be awesome. And you would get a bookmark. Catherine Scully illustrated a set for me and I will be handing them out busily, BECAUSE LOOK HOW COOL THEY ARE.


OCTOBER 5th - Portland, Oregon

Wordstock Festival

2:00PM    Creepy Tales from the Cabinet of Curiosities – Children’s Panel.

"Join creepy collaborators and co-curators of The Cabinet of Curiosities for a spine tingling story time certain to put you in the right mood for Halloween–if you dare. Most appropriate for ages 8+. Featuring Stefan Bachmann, Claire Legrand, and Emma Trevayne."

4:00PM    Reading with Claire Legrand

5:00PM    Autographing session

OCTOBER 7th  - Portland, Oregon

5:00PM        Reading and signing at Barnes & Noble Portland

Bridgeport Village, 7227 SW Bridgeport Rd., Tigard, OR 97224

OCTOBER 9th  - Seattle, Washington

12:00PM        Reading and signing at Seattle Mystery Bookshop

117 Cherry St. Seattle, WA 98104
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 11th - Austin, Texas

School visits with Book People, info TK.

OCTOBER 13th - Denver, Colorado

7:00PM        Reading and signing at Tattered Cover Colfax Avenue

2526 East Colfax Avenue, Denver, CO 80206

OCTOBER 15th  - Boulder, Colorado
6:30PM        Reading and signing at Boulder Bookstore.

1107 Pearl Street, Boulder, CO 80302

OCTOBER 17th  - San Francisco, California

School visits with Copperfield’s, info TK.   

And there they are! I'm not sure if there will be public events in San Francisco and Austin, where it says info TK, so I'll probably be updating this post a few times over the next few weeks.

If you live any of those cities you should commmme. :D Bye.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

THE WHATNOT Birthday + Thank you's!

I've done basically nothing but blog about this book all month, so I'm not going to say terribly much. If you want to read it I'm sure you'll find a way to do so, and if you don't want to you'll just be like "SHUDUP, STEFAN, AND BLOG ABOUT FRUIT JELLIES AGAIN," which I shall because fruit jellies are amazing, but I do want to say thanks to a bunch of people.

Neither The Peculiar nor The Whatnot had space for acknowledgements (like, I literally couldn't make them small enough to fit) and the process of making books and getting them into readers' hands is something that happens thanks to so many awesome people. Here goesssss:

"I'd like to thank my dog, Pooky, and my friends from pre-school, and my hamster who is an inspiration and the strongest person I know."
But seriously:

Thank you's.

Virginia Duncan - Thank you for liking that draft of The Peculiar two years ago and for bidding for it and for editing it and reading these books over and over again and helping them become better, and for being super patient about everything, and an awesome editor.

Sara Megibow - Thank you for being a fantastic agent who answers all emails lightning fast and handles all sorts of background stuff so that I can write.

Mom - Thank you for reading through all the many drafts and revisions, sometimes last minute, sometimes quite late, sometimes at points where my brain is so fried from editing that I have no clue if it's even a book anymore or what words are.

Lois - Thank you for all the smart copyedits that I sometimes don't do, much to my everlasting chagrin.

Casey - Thank you for organizing all the publicity things and for not getting annoyed during the time before I realized you get all the same Google alerts I do.
Thierry Lafontaine - Thank you for illustrating two awesome covers.

Taryn Albright, Emma Trevayne, and Ari Susu Mago - Thank you for being awesome beta readers and  all-round awesome people.

Briony, Beckett, and Emma - SILLY RASCALS. :) *squishes"

More thank you's to:

Everyone at Greenwillow and Harper who do so much work that I don't even know about but is super important. Sales reps and marketers and publicity and online people. I totally appreciate it.

All the foreign publishers who decided to bring the book out in places like Norway and South America and Germany and Poland and the UK and other places that I can't remember right now because ze brain: it is broken.

All the booksellers and bookshop-keepers who do so much to get books into he hands of readers, and who hand-sell, and book-talk, and love books in general.

