The Light and Dark of Sarah Brentyn: Guest Post

Sarah Brentyn swears she’s an introvert on the verge of becoming a recluse, and yet she’s one of the stars of the blogosphere – hilarious, clever and outgoing, commenting, visiting, guest posting, writing, and managing two blogs (in addition to a real life). Her posts are full of the humor and sarcasm of a natural wit, and yet, her book of flash fiction, Hinting at Shadows, is a foray into the darker, deeper emotions and struggles of the human journey. Sarah is a conundrum. Who is this woman? I invited her here to answer that question and tell us about these sides of her writerly self.

Sarah Brentyn: Living in the Light, Writing in the Dark

I’ve been asked how it is (or why it is) that I write a light-hearted, pseudo-humorous blog then turn around and pen some seriously dark fiction. I’m here to answer that question.

I am Dr. Jekyll.

Okay, I’m not. Or I could be. You don’t know.

Buckle your seat belts. We’re in for a bumpy ride. I’ve no idea where I’m going with this.

Here’s the thing about me. I’m a conversational writer. People often say I write in a stream of consciousness narrative. That’s fair. I do. It’s why I like pantsing. (In the writing sense, that is. I’d never pull your trousers down to humiliate you. No, I would not.)

My blog? I freewrite. Jot down whatever comes to mind. My life, writing, the world around me…  Since I simply sit down and write, it’s unfiltered me. Sarcastic and silly and, sometimes, accidently serious. (With tons of alliteration, apparently.) There are ridiculous posts where my inner child is peeking out and there are thought-provoking posts where my philosophical nature is showing. It’s a mish-mash. Or “eclectic”, if you want to be nice. It doesn’t fit into any specific category. I’m okay with that because, if you think on it, people don’t fit neatly into specific categories, either.

My fiction? I dig deep. Find those roots and rip them out to have a good look. Examine what lies beneath. Get inside people’s heads. Dissect the sticky center. (Okay, that’s gross. It’s more studying inner workings than wielding scalpels.) There are a lot of psychological struggles, tricky emotions, and shadowy memories in there. I’m obsessed with the anatomy of human behavior. And I enjoy exploring it in flashes.

What’s so remarkable about flash fiction is that you can hint at the stuffing inside the teddy bear or you can show readers the rip in the seam. Cotton fiber or bean pellets? What’s inside the story?

I want to make readers wonder what the hell just happened then decide for themselves three hours later because they can’t stop thinking about it. When readers engage, I’ve won. Huge. Like that impossible water gun game at the carnival that’s completely rigged and no one ever really wins. Like that. I got the biggest prize they have and now can’t go on any rides because I’m hauling around a unicorn the size of a VW Bus. But that’s okay. I have cotton candy.

With fiction, I create things I wouldn’t want to experience. Though I do anyway. Vicariously. I’m very close to my characters. They’re like family. (The ones I don’t dread visiting during holidays.) Their stories affect me but I’m not stuck in their reality.

I think it’s safe to say that I live in the light and write in the dark.

My (Diana’s) review of Hinting at Shadows:

A string of story pearls

I just finished Hinting at Shadows and had to rave a little about this book of short fiction. When Brentyn says short, she means short. Most of the stories are about 100 words, what I refer to as flash fiction. I enjoy flash fiction, but wasn’t sure about reading a whole book of it. I was pleasantly surprised, to say the least.

Every story is a pearl. The writing is exquisite and full of pathos with a focus on the poignancy of the human condition. Hinting at Shadows is the perfect title as each story is a tiny hint at a larger human story, one that is characterized by shadows – sometimes secrets, but more often complex feelings of loneliness, regret, longing, disappointment, and hope.

It would be possible to whip through this book in a couple hours, but I think it’s meant to be savored, just as one might read poetry. So that’s what I did. It’s perfect for someone who enjoys filling their free moments with words or someone who just loves beautiful writing.

Author Bio:

Sarah Brentyn is an introvert who believes anything can be made better with soy sauce and wasabi. She loves words and has been writing stories since she was nine years old. She talks to trees and apologizes to inanimate objects when she bumps into them. When she’s not writing, you can find her strolling through cemeteries or searching for fairies. She hopes to build a vacation home in Narnia someday. In the meantime, she lives with her family and a rainbow-colored, wooden cat who is secretly a Guardian.

