Posted by: Kathy Temean | June 15, 2021

Book Giveaway: NEMESIS AND THE SWAN by Lindsay K. Bandy

Many of you may know Lindsay K Bandy from her position as SCBWI co-regional advisor of the Eastern Pennsylvania. What you may not know is that her debut YA Novel NEMESIS AND THE SWAN published by Blackstone Publishing came out last year and was dominated for the SCBWI Crystal Kite Award a few months ago. That is how I discovered this awsome book. As soon as I finished reading, I tracked Lindsay down to see if she would like to be featured on Writing and Illustrating. So here she is today and she has agreed to send the lucky USA winner a copy of her book. 

All you have to do is leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know, so I can put the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter or reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. So, thanks for helping Lindsay.

If you have receive my blog in your email box everyday, please let me know in the comments and you’ll earn an extra ticket. Thanks!


From her prison cell in revolutionary Paris, nineteen-year-old aristocrat Hélène d’Aubign recalls the events that led her to choose between following in her parents’ unforgivable footsteps or abandoning the man she loves.

Despite her world of privilege, Hélène is inspired early on by the radical ideas of her progressive governess. Though her family tries to intervene, the seeds of revolution have already been planted in Hélène’s heart, as are the seeds of love from an unlikely friendship with a young jeweler’s apprentice. Hélène’s determination to find true love is as revolutionary as her attempt to unravel the truth behind a concealed murder that tore her family apart.

As violence erupts in Paris, Hélène is forced into hiding with her estranged family, where the tangled secrets of their past become entwined with her own. When she finally returns to the blood-stained streets of Paris, she finds everything—and everyone—very much changed. In a city where alliances shift overnight, no one knows whom to trust.

Faced with looming war, the mystery of her family’s past, and the man she loves near death, Hélène will soon find out if doing one wrong thing will make everything right, or if it will simply push her closer to the guillotine.


Hi, booklovers!
Kathy so kindly invited me to introduce you to my debut YA historical novel, Nemesis and the Swan today, and I can’t wait! I’m a youth librarian, so I spend my days reading picture books in silly voices and playing parachute games, scouring catalogs and reviews for new titles I think our patrons would enjoy, and running a literary magazine for tweens and teens who love to write. When I’m not working at the library, I’m hanging out with my two smart, funny daughters and husband, thrift-shop treasure hunting, eating donuts, listening to music, and of course writing! Nemesis and the Swan is the product of so much love, research, and growth, and I hope it will find its way from my heart to yours.

Hélène d’Aubign’s story begins in pre-revolutionary Paris as a lonely little girl growing up in a chilly aristocratic circle. She loves art and music and her mind is intensely curious, but she asks too many questions—questions that annoy everyone but her governess and Théo, the young jeweler’s apprentice she falls in love with. Once her governess is fired, Hélène is on her own to figure out who she is and where she belongs in a world made up of neat categoriesshe doesn’t fit into—categories that soon mean the difference between life and death as Revolution consumes Paris. As the French people go to shocking lengths to claim their freedom from the monarchy, Hélène will have to decide just how far she’ll go to claim the life she dreams of—and if maybe doing one wrong thing can make everything else right.

Though Nemesis and the Swan begins in 1780s Paris, my journey with this book began two hundred years later, in 1980s Pennsylvania. Like Hélène, I grew up artistic and shy, feeling different from kids my age, asking too many questions, and sure I’d never belong anywhere. My family moved frequently, and my journal became the place to pour out my thoughts and feelings. In high school and college, I took up poetry, songwriting, and fiction, but I didn’t feel a real sense of belonging until I met my husband, Clay. Somehow, he convinced me it was okay to be my goofy, artsy, inquisitive self, and encouraged me to pursue my writing seriously.

After two beautiful baby girls and a few years of sleep deprivation, I joined SCBWI and finally found my people. If you have experienced this incredible community, it won’t surprise you to learn that Hélène finds herself working in a Parisian bookshop, writing and illustrating for children, finding a deep sense of belonging, love, and joy!

Eugène Delacroix, Liberty Leading the People, 1830, Louvre, Paris, France.

