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One of my favorite parts about Stefan Bachmann‘s writing is the beauty and imagination of his prose. Not only are his worlds so imaginative, but each character, each description, and each setting is infused with wonder. I first came across his work in THE PECULIAR, which I highly recommend. Bachmann has since published a sequel, THE WHATNOT, and a new title, A DROP OF NIGHT.   THE PECULIAR has received a number of fantastic accolades: it has been named a New York Time’s Editor’s Choice, A Top Ten Indie Next Pick, a Publisher’s Weekly Best Book of 2012, and more. I’m so happy to have had the chance to ask Stefan a few questions about his publishing journey, and be sure to check out below the ways that you can follow him.   1. What is some of the best advice you’ve received about writing/publishing?  “If something is too clever, you need to cut it.” My editor wrote that in my very first edit letter and at the time I was like “Wut” but it’s so true. Isolated bits of cleverness, too-pretty writing you spent hours labouring over, puns, etc., can rip a reader out of the flow, slow things down, be jarring and annoying. I’m still learning this lesson, but I think writing books is about sustaining and modulating mood, not stringing together clever bits of dialogue and visuals.   2. What is some of the worst advice you’ve received about writing/publishing?  I don’t think I ever gotten actively terrible advice. “Know your audience” has always been a bit confusing to me, though. I get emails from grown-ups in the UK, kids in Bangladesh, a school class in Brazil. I’m so grateful they found something in my books that they liked, but I don’t *know* them. To me, it’s more about knowing yourself, what you want to achieve with your story, and after that I just hope it finds the people who want and need it. I think your main audience should be you. That sounds weirdly selfish, but for me it’s always felt scary and counterproductive to try to know what other people want from me.   3. What is your Harry Potter house, your most likely Game of Thrones family, and your favorite Lord of the Rings character? HP: Hufflepuff. GOT: Ack, I honestly don’t know GOT well enough to answer that. It’s been ages since I read the books. LOTR: I lurv LOTR. My favourite character has always been Gimli.   4. What is something that surprised you about your career path? That it’s very non-linear. Getting a book deal is only one tiny step....

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GOTHIC BOOKS – COCKTAIL RECIPE Serves: 1 reader Prep time: As long as it takes you to browse the bookstore. A hint of ghosts. They don’t have to be real ghosts. But if something spooky or supernatural is happening, and we don’t know what yet…perfect. A murder. A body means something happened that must be explained, which means learning about secret desires, jealousies, betrayals, and all sorts of deviousness of the human heart. Cobblestones. Basically, anything and everything that evokes Victorian era or semi-vague-unhistorical Victorian era. Spaceship with cobblestones? Sure! Kind of. A haunting landscape. Cobblestones are important, but sometimes you need to get out into the countryside…a countryside that involves moors, cliffs, waves dashing against rocks, and maybe a spooky forest or two. Someone is not who they seem. A character might have a hidden identity, or possibly be masquerading as two people in the same book. Or, that person could seem sweet and lovely and be entirely devious instead. Or, the narrator is unreliable. Take your...

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