Monday, December 10, 2012

TBR welcomes Sunny Frazier

TBR: Welcome to TBR, Sunny. Will you share a little bit about yourself?
Sunny: I have a “checkered” past, not a bad thing for a writer. I joined the Navy during the Vietnam War, used my GI benefits to attend college, picked up a degree in journalism. The market was flooded with journalists trying to emulate Woodward and Bernstein. I worked as the token woman on a regional newspaper, but the wage discrimination didn't sit well with me. So, I got a job with the Sheriff's Dept. and became a secretary for an undercover narcotics team. Good stuff for writing mysteries!

Now, I also wear the hat of acquisitions editor for Oak Tree Press. The astrology?  I've been casting horoscopes for over 40 years.

TBR: Tell us about WHERE ANGELS FEAR and where it's available.
Sunny: My last release is WHERE ANGELS FEAR, the sequel to FOOLS RUSH IN. Both books are based on real cases I worked: one a methamphetamine case, the other a wacky sex club we busted. My books also try to expand the reader's awareness of astrology in new ways.   

TBR: Please tantalize us with a story blurb or excerpt.
          The sharp click, click, click of her red spiked heels annoyed her, but not enough to slip them off. She paced the ten-foot-square room, careful to step over the loose floor board each time. Think, think, think her mind sang in accompaniment with her shoes. She wandered down a maze of possibilities, each time running into a dead end. There was no other solution. She picked up the cell phone hit speed dial.
"Wass up?" he answered, his usual greeting slurred by sleep.
"I need you."
"Baby, it's 2 a.m. Nobody needs nothing bad enough at this time of night."
"Cut the crap. I have another situation on my hands."
All sleepiness evaporated from his voice. "No, girl, you promised. You said it was an accident before and you'd be more careful."
"Stan, I don't need a lecture. I need a body bag. Get over here." She hit the off button and snapped the phone shut.
This one had actually pleased her. He didn't have a beer gut like most men his age, and she admired his attempts to keep his muscles toned. Not that it mattered in the end.
She walked over to the man and planted a shoe on the floor at either side of his body. His chest was bare and even in the weak light of the flickering candle she could see his skin had a gray-green cast. She'd been rough the last few days, but she wasn't sorry. That was the way the game was played. She leaned over him, straining the leather jumpsuit. Her long, coal-black hair brushed his face as she shook her head slowly from side to side.
"You have to be careful when you love," she crooned to the corpse. With a single, blood-red fingernail, she traced a valentine on the left side of his bare chest. "The heart can only stand so much of a good thing."

TBR: What inspired you to write about the theme?
Sunny: It was a very strange case. I was the first to hear about the sex club from a snitch. We thought it was a fruit and vegetable stand. I mean, who puts a sex club in a peppermint-striped historical train station? The book is funny, but it also addresses issues such as the rights of adults (sex clubs aren't illegal), the impact of the Vietnam War and astrology. As a journalist, I wanted to interview the owners; as an employee of the Sheriff's Dept., I wasn't allowed. We ultimately busted the place on building codes and it moved to the next county.    

TBR: Are you a plotter or pantser?
Sunny: I'm a pantser, but I know my plots well ahead of time. I like to see where the side trips take me.

TBR: How do you develop your characters?
Sunny: Many are based on people I worked with, so I just tweaked them a bit. For others, I created fake birthdays and did their horoscope. Yes, that's cheating, but why not?

TBR: Do you have a favorite quote you’d like to share?
Sunny: “Life is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think.”
Horace Walpole

TBR: Which of your characters would you most/least like to invite to dinner, and why?
Sunny: I'd like to hang out with Lennie Watkins, she's my home girl. She makes no apologies for her redneck behavior or her sexual appetite. I love writing her scenes. My protag, Christy, is such a “good girl” that sometimes she frustrates both Lennie and me.  

TBR: While creating your books, what was one of the most surprising things you learned?
Sunny: I put a lot of trust into the astrology and sometimes it scared me when it not only affected the plot, but things fell into place without any manipulation on my part. The book I'm currently working on had the premise “Can astrology be used to profile a killer?” I wasn't sure, but it really worked out. 

