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Guest Author Feature – Sarah Brentyn – Hinting at Shadows

Featured author of the week

 

Today’s featured guest is friend, author/blogger, Sarah Brentyn. I was thrilled when Sarah accepted my invitation to visit here because she reminds me of those reclusive movie stars who’d rather stay hidden behind her words, only I’ve noticed she’s stepped out and done a few interviews this year, and I’m glad that I’ve managed to snag her over here too. Sarah is known for her micro-fiction. She can tell a story using minimal words that have a tendency to linger long after you’ve read them.

Sarah Brentyn - author

About Sarah:

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.

 

Seriously
Boring Stuff

Have a master’s degree in writing. Taught at university and 6-8 grade levels. Been writing since I was 9 years old.

I am a writer. That’s all there is to be said on the matter.
It’s what I do. It’s who I am.

 

On the Edge of a Raindrop by Sarah Brentyn

Coming Soon!

 

Hinting at Shadows - Sarah Brentyn

 

Get this Book on Amazon!

 

 

 

Blurb:

No One Escapes Life Unscathed

Delve into the deeper reaches of the human condition and the darkness that lives there. 

A girl haunted by her sister’s drowning. A boy desperate for his father’s affection. A woman forced to make a devastating decision. A man trapped by his obsessions.

Experience tales of love, loss, murder, and madness through this collection of flash and micro fiction.

Take a peek behind the smile of a stranger. Get a glimpse inside the heart of a friend. Scratch the surface and discover what is hidden beneath.

These stories will open your mind, tug at your thoughts, and allow you to explore the possibility that, even in the brightest moments, something is Hinting at Shadows.

Each selection is approximately 100 words, with a bonus section of Microbursts in which each story is told in 50 words or less.

 

Now, let’s get to know a little bit more about Sarah and her writing!

 

Okay, I’m going to start with your blog – Lemon Shark Reef. I’d love to know what that title represents?

Oh, yeah. First question and I already get to cheat. I’m loving this.

I have a page on my blog explaining the name:

Q: Why did you name your blog “Lemon Shark”?

A: It was 1 AM. I was tired. For weeks, I’d been working on my new WordPress site: getting to know the dashboard, settings, tools, widgets, and whatnot. The time had come for me to get real. I was ready to release this beast into the world and I hadn’t yet decided on a header or a name. The final contenders were all open on my laptop and I flicked back and forth between them until I couldn’t stand looking any more.

I got up, pulled my Webster’s New Explorer College Dictionary off the shelf, closed my eyes, opened the dictionary to a random page, and pointed. My finger landed on “lemon shark”. (It was this close to “lemmings”.)

Q: It’s in the dictionary? You mean it’s a real thing?

A: Why yes, it is indeed a real thing. I love learning new things and here is what I’ve learned:

  1. When I’m tired, I’m inclined to do radical, desperate things like grab a dictionary and open it to a random page to name my blog.
  2. A lemon shark is “a dangerous medium-sized shark of the warm Atlantic that is yellowish brown to gray above with yellow or greenish sides”.

 

I woke up the next morning feeling like I had consulted my Magic 8 Ball for advice. (Which I’ve totally done before so no big.) Anyway, the words “lemon” and “shark” started sounding pretty cool together. By breakfast, I loved it.

And think of all those metaphors and analogies: navigating through the unknown with dangers lurking, treading water, drowning in responsibilities… Plus this pretty, yellow shark is remarkably smart, social, and fiercely protective of its family.

Also, I’d have to say that in the vast sea of life, I’m definitely swimming with sharks.

As far as my second blog, Lemon Shark Reef, it’s an offshoot of Lemon Shark. We are often (and by “we” I mean “me”) kind of obsessive about what we put on our blog and how it looks. I gave myself a break with Lemon Shark Reef. I created it as a place to play with fiction, have fun, and enjoy swimming around without worrying about my bathing suit top falling off. It’s a no-pressure, fun blog.

