Check out a Q&A with the author... Everything's Not Fine by Sarah J. Carlson (Interview & #Giveaway) @The_FFBC

Welcome to my tour stop! Check out an interview with the author and giveaway below...

Everything's Not Fine
By Sarah J. Carlson
YA Contemporary
Hardcover, Paperback & ebook, 304 Pages
May 26th 2020 by Turner Publishing


Seventeen-year-old Rose Hemmersbach aspires to break out of small town Sparta, Wisconsin and achieve her artistic dreams at Belwyn School for the Arts after she graduates. Painting is Rose’s escape from her annoying younger siblings and her family’s one rule: ignore the elephant in the room, because talking about it makes it real. That is, until the day Rose finds her mother dying on the kitchen floor of a heroin overdose. Kneeling beside her, Rose pleads with the universe to find a heartbeat. She does – but when her mother is taken to the hospital, the troubles are just beginning. Rose and her dad are left to pick up the pieces. Now all that matters are her siblings.

Rose doesn’t have room to do her schoolwork, let alone pick up a paintbrush. Until Rose is forced to do the homecoming mural with Rafa, a new senior at Sparta High. Rose and Rafa don’t have an ounce of school spirit between them, but Rose discovers her brain still has room to paint.

As Rose fights to hold everything together, and her dreams of the future start to slip from her grasp, she must face the question of what happens when – if – her mom comes home again. And if, deep down, if Rose even wants her to.

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Would you tell us more about the main characters from EVERYTHING'S NOT FINE?

After graduation, seventeen-year-old Rose Hemmersbach dreams of fleeing small-town Wisconsin like her Broadway star Aunt Colleen. Rose is dead-set on getting into an exclusive art school high in the Sierra Nevada mountains and freeing herself of cashiering at Walmart, a recent break-up, her annoying younger siblings, and her family’s dark secret—Mom’s heroin addiction. Until Mom almost dies of an overdose. As the aftermath crushes in around her family, Rose struggles to hold the pieces together for her siblings. Now she can’t think five seconds ahead, let alone follow through on her plans to pull an “Aunt Colleen.” She can’t even pick up a paintbrush.

Seventeen-year-old Rafa Hernández Muñoz’s family moved from Milwaukee to tiny Sparta so his dad could get a better-paying job. This was supposed to be Rafa’s year to finally make varsity soccer and be president of the Latino Student Union, which would have looked great on college applications. And Rafa is now stuck spending all his free time working at Walmart and doing homework. He keeps telling himself family comes first, at all costs, but still, it’s not exactly how he planned on spending his senior year, especially since his younger brother has decided being popular is more important than the promise they made to have each others’ backs.

What inspired you to write a story where the main character's mother almost dies of a heroin overdose?

I’m a young adult author, but I’m also a school psychologist. In my twelve years working in the schools, the thing I see children and teens struggle with most are things beyond their control, such as parental substance abuse. I wanted to write a story about a teen finding her resilience in the aftermath of trauma in the hopes that it might help teens dealing with tough life circumstances, whatever they might be.

What tips would Rose give about creating art?

Shut your brain off and paint; let go of words and thoughts and let your brush come to life on its own. Don’t paint things, sculpt shapes and lines and colors into beauty. And mix your own black; it’s lazy to use black from the tube.

When you reach for a book to read, what genre do you grab and what are some of your favorites in that genre?

I really enjoy YA contemporary with strong character development and deep emotion. Some of my more recent favorites include The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner and The Carnival at Bray by Jessie Ann Foley. My most favorite book of all time, however, is The Giver, and has been since elementary school.

What’s one of your hobbies or something we might not know about you?

I love to run and hike and find excuses to be outdoors, especially right now during the pandemic. I try to appreciate the beauty in the little things around us every day.

What are you working on next?

Another young adult contemporary about a boy trying to keep his family’s dying tourist attraction alive in the biggest tourist trap destination of the Midwest. At this point, it’s just for fun. Not sure if anything will come of it 😉

About the Author

Sarah J. Carlson writes contemporary YA that delves into complex, real world problems. Professionally, she is a school psychologist who works primarily with a diverse, mostly low income population. Her professional focus is around supporting the success of children with behavioral and mental health needs and helping to promote resilience in children who have been exposed to trauma or toxic stress. Sarah lives outside Madison, Wisconsin with her husband, two young children, and two energetic terriers.

Tour Schedule
Tour-Wide Giveaway

1 copy of EVERYTHING’S NOT FINE by Sarah Carlson
• US Only
• Please be aware that delays due to COVID-19 may occur on the shipping of the prizes.


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