All the librarians and teachers who book-talk and encourage reading.

Readersssss! Kid-readers especially. But really anyone who's ever bought the books, or picked them up at a library, or borrowed them from a friend and sat down to read them. You're the best,

Everyone who took the time to review the books on Amazon or Goodreads or Barnes & Noble or anywhere at all.

Everyone who talked about the books IN REAL LIFE. This - recommending a book to friends or family - is the best thing anyone can do for a book they like, and I'm super grateful to all the people who did it with The Peculiar

Thank you so, so much. :) Here's Book 2. I hope you like it. I hope it's better than the first one, or different, or just plain entertaining, and I'm so excited for it to be out there.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

THE WHATNOT - Writing Playlist

Hi, peoples. THE BUSY. It has been busy-ing. I'm going to be terrible about blogging in the coming months, and I apologize in advance, but since The Whatnot is coming out in like five minutes, I'm going to do a quick spat of Whatnot-centric posts.

First will be a playlissssst. In pretty much every interview I've ever done, I blab about how I can't write to music, and that it distracts me, and that it just doesn't do, and then at some point between writing The Whatnot and now I decided I liked writing with music after all. I wrote almost all of Dead Man's Palace to smashing drums and Daft Punk's Tron and such-like. So, that makes sense.

Anyway. All these tracks played on repeat so much during the drafting and revising and polishing and more-revising and copyedits of The Whatnot.

Anna Karenina by Dario Marianelli

This was my by far favorite film score from last year. A lot of people thought the movie was boring and cold, but I must have been too distracted by the crazy revolving sets and productions design, because I thought it was great.

And the muuuuuusic. It's by Dario Marianelli. With the first book, Marianelli's Atonement soundtrack was playing all the time, and with numbah two it's this one. I love it so much. I listened to it mostly during the writing of Hettie's scenes in the Old Country. The music's a little bit dark and often sad, but also wacky and surreal sometimes, and has some manic waltz bits. So it fit the faery world pretty well, I thought.

The Wolfman by Danny Elfman

I've not seen this movie. I was going to, because it's Gothic terror and Victorians being eaten by wolves, but then a friend watched and said it was one of the bloodiest movies EVER, and since I only write about creepy things but don't like watching them at all, I didn't. I bought the soundtrack, though, and it's great. Very dark, very minor-key, lots of spooky tracks switching off with driving, action-y tracks.

Jane Eyre by Dario Marianelli

Haven't seen this one either. Another Dario Marianelli soundtrack. Because he's kind of a genius. This one is all terribly tragic violins and deep cellos and horns. I used it especially for when sad things happen in the book, and when dreams are crushed and the characters get up and keep going anyway.

The Village by James Newton Howard

If you are one of the five people in the world who liked this movie, too, you must let me know. It's actually one of my favorites. I love the acting and I love the cinematography and I love the score. The score is very autumn-y and didn't really fit with Whatnot's wintry tone, but I played it a lot for the scenes where Pikey and Hettie are dreaming of better lives and better places, because the music has such a warm, glow-y feel to it a lot of the time.

Sherlock Holmes by Hans Zimmer

I'm not a huge Hans Zimmer fan. His soundtracks, especially his super popular ones like Pirates of the Caribbean, tend to be overproduced to the point of haziness and mudiness. But I love this one. It has a lot of wacky instruments and shadings, and I had it playing a lot during street-urchin Pikey's chapters, when he's running around the steampunk London.

And that will have to do for nowwww. There were other tracks and CDs that played a lot but these were the main ones. Also, I'm fairly obsessed with music so if you have any new discoveries tell them to meeeee, because I want to know them. Anything. Not necessarily film scores. I love finding new stuff. Bye! :D

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Book Appearances - Switzerland

Ahh, school's gearing up, and I'm dying of busyness, and I got Whatnot hardcovers, and they're THE SHINIEST, but super quick post: here are my Swiss English-language appearances for the next two months, and it would be completely awesome to meet blog readers there, so commmme if you can! :)

Saturday, September 7th - Morges - 15:00 - I'll be doing an event called "Other Worlds, Fantasy and SF" with Peter F. Hamilton (I KNOW, oh my goodness) as part of Le Livre sur les Quais festival.