 

You call yourself a lover of chocolate, cheese, wine and words, no wonder we’re friends! ? I love your sense of humor. I know we can all steal time to eat and drink, but tell us how you’ve been stealing your writing time lately, as I know we like to commiserate together about there never seeming to be enough hours in a day.

Professor McGonagall let me borrow the time-turner. Even though I’m a Ravenclaw, McGonagall is the go-to teacher for this kind of stuff. She’s totally cool—not at all the hard-ass she’d like people to believe she is. (She’d not like me spreading that around so…our secret. K?)

Seriously, I get completely overwhelmed and go cry in a corner until I realize that took anywhere between 15 minutes and an hour. Then I think to myself, “That took anywhere between 15 minutes and an hour. What a waste of time. You could have been writing.” Then I write for five minutes. *shrugs* It adds up.

 

How are you managing your social media and writing time now? Have you found a magical rhythm you might share with us, or are you still feeling like me, as though you’re drowning?

Social media. Well, I’m not on any, for starters. Okay, I have two. I made a rule that if I don’t use it, I lose it. So, basically, I’m on Twitter and G+. That’s pretty much it now. As far as managing it? Picture a lion-tamer at the circus.

I’m always treading water. I don’t drown only because I use a life vest. Which makes it difficult to type but, wow, so worth it. Right? I have extra life vests I throw to passing bloggers. Because. I’m nice that way.

 

Okay, I’m curious, you say you’re an INFJ. What does that mean?

Ah. Well, that’s a secret. If I tell you, I’ll have to kill you. It’s that kind of secret. Or a wicked public one that’s been around for, like, fifty years. Or more.

I had a comment on my blog years ago asking if I knew what personality type I was. I did not. So, with all that extra time, I took this online test (which turned out to be pretty cool). It’s a real test. Not like “Which Disney Character Are You?” or “What Kind of Condiment Are You?” I’ve never taken those. Pfft. No, I have not.

This one’s scientific and stuff. Research was done and everything. It’s pretty well-known. And accurate. Anyway, this test, the Myers–Briggs Type Indicator, says I am an INFJ. It is the rarest of the 16 personality types and among the top career choices for an INFJ are: Writer, Psychiatrist, Psychologist, Therapist, Educational Consultant, Teacher, Professor. Interesting that I’ve either worked in or studied all of these careers.

 

Was it your love for Buffy the Vampire Slayer that led to your passion for writing dark fiction?

That question came out of left field. And hit me in the head. *glares* I hadn’t thought about my undying (get it? undying…undead…vampires…so fun) love for Buffy the Vampire Slayer influencing my writing in any way but, if it did (and now I’m wicked curious and won’t be able to stop thinking about it), it would be some sort of humor. It’s a witty, well-written, funny show. (In my twisted mind.)

So what led to my passion for writing dark fiction? Hmm… I sit. I write. Words appear. Sometimes they’re funny (in a dry, needs-a-chaser kind of way) but mostly they’re dark. Even when I try to write something with unicorns and rainbows, it winds up with a ghost and a possessed fruit tree. It’s weird.

 

Your upcoming book – On the Edge of a Raindrop, when can we expect to see it published? What can we expect to read in that book?

Late November. Yes. That would be this month. In a little over a week, actually.

I’m not much for fanfare. No launch, no tour… Just a girl, standing in front of the online world, asking it to love her. Or her book. Or both of us. Whatever.

On the Edge of a Raindrop is written in the same vein as my previous collection, Hinting at Shadows—short, dark, psychological fiction.

 

Can you share an excerpt with us?

I write short fiction and this interview (ironically) is getting a bit lengthy. Snooze-fest. So I’ll include a few Microbursts (that’s the name I made up for my stories that are under 50 words—micro, haiku, 6-word stories…). I think these ones give a good idea of the flavor of On the Edge of a Raindrop.