In Nemesis and the Swan, Hélène must find her place in the world, but she also uncovers some pretty shocking family secrets along the way. Like Hélène, I spent most of my life trying to unravel the mystery of my own estranged family. Even after finally meeting my great-grandmother shortly before her death, I still didn’t know what happened to split my extended family apart. Nobody would tell me, and it was maddening! (The scene where Hélène meets her grandmother in Grasse mirrors this meeting….but you’ll have to read to find out what she learns!) As I learned more about my family’s past—which is not nearly as juicy as Hélène’s, I swear!—I started thinking a lot about identity in the context of the truths and lies our families tell us. Where do nature, nurture, and choice intersect? And what happens when you throw in political turmoil, riots in the streets, forbidden love, and a guillotine?

I started to write about it, and while researching period fashion, I came across the gorgeously creepy Lover’s Eye jewelry that found its way into the heart of Hélène’s family drama. I discovered that these painted eyes were designed for real-life secret lovers and had mysterious origins in 18th century Paris before becoming a 19th century British trend and….

This is the Lover’s Eye jewelry I came across in my research, which became the center of the mystery Hélène must unravel in Nemesis and the Swan.

This is Lover’s Eye jewelry sculpted by my cover designer, Zena Kanes, from Blackstone Publishing.

…..Viola! Nemesis and the Swan.
Okay, so viola is an oversimplification.
It took a LOT (years!) of research.
A LOT (years!) of edits.
Three agents.
Multiple editor rejections.
A few tantalizing almosts that led to more edits, which made the story (and me!) stronger.

There were days along the way when I was too discouraged or afraid to write, edit, or submit. Days when I felt like a total imposter—not one of those mythical chosen ones who effortlessly make magic come out of their fingertips, directly onto the page. However, as I attended conferences, developed friendships with my critique groups, and learned from writers whose work I admired, I discovered that even the most magical books are made with so many jagged pieces of reality, so many questions and joys and disappointments and journeys, and the continual encouragement from people who love and believe in us.

Choosing to take all the scrap metal life gives you and stubbornly forge it into something meaningful, beautiful, and shareable—that’s what makes you a chosen one.

As Anne Lamott says in Bird by Bird, “You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories.”
This is the stuff of revolutions on large scales and small ones, because the decision to tell your stories has the power to draw others into a shared experience, bond you together, and set you free!

Thank you so much, Kathy, for reading Nemesis and the Swan and inviting me to share it with your readers!


Bandy writes historical and contemporary young adult fiction as well as poetry. She lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, with her husband, two daughters, and two cats, and currently serves as the co-regional advisor of the Eastern Pennsylvania region of Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

Web site:
Purchase Links:

Lindsay, thank you for sharing your book and journey with us. As you know, I LOVE this book. It is quite amazing for a debut book. A beautifully written and intriguing story that kept me turning every page and wanting to read more. When I closed Nemesis and the Swan the first word that came to mine was wow! It is on my list of memorial books. Can’t wait to read your next book. Good luck! 

Hopefully, the SCBWI will consider showing off all the book dominated books each year for the Crystal Kite Award, so all of us can find more wonderful books.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. this sounds wonderful and I love the cover


  2. Wow what an engaging book! I love historical novels. Thanks for sharing. [Newsletter subscriber.]


  3. This book looks awesome – can’t wait to read. Thanks!


  4. Oooh, sounds wonderful! I do love books set in France. And those eye pieces! I want to learn more about those. Congratulations and best wishes! Thanks for sharing with us!

    I follow by email and I tweeted this post. 🙂


  5. shared on Pinterest, FB, and Twitter. Looks great!


  6. Congratulations on your wonderful debut, Lindsay! I am so thrilled for you on achieving your goal! And the gorgeously enticing cover is 🥰
    I’ll share on Twitter and FB.


  7. That Lover’s Eye jewelry is freaky! (like the portraits with eyes that follow you around the room . . .) Congratulations again, Lindsay!


  8. I ❤ historical fiction…and the trailer is awesome. Congratulations! (I also follow this blog)


  9. Congratulations on your debut book. Thanks for the chance to win


  10. Can’t wait to read this! Congrats, Brandy!


  11. Lindsay, wow, what a journey and this premise sounds fantastic! For Kathy to ASK you rather than be asked to feature your book is really saying something 😀 I am SO in this giveaway! Good luck with it and I agree…those eyes are creepy, but such an amazing key to a story! ❤


  12. Wow! What an amazing journey Lindsay went through writing this book! I’m an email subscriber to Writing and Illustrating, and I’m putting a link to this article in my Creative Juice feature on tomorrow.


  13. It’s a wonderful book! If I win, this copy will go to my niece. (Newsletter subscriber and tweeted @erikammon13)


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