There are also going to be four autographing sessions throughout Saturday and Sunday, with times here.

Sunday, September 15th - Zug - 15:30 - I'll be talking and signing as part of the Let's Talk festival.

Friday, October 25th - Zürich - 20:15 - I'll be reading from The Whatnot and signing books at the fantaaaastic English Bookshop (Orell Füssli) on the Bahnhofstrasse.

And from October 4th - October 18th I'm on tour in the US. The cities are (as far as I know) Portland, Seattle, Denver, Boulder, Austin, and San Francisco. I'll post that schedule soon! *runs away*

Friday, August 30, 2013

THE WHATNOT Giveaways! (US / Europe + Canada)

I got another box of ARCsssss. And since The Whatnot is out in less than thirty days and I will have shiny hardcovers and the glitchy advance copies will suddenly be gross and loathesome, I will give them to YOU. :)

That intro didn't make this sound like an appealing giveaway at all, BUT IT IS I promise.

Here's the fancy blurb Harper made. If you're just popping in, The Whatnot is steampunk + creepy faeries + creepy Victorians + changeling children going on adventures + magic, and also the companion book to my first book The Peculiar.

ALSO - because the Raffelcopter giveaway is for US only, if you live in Europe or Canada or whatever other countries are listed, you can enter the Goodreads giveaway Harper is doing. They will be giving away 20 finished copies here.

And if you do live in the US just enter below. You get one free entry because you're cool, and then if you follow my silliness on twitter or tweet the giveaway or follow this blog you get a bunch of other entries. TWO winners will each win:

1 personalized + signed advance reader copy of The Whatnot, the companion to The Peculiar.

And chocolate, if I have some.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, August 24, 2013


Ok, Stefan goes to Versailles. It was so great. And inspiring. And all that good stuff. Basically everyone in my family had been before, and I had not, and I felt it would be helpful when writing about underground Versailles to know something about overground Versailles, so we took a day of the Paris trip and WENT.

(Photo credit is all my mom's, thank you Mommmm!)

The train to Versailles.

I clearly make the most dashing Frenchman. I mean look at those snazzy stockings.

This girl was like "Dude, how long IS the line," and Dude was like, "Girl, it goes back, and forth, and back, and forth. TEN TIMES. Hehehe."
And it did:

And Forth.

Ten times.

There were a lot of people. But we got in eventually, and I was reading a marvelous book while shuffling along, so it didn't seem bad at all.

Roofs should have gold on them, too, so that people don't mistake you for being poor or tasteful.
Versailles from the top. It has something like 2,000 rooms and used to house 14,000 people, so it was basically an entire city under one roof. Which is such an interesting concept, I find.

This was a stripped room in the entrance wing. So, this is how the rooms would look minus the paint and gilt and millions of dollars worth of furniture.
And this is how they actually look.

THIS. It has a glare, but it's a model cross-section of the opera auditorium in the palace, and I thought it was fascinating.

So many peopllllle. This is the hall of mirrors. My hall of mirrors in the book had to look compeltely different because drastic things need to happen in it, but it was cool to see.
Then we got tons of pictures of doors, because doors are important. xD

Also locks.
And window handles.
And ceilings.

And chandeliers.

And beds.

And more locks.

And then we went out into the sunshine.

The gardensssss. They're vast.
And have carefully squared-off trees.

And then we were done.
And THEN. Versailles is the name of a town where the palace was built. It's a very pretty one that seemed quintessentially French, at least to me.

We found a roadside cafe Mom had been to before and had crepes.

And more crepes for dessert. Mine looks sad and plain in comparison with the mountains of cream on the other one, but it was salted toffee and vanilla ice cream, and it was SO GOOD.
And that was all! We went back to Paris. A few days later we went home. And it was grand.