 

We wake the same as we slept. Strangers. Dreams cling to our eyelashes as we sip coffee & pretend to believe the beautiful lies we tell.

~~~

Shame is a child’s bath toy. You push it under the water, hold it with all your strength, but it always slips from your grasp and resurfaces.

~~~

I fear

I am slipping loose

from reality

like hair from its braid

my mind comes undone

 

I know you’re also writing a novel now. This seems like a switch from your usual micro-fiction. Please give us a tiny hint about what that book will be about.

A tiny hint? Since you asked so nicely. It’s not really much of a switch from my other writing. Yes, it’s longer, but it remains Brentynesque. The book will be dark, psychological fiction. The MC is a teenage girl I met a few years ago in a flash fiction piece I wrote. She intrigued me. (Read as “she wouldn’t leave me alone until I told her story”.)

 

I read, and thoroughly enjoyed your first book, Hinting at Shadows, and I was amazed at how your short fictional stories written in microbursts of only 50-100 words can paint a story leaving us readers to fill in the rest with our own imagination. Can you share your writing process with us about how you create this type of fiction? Do the stories start out bigger and get whittled down to minimal words?

Aw, thank you. I love painting with words. And I love having readers engage, really engage, with a story. Get drawn in, wonder what’s going to happen, what could happen, what has happened… It’s a different kind of reading experience getting a glimpse, a sliver, but enough to set fire to the imagination.

I never whittle my stories down. That’s not true. I rarely whittle. I mean, I have whittled but I naturally tend toward pithy writing. If anything, I have to try to increase the word count. Then I realize I’m adding unnecessary words and I whittle those nasty things out. (Now I’m just trying to see how many times I can fit the word “whittle” in this answer. It’s a cool word. Whittle. Six.)

 

It was a real treat having you over Sarah. Thank you for enlightening us all with your humor and sharing your writing secrets with us. You’ve explained the essence of microfiction succinctly here and I have to point out that only days after I asked you about “INFJ”, I came across the Meyer-Briggs test myself and found out that I’m and “ENFJ”. It was great having you over. I wish you much success with your new, upcoming book, which I look forward to reading too ❣

ENFJ

Warm, empathetic, responsive, and responsible. Highly attuned to the emotions, needs, and motivations of others. Find potential in everyone, want to help others fulfill their potential. May act as catalysts for individual and group growth. Loyal, responsive to praise and criticism. Sociable, facilitate others in a group, and provide inspiring leadership.

If you readers would like to take the test to find out your personality type you can go HERE.

 

Connect with Sarah

 

Book Link

http://myBook.to/HintingAtShadows

 

Contact Information (blog, website, etc.):

Amazon: Author Page

Blogs:

Lemon Shark

Lemon Shark Reef

Twitter, Google+, Website

Follow Me on Social Media!
Name: D.G. Kaye job Title: Author Business: DGKayewriter.com Image: https://dgkayewriter.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/gues-post.png Facebook Url: Facebook Twitter Url: Twitter Instagram Url: Instagram LinkedIn Url: LinkedIn Pinterest Url: Pinterest Google+ Url: Google+

D.G. Kaye is a nonfiction/memoir writer, who writes from her own life experiences and self-medicates with a daily dose of humor.

135 Comments

  • Marcia

    Absolutely delightful interview, Deb & Sarah. I was laughing all the way through. (Tell me that was your intent, Sarah. Some of your lines are devastatingly funny!) I have Hinting at Shadows on my Kindle, and need to bump it closer to the front of the line. And I’ll be getting On the Edge of a Raindrop as soon as it comes out, too. I love the way your mind works, and thanks, Deb, for having her here today. Sharing on The Write Stuff!