Book Link: myBook.to/HintingAtShadows

Sarah’s Hang-outs: 
Amazon: Author Page
Blogs: Lemon Shark    and   Lemon Shark Reef
Twitter
Google+

213 thoughts on “The Light and Dark of Sarah Brentyn: Guest Post

  1. Mae Clair says:

    Just found this through Sally’s reblog (I’m not sure why I didn’t get notice of your original blog post. I’m experimenting with Reader and it’s touch-and-go right now, LOL).

    Great post! I’ve read Sarah’s work before. She has a wonderful way of relaying a tale. Wishing her continued success!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You probably missed it, Mae, because it’s an old post that recently is getting a second life (all on its own with a little help from Sally). 🙂 I enjoyed interviewing Sarah and loved her book. I’m glad you found it. Happy Reading.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Looks like I’m late to the party, lol. I found this via Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore reblog. Love the interview and the writing. Have added this book to my KindleUnlimited reading. Thanks for sharing, Diane. Best of luck, Sarah. Can’t wait to dip into these short stories 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for stopping by, Harmony. Sarah is a master at flash fiction and a sweet person besides. You aren’t late to the party, actually. This is an old post that somehow is seeing a little light again! And that makes me happy. 😀 Hope you’re enjoying the last days of August. Happy Reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. joylennick says:

    Hi Diana, Judging by the amount of comments alone, I’d back you and Sarah to win a literary race, any day! A great piece and what a fascinating character she sounds…So many of us writers are “intro’s” rather than “extro’s” – or a mixture of both – but labels can fool.It’s OK to be different; in fact preferable. Diversity rocks, as the youngsters would say. Trust all is more peaceful in your private life, Diana, as I know it’s been tough going for a while now. Hugs xx

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for stopping by to read, Joy. I notice lots of introverts too in this vocation. I guess writing requires alone time and introspection, so there you go, the perfect match. Sarah is a lovely person and talent. I’m so glad you stopped by! Enjoy the last days of summer, my friend. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord Blog Magazine and commented:
    Author Sarah Brentyn is the guest of Diana Wallace Peach and reveals both sides of her nature… the light of her blogs and the darkness of her fiction.. a terrific post and with a review by Diana for Hinting at Shadows which is currently on sale at 99c/99p on Kindle.. Head over and enjoy.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. This is such an interesting peep into Sarah’s writing process and insight into life and people, Diana. You have shared a lovely review of her book too.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Reblogged this on Once Upon a Time…. and commented:
    Hinting At Shadows is a must read for me. It sounds really great. Diane, great post and thank you for sharing. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  7. […] I said in a recent guest post at D. Wallace Peach’s blog, “I want to make readers wonder what the hell just happened then decide for themselves three […]

    Liked by 2 people

  8. […] I said in a recent guest post at D. Wallace Peach’s blog, “I want to make readers wonder what the hell just happened then decide for themselves three […]

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I think all artists have a bit of introversion in their nature — it’s what keeps them in touch with the things buried deep within us. Not even sure, really, why introversion developed a reputation as a malignant condition; it’s quite a rare and enviable quality these days, if you think about it.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. I love this take on flash fiction and the conversational style in writing. Thanks!

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Terrific interview on Sarah. Thanks for sharing this. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  12. I feel that Sarah is very much on the same side of the fence as I am? Is that fair to say? Flash fiction, short stories, writing things that make you ask the question ‘what just happened’ and never going away until you (the reader) decide what the heck just happened.
    She’s one of the blog world’s little secrets but, if you’re lucky enough to find her, share her work.
    Thanks for doing so, Diana.

    Liked by 4 people

  13. Great share, Diana. I am very excited to learn more about Sarah. I love that she lives in the light and writes in the dark. What a great way to describe her style.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. I’m intrigued by a whole book of flash fiction, or micro-fiction? Great post, Sarah, and I think I’m going to have to visit your blogs. I love snarky 🙂 And Diana, your review is superb, and gives us a good sense of what we can expect in this collection of stories. Good luck, Sarah!

    Liked by 5 people

    • Sarah has lots of snark for all us snark-lovers, Julie. Ha ha. Thanks for stopping by, and have a most awesome weekend. 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks, Julie. Yes, I can be a bit snarky. Eh. I am what I am. Like Popeye sans spinach. 🙂 There are some who like snark… Much appreciated.

      Hinting at Shadows could definitely be categorized as micro fiction but all those different categories are under the umbrella of “flash fiction” and everyone has something different to say about the word count of each. *shrugs* Flash it is. And, yes, I love Diana’s in-depth description of what one can expect. It’s wonderful. Thanks so much! Have a great weekend.

