June 30, 2022

The Name She Gave Me Blog Tour: Guest Post + Giveaway

The Name She Gave Me

Welcome to The Name She Gave Me Blog Tour!

Words and Music
by Betty Culley

When I was writing my first young adult verse novel, Three Things I Know Are True, about an accidental shooting in a mill town in Maine along the Kennebec River, there were two songs I listened to that expressed some of the emotions in the book. One was “Closer to Fine’ by the Indigo Girls, especially these lines:

“I'm trying to tell you something about my life
Maybe give me insight between black and white
The best thing you've ever done for me
Is to help me take my life less seriously, it's only life after all
Well darkness has a hunger that's insatiable
And lightness has a call that's hard to hear
I wrap my fear around me like a blanket
I sailed my ship of safety till I sank it, I'm crawling on your shore.”

The other song was “The River of Dreams” by Billy Joel. These are the words that really moved and inspired me:

“In the middle of the night
I go walking in my sleep
Through the valley of fear
To a river so deep.”

With my second young adult verse novel, The Name She Gave Me, there was one song that captured so many of the feelings I had about this story. It’s the traditional gospel folk song  “You Got To Walk That Lonesome Valley”.  The version I listened to is played and sung by the American country blues singer and guitarist, John Smith Hurt, better known as Mississippi John Hurt. It’s the kind of song that makes you want to weep and fills your soul, both at the same time. 

I also quote these lines from “You Got To Walk That Lonesome Valley” in the beginning of The Name She Gave Me.

"You got to walk that lonesome valley
Well, you got to walk it for yourself
Ain't nobody else can walk it for you
You got to walk that valley for yourself."

Are there books or music that express how you feel about yourself or the world?

The Name She Gave Me cover

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"Wistful verse highlights small but telling moments throughout Rynn’s search...The author’s lived history with foster care and adoption gives the narrative nuance and authority. Emotionally complex and empathetic characters...and a faithfully depicted rural landscape form an exemplary backdrop for this contemplative novel."



  1. I've often found books that I can see myself in and certain music lifts my soul.

  2. Yes, but I definitely had that feeling more when I was a kid/teen.