    • dgkaye

      Oh thanks for sharing on your blog Marsh. Isn’t Sarah just a hoot and a delight? It was Sarah’s book that really got me interested in the flash fiction concept. So much can be said with so few words. She is a master at the craft. 🙂 <3

    • Sarah Brentyn

      Er…sure. Yes. That was my intention. I’m glad this gave you a laugh. Honestly, I waited until I had a bit of time, opened the document, and answered the questions off-the-cuff. Then left them alone. It’s the only way I can do this stuff. Otherwise, I’d overthink it and get attacked with self-doubt.

      Thank you so much, Marcia, for reading and sharing. If you get to these books, I hope you enjoy them. Time… Pfft. I know. I have yours on my Kindle, staring at me accusingly.

      Thanks, Debby. I am so happy to get people interested in flash fiction.

  • D. Wallace Peach

    Great interview, Debby, and so Brentynesque, Sarah. 🙂 I love the little tastes you gave us of the new book. Loved Hinting at Shadows and I’m looking forward to your novel, too. Funny how some characters stick and make demands on us. Sort of certifiable. 😀
    And Debby, you are so ENFJ!

    • Sarah Brentyn

      Ah, yes, so Brentynesque. I guess that’ s a thing now. Because. I said so. I am thrilled you like the Microbursts. The interview was getting so long. I think Debby pulls introverts out of their shells. (She SO is an ENFJ, right?) Yeah, those characters who demand to be written…wait, what? Who’s certifiable? I resemble that remark. Thank you, Diana. ?

      Haha! Wit and wisdom. Well…something like that, Debby. Color anyway. 😉

  • Sarah Brentyn

    Thank you so much, Debby, for allowing me to muck up your lovely space with my silliness. (I told you I should have edited.) 😉 This looks gorgeous! I’m humbled and honored. Thank you!!! ?

  • Darlene

    A delightful interview Debby and Sarah. MOst enjoyable. All the best with your new book Sarah. Debbie, I am not surprised by this but I am also an ENFJ. I used to work in a job search program that used the Myers Briggs personality test to help people search for the right job for them.

  • Tina Frisco

    I thoroughly enjoyed this interview, Deb and Sarah. I see you on a stage doing improv comedy together 🙂 Exploring the dark side of human nature is intriguing. What we refuse to look at controls us; and I don’t like being controlled, whether it be by others or my subconscious. I loved the excerpts and look forward to reading your books, Sarah. Terrific post, Deb. Hugs to both of you ?

  • robbiesinspiration

    I loved learning more about Sarah, Debby. How she named her blog is so interesting. I named mine, set it all up and wrote my first post all in the same afternoon. It is great how we are all different.

    • dgkaye

      Thanks Robbie. I think as writers, we’re always curious to learn about the origin of names, places and people we frequent with, especially where we derived our blog’s name from. 🙂

    • Sarah Brentyn

      That’s wild, Robbie. All in one day?! Gah! *panic attack* I overthink EVERYTHING. Right now, I’m thinking about whether or not I am giving TMI in this comment and if I should post it or…

      It is very cool how different we all are. Makes the world interesting. 🙂 ?

  • Norah Colvin

    What a great interview, Debby. You did well to entice Sarah into giving such humorously revealing responses. I really enjoyed Hinting at Shadows and am looking forward to reading On the Edge of a Raindrop. Looks like I won’t have to wait for long!

  • Annika Perry

    Debby & Sarah, this is a wonderful interview!? Debby, you have a flair for this with perfect questions! I’ve long been pondering the name Lemon Shark, so glad this was your first query. Sarah, I love how you used the dictionary technique and phew, lemmings wouldn’t have cut it! Good luck with your latest book and I’m hooked by your short snippets!

    • dgkaye

      Thanks so much Annika for the kudos and I’m glad you enjoyed learning about Sarah. I’m glad this interview piqued your interest in Sarah’s work too 🙂 <3

    • Sarah Brentyn

      Huh. I don’t know. “Lemmings” might have worked. 😉 Well, I can tell you, Lemon Shark seemed utterly bizarre at first, too. I was almost wishing for Lemmings. Eh…almost. “Lemon Law” was close, too! That would have been interesting.