      Liked by 4 people

  15. Ali Isaac says:

    Great post, Sarah. You in a nutshell. Or at least the bit you want to share. The rest is hiding in the dark, I think. 😊 Fabulous review, Diana, as always. You seem to see into the dimensions most of us miss. Two writers I hugely admire in one post… bargain! 🤣💕

    Liked by 5 people

    • Thanks, Ali! What a lovely comment. I really did enjoy Sarah’s book and it’s been fun having her here. 🙂 Have a great weekend!

      Liked by 2 people

    • OH, yes. This is definitely me a nutty nutshell. Though perhaps there are some pieces hiding in the dark… 😉 I know! Diana’s take-away from Hinting at Shadows is what I’d so hoped to achieve. (Though, to be fair, I don’t think you missed anything in the book. You seemed to really get everything.) ❤ Thank you, Ali. And thank you, again, Diana. 💕💕💕

      Liked by 2 people

  16. LOVED the analogy of the water gun game (which is always rigged). Well said, Sarah, as always. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  17. A lovely piece Diana, I had a good read. Very much interesting! thank your posting!

    Liked by 3 people

  18. Antonia says:

    Very cool, thank you for the introduction! I hope you are doing well Diana!

    Liked by 4 people

  19. So delightful to see Sarah here and learn so much about her writing style. I agree that Sarah’s writing is fantastic.

    Liked by 4 people

  20. Annika Perry says:

    Two gems in your blog today, Diana…your review answered my immediate query how well a book of flash fiction would work – to read it as poetry, dipping in now and then seems ideal and kudos to Sarah for putting these together.

    Sarah, I’m immediately drawn in by the darker tone of these stories and how you want to grab the readers’ thoughts and emotions and stay there long after they’ve finished reading – your post here is already having that effect so I’m sure your book will be a great hit! I love the cover, very striking and alluring. 😀

    Liked by 5 people

    • You are still the queen of comments, Annika. So thoughtful and full of kindness. Yes, reading this flash fiction like poetry is perfect, and that’s exactly how I approached the book. Thanks so much for your visit. I hope work pressures are easing up. Have a wonderful evening and rest of the week. ❤

      Liked by 3 people

    • Ah, Annika. Your comment. It’s wonderful. Thank you for focusing on this part of Diana’s review. I think a lot of readers are…uncertain as to how a book of flash would work for them. I was hoping that readers would dip in, read a story, think on it a bit, read another. For many, it might be the best way to experience flash. Leaves you thinking… 😉 Love that!

      I am so pleased that you’re drawn in. I do hope these darker stories stay with readers. Thank you for the lovely comment. ❤

      Liked by 3 people

  21. You had me at “an introvert on the verge of becoming a recluse.” What a great description. And your book sounds wonderful.

    Liked by 4 people

  22. Me says:

    I love the way it’s written. Wow. Lovely introduction. 😃

    Liked by 3 people

  23. Reblogged this on Author Don Massenzio and commented:
    Meet author Sarah Brentyn from this guest post on the Myths of the Mirror blog.

    Liked by 4 people

  24. I loved Sarah’s blog on her muse, so that should have been enough for me to read more or her. But I find her very funny introduction of herself as a writer and your review of her book has me hooked! She definitely ascribes by the ‘show don’t tell’ concept of being funny and creative. I’m going to download the book right now!

    Liked by 3 people

  25. Norah says:

    I love Sarah, and her writing too. It was great to read her guest post here, and I really enjoyed your review, Diana. I was quite taken with your description of her stories as pearls to be read one at a time and savoured. I said her book was like a box of chocolate – each one different and also to be savoured. Chocolate or pearls – each delightful in its own way. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  26. What an exquisite audit… both of your lovely words have attracted me… I will look at Sarah’s websites as well….thank you such a great amount for sharing!

    Liked by 3 people

  27. Juliet Nubel says:

    I loved this post. but then again I love all of Sarah’s posts! I love her style, her wit, her stunning streams of alliteration ;). I’m off to buy that book!

    Liked by 2 people

  28. dgkaye says:

    I just loved this but maybe I’m biased because I love Sarah’s writing, sense of humor, raw honesty, and um, maybe because she’s a friend. Conundrum, ’nuff said. 🙂 ❤ Hugs to you both! xx

    Liked by 2 people

  29. Love seeing Sarah here and reading about her light and dark sides. Sarah, I love your take on things and always enjoy your flash fiction. Happy writing!