TBR: Tease us with one little thing about your fictional world that makes it different from others.
Sunny: I give readers a glimpse in the world of law enforcement from the viewpoint of a “pink collar” worker. Secretaries really keep things running but they are underpaid and overlooked. My character solves crimes but has to do it on the sly so she won't lose her job. This is, again, based on my experiences. I wanted to put the spotlight on the unsung heroes in law enforcement. I don't think readers have been exposed to the powerlessness of support staffers.

TBR: What's next for you?
Sunny: I'm finishing up “A Snitch In Time.” It's set in the Sierra Nevada foothills, a place with lots of strange people. Christy is conscripted to work with the homicide team and realizes she needs to hurry the investigation along to return back to her home. Again, the book is based on real characters and an informant who would only talk to me, much to the chagrin of the detectives I worked with.  

TBR: Any other published works?
Sunny: Before I wrote novels, I was very active as a short story writer. I've been in several anthologies and have 12 prize-winning stories in a collection called “Valley Fever: Where Murder Is Contagious.” It's a collector's item now.

TBR: What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your books?
Sunny: “I know I'm suppose to hate Lloyd Parr (the leader of the drug gang) but there are times I actually feel sorry for him.” When you can create sympathy for your villain, I think a writer has accomplished something.

TBR: Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?
Sunny: I'm a big fan of Daniel Silva, Michael Connelly, Robert Crais, J.A. Jance and Sue Grafton. However, I'm suddenly fascinated with historical fiction and have been reading Allison Weir and Colleen McCullough's Rome series. I also admire the work of  Chuck Palahniuk (Fight Club) and wish I could be as brave a writer. 

TBR: Where can readers find you on the web?
Sunny:  I have about 400 hits on Google, so I'm not hard to find. My website is

TBR: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Sunny: Would a book that has astrology as a component in a crime novel put you off or would you be curious about the practice?   

TBR: Readers, Sunny will cast a horoscope for one lucky commenter. She'll pick a winner next week and announce the winner here. Be sure to leave your email address so she can contact you.

Thanks for visiting TBR, Sunny. All the best to you.


  1. Crime fighting and astrology--I'm intrigued. Your book characters sound fascinating. Really enjoyed your interview, Sunny!

  2. Sunny, you know I've enjoyed both your books! Anxiously waiting for Christy's next adventure. Continued success!


  3. I thoroughly enjoyed "Where Angels Fear" and I'm looking forward to "A Snitch In Time."

  4. This is a really good book! Please enter me in to the contest. :)

  5. I have that collector's anthology of short stories, and I'm not giving it up! Excellent stories in there. going to look for Where Angels Fear right now.

  6. Loved your first two Christy Bristol books, Sunny, and I'd love my horoscope read!

  7. Fascinating premise and excellent excerpt. You practice what you expect from your writers-- great interview.

  8. Sunny, what fun to have a crime novel with astrology alongside. I've had palm readings from a friend who did them at a supper club where she worked, so it'd be interesting to see how astrology weaves itself into the palm readings. Your books sound good enough to read, like we say here: "that apple pie looks good enough to eat."

  9. I think astrology is a fantastic subject whether you read about it in a novel or practice it first hand. All your work is fantastic to read but yeah I would love to see more astrology in your books.
    I'm not much of a mystery/murder reader, I prefer reading what I write, but yours are very enjoyable :)

    Brenda J Weaver
    Romance Novelist

  10. Interesting astrology angle! I like hearing how other authors flesh out their characters.
    Intriguing excerpt, too.

  11. Will your new book also be available as an ebook? That's how I have your others.

    Debbie Merritt
    also from Lemoore High School's class of '69

  12. Woohoo! Astrology and horoscopes add a nice element all of this! Add to that the "pink collar" and this was a fun interview!

  13. Love the quote. It is so you. I loved your first two books and waiting for three. Get going girl! LOL. I could use a horoscope. My life is a zoo!
    W.S. Gager on Writing

  14. Hi Sunny, I'm a Sagittarius--is that good or bad for a writer? Enjoyed "Where Angels Tread." I haven't read any other astrology/mysteries, so you've carved out a good niche for yourself.