      Glad to have hooked you with the snippets. Thank you, Annika! ?

  • Mae Clair

    Great interview, you two! Sarah, I am an INFJ as well and at one time or another considered most of the careers listed for my personality type.

    I often wondered how you arrived at the name of your blog “Lemon Shark.” Great story.
    I look forward to hearing more about your upcoming release later this month!

  • Allie P.

    Way to snag an interview with Sarah.

    I’m also an INFJ (but a Hufflepuff!) so am questioning the rarity of the personality type, but then again I do associate with a number of other writers so my perception may be skewed.

    • dgkaye

      HI Allie, thanks for dropping by, and great to hear you took the test. I’m starting to think that most of us with these credentials has a lot to do with being creatives. 🙂

    • Sarah Brentyn

      Ah. I can totally see you as a Hufflepuff. Hmm…did we have this conversation already? Did I know that? Anyway, I wouldn’t have pegged you for an INFJ but it does make sense. I think the rarity is true. It’s an old test, all scientific and stuff. I think some people like to be a ‘rare’ type, like a special snowflake. 😉 I just think it is what it is. Other types are slightly more common. Do you know a lot of INFJs? Now I’m wicked curious.

      Thanks for stopping by. Good to see you, fellow non-muggle.

      • Allie P.

        I believe I was sorted into Hufflepuff not necessarily out of some higher meaning all-inclusive concept, but because the hat couldn’t figure out which house I secretly wanted get into. To be fair to the hat, I was just thrilled to be invited.

        I don’t know that many INFJs in person, but a number of us have sounded off on twitter together, yet separately and from the comfort of our own homes.

  • Juliet Nubel

    Hi Debby. I loved your tête à tête. I am one of Sarah’s biggest fans. She knows I love her, and her writing. And she has been a big INFJ to me too – Inspiration to become a New Flash Juggler. Thanks to Sarah I have become addicted to writing flash fiction and no longer have much time for any of the mundane tasks I used to do. But who cares? You have such a wonderful way with words, Sarah. I’ll order your new book asap. *kisses you on both cheeks, à la française* I’m so glad you snagged her for this interview, Debby.

    • dgkaye

      Hi Juliet! So lovely to meet you here. I’m so glad you enjoyed our little interview here, and thank you for coming over to read. And I know exactly what you mean about Sarah’s writing. Glad you are now hooked on flash too! 🙂 🙂

    • Sarah Brentyn

      That’s a fab interpretation of an INFJ, Juliet. Really. You’re awesome. I’m always thrilled to hear of people starting to write (or becoming addicted to) flash. Thanks for stopping by and reading. And for the lovely comment. And for the à la française greeting. Big, squishy, “I-need-my-personal-space-back”, hug!

      Thank you, Juliet. ?

  • TanGental

    Debby you are a magician to tempt Brentyn out from behind her shadow – she’s always moaning it follows her around – and almost tell us the secret of her literary alchemy, turning base verbs and simple consonants into luscious stories. I remain fixated (in a healthy, non-stalky sort of way) with how she does what she does (not the interior monologue thingy which is sounding like my satnav after it’s overdone a late night cheese and coffee raid, but the sooper-dooper flash fiction she pens). I’m not jealous at all. Really. I look good in green. It’s an Irish thing. I’m looking forward to book two, too. (Is that book four?). It will be sooperest-dooperest of micro fiction and I want it and I want it now. Pretty please… (editor’s note: the writer wishes to apologise for the random and egregious use of the word ‘pretty’ in his comment and pleads for a one-time derogation from the usual rules requiring the use of gender-neutral, appearance-based, non-glib unflattery in blog post comments). Thank you. Can I have my choc-ice now?

