Sarah J. Carlson

Contemporary Young Adult Author

Tag Archives: Wisconsin

So I just downloaded “Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)”….


save-a-horse-ride-a-cowboy…and “Redneck Woman” and “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy.”

Why you may ask? Has Singapore turned me into an aficionado of redneck Country music? No friends, fear not. Not that there’s anything WRONG with that…

Here’s why…. As you may know if you follow my blog, I’m living in Singapore and it’s making me homesick for Wisconsin. Now that I’m throwing Hooligans out there to the proverbial literary agent wolves (metaphorically :P), I’m really delving into my WIP. It’s set in my hometown. Okay, to be honest, I have multiple hometowns. I moved around a lot in Wisconsin growing up. Super-rural to suburb of Milwaukee to semi-rural Sparta to Madison to La Crosse to Sparta to Milwaukee proper then to Madison again. Oh, and then to Singapore. My WIP is going to be set in my HIGH SCHOOL hometown of Sparta, Wisconsin.

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I lived there for my formative high school years but always felt like an outsider (probably self-imposed because I saw myself as the girl from the suburbs of Milwaukee). I hated living there in high school, but now I miss it a bit, not going to lie.

I’m setting in there because I think it’s an interesting place to explore a few social issues, since I like to write YA laced with social commentary. Also, I haven’t really found a lot of stuff set in rural Midwest (besides Fargo lol) and I think it’s a great place to explore. The Midwest has it’s own culture and way of being that I love and miss. This girl is homesick. In addition to digging up rural/semi-rural Wisconsin culture, I’ll be delving into my memories of working at Wal-Mart, first loves, and harnessing demons from my high school past duh duh duhhhhhhhh.

screamMan I wish I would’ve brought my yearbooks with me to Singapore. If only I would’ve known…. And then there’s the fact that I’ve just finished up an epic quest of writing a novel set in Belfast, so I’m fully embracing the concept of writing what I KNOW this time around.

Friends, expect some posts about Wisconsin coming up as I embark on my journey of self-re-discovery.

OH! So why those three songs? Because people used to play them at the bars in Sparta every Friday and Saturday night and everyone sang along. Not me though because I thought I was too cool, of course. Actually, I think one of my next posts might be my list: You know you’re out in rural Wisconsin when…..

Have you ever gone spelunking into your past to fuel your novel? If anyone from Wisconsin reads this GIVE ME INSPIRATION I MISS YOU!!!!

An Ode to Wisconsin: Driving on back country roads



(Taken on Highway 33 between Cashton and Hillsborough. Passed a few Amish buggies on the way, too)

I was digging through old pictures, looking at pictures of my hometown for the purposes of my new novel project Rafa and Rose and I found this picture. It made me miss driving, having the capacity to get in a car and go pretty much anywhere for as long and far as I want. My husband and me have no car here in Singapore. Average cost to purchase, say, a Nissan Versa–$100,000 in Singapore! That doesn’t include gas and insurance. While Singapore does have amazing public transportation, I miss being able to drive, listening to music and meditating on my writing or life in general. I mean look at that picture. What an awesome place to drive through, windows down on a beautiful summer day.

An ode to Wisconsin from a pathetically homesick person in Singapore who’s being a bit of a whiner



(On Wisconsin! and props to Lakefront Brewery in Milwaukee)

Best title ever, right?

So my husband’s gone back to Wisconsin for a week, leaving me alone in Singapore feeling all homesick. Really, I’m just being pathetic and whiny so don’t mind me 😛 But anyway, it got me looking through my old Facebook photos and they have a new meaning now that I’m far from home.

So below you’ll find a few completely random pictures of things I’ve decided I miss today, besides the obvious friends and family.


Good old Mad-town, Madison, Wisconsin, taken from Lake Monona. The Overture Center, the state Capitol poking up out over it.


Madison on Halloween with the State Capitol. There used to be the occasional drunken riot as 100,000+ people descended onto State Street. It’s a bit calmer now. One of the fun parts… Trying to stay warm while walking around outside for hours when it’s maybe 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Maybe. But we’re from Wisconsin. We don’t care about no cold. We’ve got liquid blankets for that.


Go, Pack, Go! I’ve only been to one game and it was amazing! Went in October so it was actually warm. November-January, not so much. Subzero Fahrenheit temperatures? We don’t give a care, we’ll fill the stadium anyway! It’s called the “Frozen Tundra” for a reason, people! That’s what ski masks and 18 layers of clothes and four pairs of socks are for. Oh, and the previously-mentioned liquid blanket. Did you get a shit ton of snow the night before a game? Just ask the fine people of Green Bay (population 100,000-ish) to shovel out the seats and they’ll do it for free. Need to add to the stadium? Just ask the great people of Wisconsin to buy “shares” that have absolutely no value other than a framed document and they’ll pay for it. Want a season ticket? Get on the wait list; there’s only 81,000 people on it, plus nobody gives up their season tickets. You’re name will come up in about 30 years if you’re lucky. So just put your imaginary grandchild’s name on it. The Packers are the only non-profit, community-owned major league professional sports team in the United States. That’s right, the fans own them 🙂

*Sigh* nobody cares about American football over here. It is a ridiculously confusing sport though.

So in Wisconsin, we love our beer and cheese. We make a lot of both. Milwaukee alone historically has: Miller, Pabst, Schlitz, Old Milwaukee, Milwaukee’s Best, and Blatz. Did I miss one?  And now we have tons of amazing microbreweries popping up. We have more bars than grocery stores, fancy bars, corner bars, bars converted from houses and barns. And our bars know how to do taps. Psh one or two beers on tap? That’s baby stuff.


Here’s a sample of 30 taps at the Old Fashioned in Madison. I think they have even more on the other side of the bar. Mostly microbrews from around Wisconsin. Last time I was home, we stopped at a bar with over 50 beers on tap!

Like I said, we make cheese. A lot of cheese. We may not make fancy people cheese, but we have cheese curds. Yeah, take that world. They are delicious beer battered and deep fried or fresh and squeaky. In my U.S. and world travels, I’ve encountered deep-fried pizza and Mars Bars and burgers and God knows what else, but we’re the only ones I’ve found that deep fry our cheese.


We’re also the only place in the U.S. that makes Limburger cheese. Monroe, Wisconsin. Smells like stinky feet and that’s exactly what it tastes like.

Oh, and also the people of Wisconsin are pretty amazing, too 🙂 Now I know we have our own Wisconsin culture.

Have you ever lived abroad or in place far from home? What did you miss the most? What did you do when you felt homesick?

Autumn in Wisconsin


Autumn in Wisconsin

Taken at Mirror Lake State Park, Baraboo, Wisconsin, 45 minutes north of Madison. One of my favorite Fall pictures ever.




Yep, imagine that was Kelso from that ‘70’s show screaming it. Anyway I live in Singapore right now, which is a fabulous, inspiring adventure, but I definitely get homesick. I miss things. Like snow (especially when it’s 90 degrees with 90% humidity every day). Yes Midwesterners, I’m sad to be missing out on snow in April and I’m glad I was home during one of those polar vortexes that I’d never heard of till this year. Totally did the whole throwing boiling water thing, no I didn’t get burned. Point of this post: thought I’d share one of my favorite Wisconsin pics to spread the love across the internet 😛 I think it was ten below zero Fahrenheit on the day this was taken last December.