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Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Blog Tour- STRONG LIKE YOU by @trvsimpson With A Guest Post & #Giveaway! @fluxbooks

I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the STRONG LIKE YOU by T.L. Simpson Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check out my post and make sure to enter the giveaway!


About The Book:


Author: T.L. Simpson

Pub. Date: March 12, 2024

Publisher: North Star Editions

Formats: Paperback, eBook

Pages: 224

Find it: Goodreadshttps://books2read.com/STRONG-LIKE-YOU 

I haven’t cried one time since you disappeared. Not even at football practice when Paton Roper told the whole team you were probably dead. He said, “You know how sometimes a dog gets sick or bites somebody and you have to put it down?”

Somebody said, “Yep.”

“That’s probably what happened to Walker’s daddy.”

Walker Lauderdale hasn’t cried once since his daddy went missing. And even though everyone says he’s dead, Walker won’t give up hope. He knows his father is out there, somewhere, cutting a wild trail through the Ozarks like always. But when a relative threatens to kick Walker and his momma out of the family home, Walker realizes he has no choice but to look for his daddy—a search that leads him straight to a drug-addled and dangerous man named Lukas Fisher. While attempting to balance life as a normal fifteen-year-old boy and star player on the football team, Walker begins a desperate search across the hills of the Ozarks for the man who, for better or worse, taught him everything he knows about strength.


“Strong Like You is an engaging novel in which a high school football star is forced to confront his ideas of manhood and forge better ones.” —Foreword Reviews

“The book explores masculinity, with Walker having a heartening insight near the end, when he realizes that with the right help, people can learn better than they were taught.” —Kirkus Reviews

“A serious look at the legacy and impact of violence, especially around the toxic culture of football, along with a compassionate view of the struggle and frequent hopelessness of rural poverty, the novel makes for a compelling read with a mixed but ultimately hopeful conclusion. Recommended for libraries serving middle and high ­schoolers.” —School Library Journal


T.L Talks Music for STRONG LIKE YOU:

Music is central to my writing process, so a playlist for my debut contemporary YA novel STRONG LIKE YOU was a no-brainer, even before I had any clue the story would be published.

Strong Like You follows 15-year-old Walker Lauderdale on a desperate search across the Ozarks for his father, the man who—for better or worse—taught him everything he knows about strength.

Before writing the book, I began aggregating music to immerse myself in. I knew I wanted a country soundtrack, but I didn't want anything overly commercial or radio-friendly.


Ozark Gothic, Pawns or Kings

I stumbled across this song late one night on a journey down the YouTube rabbit hole. Ozark Gothic's gloomy and downtrodden vibe is exactly what I imagined for my characters in Strong Like You.

The opening lines resonate, "They say nothing good would ever come out of those hills, just the meth and the rot, guns and the pills."

It's no secret there's a drug problem festering in the hills of the Ozarks, and that's the backdrop behind Walker's journey.



Morse Code, Elle Cordova

I have probably listened to this song more than any other song on my playlist. It's not exactly country, but it's folksy. It's a realization that the person you love no longer loves you. It hurts and is beautiful at the same time.



Lady May, Tyler Childers

Tyler had to turn up somewhere on this list. There's a particular line in this song that always makes me think of Walker. "Now I ain't the toughest hickory that your axe has ever fell, but I'm a hickory just as well...I'm a hickory all the same."

Walker's journey deals with his coming to terms with what it means to be strong. At the beginning of the story, he'd never admit such a line as the one above. But I think by the end he might. 



Pay No Rent, Turnpike Troubadours

Turnpike Troubadours' song Pay No Rent reminds me of the relationship between Walker and his father. Walker's father is perhaps not worthy of admiration, but Walker admires him anyway. A kid loves his father because he doesn't know any better. If Walker was the singing type, he might croon, "In my heart, you pay no rent" to his daddy.



Sonho Dourado, Daniel Lanois

I first heard this song in the same place I think most people know it from—Friday Night Lights. The instrumental guitar piece is played in the final moments of the film when it is clear Permian won't win the state championship, as the kids pull themselves off the ground after the defeat.

I was a sports reporter for almost a decade. I've been on the field during a lot of these moments. Kids cry. And you might think it's only sports. But a great deal of effort, expectation and love goes into reaching that moment.

It hurts.

And that's okay.

This song hits me in the gut every time I listen to it.



Stranger to Myself, Gravedancer

Gravedancer is an Arkansas artist with some really heartfelt Ozarkian music. Stranger to Myself is about the struggle just to exist after experiencing trauma. In the song's case, it's the singer's struggle with PTSD. "Can someone f–k me up with your fists or with your drugs?" is the kind of mindset the world can bake into a kid like Walker.



Dust in a Baggie, Billy Strings

Pretty self-explanatory.

"This life of sin has got me in/ well, it's got me back in prison once again/ I used my only phone call to contact my Daddy/ I got 20 long years for some dust in a baggy."

It's Walker's father's anthem. Plus Billy Strings can flat out play the guitar.



Old Time Feeling (Like Before), Turnpike Troubadours

This song has a certain hopefulness I hope comes across in Strong Like You. The world Walker inhabits is tough as nails, and he endures some real hardship, but I never wanted the story to to be bleak. It's a rough world out there, but there's beauty, love and joy to be found. Old Time Feeling is about asking forgiveness. It’s about making the same mistakes over and over again. But it is also about nostalgia.

If you ask me, football is tangled up in nostalgia for much of America. Our fathers, fathers played it. We played it.

It’s also wrapped up in the South and the Ozarks.

Neither can be nor should be without criticism.

But what can I say?

It is not perfect here.

Far from it.

But the nostalgia goggles are powerful.

Things can get better. Surely they can.



For the complete playlist, check out the Spotify playlist:




About T.L. Simpson:

T. L. Simpson is an award-winning journalist and editor of the Courier, a newspaper in his hometown of Russellville, Arkansas. Simpson spent nearly ten years covering high school and collegiate sports before taking over as editor. During that time, he was also the paper’s primary crime reporter. In a lot of ways, Strong Like You is the result of his experiences with covering both. 


Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | TikTok | Goodreads | Amazon


Giveaway Details:

1 winner will receive a finished copy of STRONG LIKE YOU, US Only. 

Ends March 26th, midnight EST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule:

Week One:


YA Books Central

Interview/IG Post


Fire and Ice Reads

Guest Post/IG Post


Two Chicks on Books

Guest Post/IG Post


Kountry Girl Bookaholic

Guest Post/IG Post


#BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog

Blog Post/IG Post



Excerpt/IG Post


Rajiv's Reviews

Review/IG Post



IG Review


Callisto’s calling

IG Review


Review Thick And Thin

Review/IG Post

Week Two:


Dana Loves Books

Review/IG Post


The Momma Spot



Country Mamas With Kids

Review/IG Post


Kim's Book Reviews and Writing Aha's

Review/IG Post


A Dream Within A Dream

Excerpt/IG Post



IG Review


A Blue Box Full of Books

IG Review/LFL Drop Pic/TikTok Post


One More Exclamation

Review/IG Post


Two Points of Interest



The Book Critic


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