    • dgkaye

      LOLLLLLLLL Geoff. I loved your monologue! And ha ha, I have my wiley ways you know! I won’t go into detail how long ago this little interlude was planned. Sarah and I are always groaning about not enough hours in our days, so natch, I had to take up more of her lack of time to get her over here. And as a memoir writer, flash was never my thing until I read her first book, played with a few of them on my blog and entered 2 of Charli’s flash Rodeo contests. I really wanted to submit to yours but as Sarah might say, life just wouldn’t allow it. Now I await the results of contest #3. 🙂 Thanks bunches for popping over here Geoff. Sarah will be delighted to read your offerings. 🙂 Hugs x

    • Sarah Brentyn

      What?! Pfft. I’m always moaning about my shadow following me around?! I resemble that remark. Note how Debby says it took me a long while. I don’t suppose you’re surprised by that tidbit of info, Geoff? Literary Alchemy. If that’s not a genre, it damn well should be. It’s brilliant. (Not that I have any sort of alchemy or that I do that interior monologue thingy he’s going on about and we’ve gone over this envy thing and will have to agree to disagree that either of us look good in green. We both do. Quite fetching, actually.)

      Thank you for your continued support of my lovely, little flash. *hands over a choc-ice* 🙂

      Debby – Thrilled to have anything at all to do with you writing flash and joining a few flash rodeo contests. ?

  • Judy E Martin

    What a fabulous and fun interview, ladies, I am so inspired by Sarah’s mastery at Flash Fiction, and it is thanks to her that I recently jumped right out of my comfort zone and dived in to the Carrot Ranch Rodeo FF Challenge!
    I love it that our blogging community is so encouraging and supportive, and you two ladies are a prime example of this. ??

  • Jennie

    Fantastic interview, Debby. Anyone who loves Harry Potter and painting with words, and makes decisions by playing a game akin to Blind Travel with Doctor Dolittle is tops.

  • Sarah Brentyn

    Haha! I had to look up ‘Blind Travel with Doctor Dolittle’. That’s hilarious! (And very apt.) 😀 Thanks for stopping by and for reading. Had a bit of fun with this. Much appreciated, Jennie. ?

  • Loni Townsend

    Great interview, Sarah, and *gasp* I hope I didn’t set you too far off schedule by getting sick. And whittle is a fun word. Whittle. *giggle*

  • Hugh's Views and News

    What an exclusive, Debby. How did you get this? Getting an interview from Sarah is like finding a coin in my Christmas pudding. It never happens anymore! You’ve uncovered so much, and I love the way you answered the questions, Sarah. They are almost like your flash fiction – they really make you think. But, I have to ask, do you search for fairies while strolling through cemeteries?

  • Christy B

    Such a lively interview! I enjoyed Sarah’s answers, including the inventive way she named her blog 😉 From crying to Buffy (and maybe a combination of the two), many topics were covered here. Well done, ladies!

    • Sarah Brentyn

      Definitely lively! 😀 Great word for it.

      Yes, that blog name was going to take me down if I didn’t do something drastic. *shrugs* I’ve lived with Lemon Shark ever since. No regrets. We certainly did cover a lot of topics and I’m glad Buffy was one of them. Thanks, Christy. ?

  • Liesbet

    Great interview, Debby, and nice to meet you, Sarah. What a talent to be able to create a story, poem, blurb, concept, or a whole idea with so few words. Enjoyable reading, the interview and the excerpts.

    • dgkaye

      Lol, you’re asking me why your answers have question marks? I think you’re very methodical and like to check with yourself even, lol. Maybe I’m going to have to start calling you the Riddler? LOL 😉 🙂 xxxx

      • Sarah Brentyn

        Hahaha! The Riddler! I love it. Yes, please do start calling me that. It’s awesome.

        Though I meant that all my sparkly hearts seemed to mysteriously have turned to question marks. Hmm… I have to try it… 💖 < This should be a sparkly heart. *shrugs* Let's see. Still, I do like The Riddler. I'm sticking with that.

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