Hey everyone! I’m really excited to be on the blog tour for A Drop of Night by Stefan Bachmann (March 15, 2016 – Greenwillow Books) and to have Stefan here for an interview! First, here’s more about the book:
Seventeen-year-old Anouk has finally caught the break she’s been looking for—she’s been selected out of hundreds of other candidates to fly to France and help with the excavation of a vast, underground palace buried a hundred feet below the suburbs of Paris. Built in the 1780’s to hide an aristocratic family and a mad duke during the French Revolution, the palace has lain hidden and forgotten ever since. Anouk, along with several other gifted teenagers, will be the first to set foot in it in over two centuries.
Or so she thought.
But nothing is as it seems, and the teens soon find themselves embroiled in a game far more sinister, and dangerous, than they could possibly have imagined. An evil spanning centuries is waiting for them in the depths. . .
A genre-bending thriller from Stefan Bachmann for fans of The Maze Runner and Joss Whedon’s The Cabin in the Woods.
You cannot escape the palace.
You cannot guess its secrets.
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And now here’s the interview! Enjoy!
Question: Congratulations on the release of A Drop of Night! What have you been doing the last few weeks to prepare for your book birthday?
Answer: Thank you! ☺ I’ve haven’t really had time to freak out about the book release. I’ve mostly been tweeting and/or stuck in class. On ADoN’s book birthday I’m going to be sitting in orchestra rehearsal until 10PM. I’m super excited, just kind of in a low-key way at the moment.
Question: A Drop of Night was AMAZING! What inspired the story?
Answer: Aw, thanks a ton! I’m so happy you liked it. It was inspired by a dream about a group of teenagers running down a baroque, gilded corridor and suddenly being confronted by . . . something dreadful. That exact scene isn’t in the book anymore, at least not the way it was originally written, but it was the jumping-off point. Another thing that I think inspired it was that Zürich, where I live, and Paris/France, where the book is set, has an odd mixture of the sleek and expensive, and the old-fashioned and history-steeped, which I find fascinating and which is kind of the aesthetic of this book.
Question: That cover is epic! Did you have any say in the concept? Do you feel it represents the story well?
Answer: I love the cover, glad you like it, too! I sent my editor some pictures of things I liked, and color schemes I thought would look cool, and the designer incorporated them. Writers usually don’t have a ton of say in book covers, which is good, because writers usually aren’t very savvy graphic designers. But I did get to give my two cents, and they used it, and that was nice.
Also, yes, I think it represents the story really well. My stories are usually a bit dark, both middle grade and YA, but my earlier ones got fairly jolly covers (which I love, too) and I got some emails from parents who were expecting correspondingly jolly books. A Drop of Night got an actually dark cover, so: goals achieved.
Question: You’ve stated on Twitter that the ARC is very different from the final book. Can you share what, exactly, changed (without spoilers)? Were any scenes cut that you really wanted to keep? Should the ARC readers re-read the book when it releases?
Answer: I cut a chapter, and pared down several scenes, and added clarification throughout for where early readers had questions. So, in essence, the book is thirty pages shorter now and a bit clearer. For me that feels huge, but I have no clue how it will impact different readers. I think if you liked the ARC, the finished book is smoother and more enjoyable. If you hated the mean main character and got hung up on the science behind the book, the changes won’t do anything to change that. Anouk is still blunt and prickly and the science is still dubious at best. ☺
Also, I love deleting extraneous things. I think it almost always makes a book better, the fewer words it has, so I don’t regret any of the cuts made. At least not right now.
Question: If you were dropped into the underground palace, would you fare as well as your characters? Would you make it out alive?
Answer: Do my characters fare well, though? xD I’d probably do as well as some of them, and worse than others. But let’s be real, I’d probably just be Hayden on page 104, because sleeping is everything to me right now.
Question: What books would you recommend to a reader who loved A Drop of Night, and wants to read something similar?
Answer: Hmm . . . ADoN is a bit of a weird amalgamation of genres, so content-wise I’m not sure what’s similar to it. Maybe More Than This by Patrick Ness?
Question: Craziest thing you’ve had to Google for a work in progress?
Answer: I don’t know if this is the craziest, but for A Drop of Night, I Googled: “How does it feel to lose a finger” The answer is “not great.”
Question: According to your bio, you “live in a 150-year-old house outside of Zürich, that may at some point collapse” on you. How do these things—living in an old house and living abroad—influence your writing, if at all?
Answer: So, just to explain the “house collapsing” bit: when we were kids, we moved from the US—land of the new houses—to Switzerland—land of the sometimes 15th century houses—and since we were really young, my siblings and I were always *slightly* worried the third-story bathtub would break through the floor if we filled it, or we would fall through ourselves if we stomped too hard. The house is actually great and very hardy, but we still joke about this when we’re there.
Also, yes! I think living abroad influenced me a lot, as a writer and as a person. I don’t think you realize it as a kid, but growing up between two cultures and continents is a big deal and it can be really challenging. For me the positives far out-weigh the negatives, though. One of the best things about it is that you get a perspective on both countries that I think you wouldn’t have, had you been in the thick of just one country your whole life. I think it’s that feeling of looking in on something you’re not 100% a part of, be it language or customs or unwritten rules, and questioning them or wondering about them or just noticing them, and I think that’s a really valuable thing for a writer to experience.
Question: Are you working on anything new?
Answer: I am! I just sent my next manuscript to my editor. It’s middle grade again—A Drop of Night was my first foray into YA—and I loved writing it. It’s inspired by Jules Verne and is about monsters who emigrated from the Moon in airships, and a band of kids with strange powers who live in the sewers of an Italian Renaissance–like city.
And now for the giveaway! We have 3 Finished Copies of A DROP OF NIGHT (US Only) up for grabs! To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter below!
His debut, gothic-faery-fantasy THE PECULIAR, was a New York Times Editor’s Choice and a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2012, and was translated into eight languages. Its companion, THE WHATNOT, was released on September 24th, 2013.
THE CABINET OF CURIOSITIES: 36 TALES BRIEF AND SINISTER, a collection of scary stories he wrote together with authors Emma Trevayne, Claire Legrand and Katherine Catmull, was released May 27th, 2014, from Greenwillow/HarperCollins.
His next book, YA thriller A DROP OF NIGHT, about a group of American teens fighting to survive after they become trapped in an underground Versailles, will be out March 15th, 2016, also from Greenwillow/HarperCollins.
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