  15. Yes, Debbie, my next will also be in e-book format.

    Sally, it really depends on what your other planets are. I'd be wondering what sign your Mercury (communication) is under. And, if you have any Gemini, that gives lots of creativity.

    I'm a triple Gemini. What does that tell you???

  16. Yes, don't discount the role of secretaries. they can make or break you and they are the first line of defense on who gets to see the bosses.

  17. I like what you said about secretaries. I always felt that way about janitors and treated them as well as I did my colleagues (that came out all wrong, but you know what I mean!) I know bupkiss about astrology, but am fascinated by the subject. I can see how using it might take your plot in interesting directions.

  18. Sunny, Great Interview. I am running away from caregiving for 9 (count 'em, 9) days between Christmas until shortly after new years and since I will have time to actually read, I'm taking your books with me to enjoy. Can't wait. I love the idea of giving "pink collar" workers a voice and of using the astrology angle as a way to give more insight into your characters. You know I think you are brilliant and appreciate the helping hand you give to newbie writers. I couldn't get the link to work for the giveaway. I'll try again when I get home on the "big" computer.
    Happy Holidays !

    1. Hi Sunny, I am amazed at how doing a chart leads you to plot development. I would like to know more about that. It seems like a wonderful, secret tool you have.

      Here's my email address, as if you didn't know. I'd be thrilled for you to cast my horoscope.

      Thanx for this blog. Loved the sex club snippet.


  19. Sorry for the late hello, Sunny, but welcome to TBR. Thanks for such a cool giveaway!

  20. I love Sunny's work and I use it in my class as well. My college students are working on research papers on her novels right now. They all love it. I couldn't recommend her novels more highly.

  21. Great piece, I use tarot cards for my characters. I also know more about my characters by their birthdates too. A taurus isn't going to act the same as a libra. So knowing a horoscope works in my thoughts.

  22. Makes sense to me--astrology to fight crime. Puts you one step ahead in catching the criminals. And in a novel, well, exciting events that you don't find in most novels will occur. Nice interview. Glad to hear A Snitch in Time is almost finished.

  23. Penny,
    You're entered into the drawing just by making a comment! And, I hope to come up there and give my class on "Do it yourself astrology." Won't that be fun???

  24. When they do a reprint of Where Angels Fear, I think you should go for one of those salacious covers from 50's men's magazines. Cleavage and torn clothing, maybe a random gorilla in the background. Doesn't have much to do with the story but com'on, gorilla! So you're a pantser eh? I want to be a rigid plotter but find myself pantsing all the time. Sticking to a rigid plot just don't work, not if your characters have life.

    1. Astrology is bunk, bunk! Everyone knows Phrenology is where it's at, I mean, you clearly have the knobby left lobe of a divorce' who lives in a house with cats, knows someone who likes anime, has written two books and is working on a third and finally, you're responsible for the assassination of Robert Kennedy. See, it is foolproof.

  25. Oh, Evan! So, when are we going to see each other again? My booklaunch? I'm hoping to do it at the Clovis Book Barn.

    1. That would be cool, let me know when and I will be there with bells on, literally, small shiny silver bells tied to my laces.

  26. I love the unique background you bring to your books. Such authenticity rings through. It also allows you to do a mystery series not typical of the genre--hard to do! I dabbled with surface-level astrology for my NaNoWriMo novel to create characters who were simpatico and antagonisitic. Love your books, LOVE astrology, and looking forward to the next in the series. Sharon at

  27. Just back from vacation and stopped by to say hello. Learned a bit more about you.

  28. I love Sunny's books and wish the next one was out already. I also love the horoscope aspect. I wish I was able to read horoscopes because I find them fascinating, but unfortunately that is not one of my gifts. Put out that next book Sunny, we're patiently waiting!

    Holli Castillo

  29. The winner of the horoscope drawing was VELDA BROTHERTON! Congratulations, Velda. Let's see what your future holds.


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