    Liked by 3 people

  30. What a lovely review…both of your beautiful words have drawn me in…I’m going to check out Sarah’s blogs as well…thank you so much for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

  31. […] thrilled to be over at Myths of the Mirror today where the talented, gracious, lovely author D. Wallace Peach has allowed me to pants my way […]

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Wow. A small book of flash fiction. Sounds enticing! Great review.

    Liked by 2 people

  33. Thanks for sharing the fun introduction with Sarah, and for the review of Hinting at Shadows. Waving hi to Diana and Sarah.

    Liked by 3 people

  34. Helen Jones says:

    Sarah is just wonderful, and so is her writing 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  35. PoetSpeak says:

    I thought this a really thoughtful and helpful review. What an interesting writer.

    Liked by 2 people

  36. Diana, this sounds fun and Sarah sounds amazing! Thank you for this, I am going to pop over and check out Sarah’s blog. Have a wonderful week 🙂 x

    Liked by 3 people

  37. Teri Polen says:

    I read Dr. Jeckyll and and Mr. Hyde last month and knew it reminded me of someone, Sarah. This was a great post – thanks for hosting, Diana!

    Liked by 3 people

  38. Thank you, Diana, for this lovely introduction to Sarah and her work! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  39. I love blogs that are created from spontaneity. Will have to check this one out. Thanks, D.

    Liked by 3 people

  40. balroop2013 says:

    Thanks for sharing the review of this book Diana. You know my obsession with poetry and shadows. I would like to read this book as soon as I finish the one I am reading. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  41. Thanks, Diana, for allowing me to finger paint on your masterpiece here. 🙂 I so appreciate the opportunity to appear on your amazing blog (and the lovely introduction and review). You are the bee’s knees. The cat’s pyjamas, even. ❤ Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  42. Morgan says:

    Delightful 🙂 Thanks for sharing her with us!

    Liked by 2 people

  43. Almost Iowa says:

    She talks to trees and apologizes to inanimate objects when she bumps into them.

    I would advise against attempting to converse with a tree, they are not particularly quick witted, on the other hand, apologizing to inanimate object is just common courtesy.

    Liked by 2 people

  44. I love flash fiction. The story telling gets very compressed and every word counts. Quite a feat to accomplish a whole book of small marbles. Will get to the book as soon as I accomplish reading the other stories waiting on my kindle. Thank you Diana for introducing people and their work.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thanks for stopping by, Christina. I really enjoy flash fiction too, both reading and writing it. Happy Reading. If your TBR pile is like mine, you have enough books to last you a year! Lol

      Liked by 1 person

    • I love flash fiction, too. (Erm…obviously.) 😉 I love the constraint and, like you said, making sure every word counts. It’s such fun to whittle down a story into only those words that really add to the richness of it. Unlike this rambling comment. If you do get Hinting at Shadows, I hope you enjoy it. Thanks, Christina!

      Liked by 1 person

  45. Followed Sarah and bought the book based on your glowing review. What can I say, I’m a trusting soul.

    Liked by 2 people

  46. Carrie Rubin says:

    “Dissect the sticky center.”—Yes! That’s great for fiction. And also for chocolate lava cake. 😁

    Liked by 4 people

  47. Just visited (and followed) Sarah’s blog. There is a lot of fun there… and quite a lot of true words too, I think. Thanks for pointing us in Sarah’s direction!

    Liked by 4 people

  48. michnavs says:

    I am happy that you shared anothe yet brilliant young writer..so i am gonna head on to her site and read more of her works..

    Liked by 3 people

  49. Diana, thank you for this lovely introduction to Sarah. Hugs to you both.

    Liked by 3 people

  50. philipparees says:

    I am envious of this confident youth, self assured brevity,and a incipient philosophy that is not yet (like mine) atrophied. Persuasive. Must read!

    Liked by 5 people

    • Not so atrophied! ❤ I'm thrilled about the energy in your last post, Philippa. Yes, Sarah is talented as well as really fun, and way more energetic than I am, too. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    • Well, not so sure. There are times I’m quite sure my brain is atrophied. But it’s short-lived so I get by.

      Ah. “Self assured brevity…” I like that. I’ll take it! 😉 Thank you kindly, Philippa.

      Liked by 2 people

      • philipparees says:

        If I had another life I suspect I could make money selling other people’s writing with ‘self-assured brevity’or become an advertising copy writer instead of being a weighty philosopher lumbered with words or a pinched poet doing too much with too few!

        You are more than welcome Sarah. Your book looks great.

        Liked by 3 people

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