1.) Hi, Sunny. Why don’t you introduce yourself and tell us a little about you.
I’m Sunny Frazier, Navy Veteran, former newspaper reporter with a degree in Journalism. In the early 80’s, when the paper folded, I went to work for the local Sheriff’s Department in the Central Valley of California. I was a secretary to a 10-man undercover narc team for 11 years. With that kind of background and stories, I decided I must be a mystery writer.
2.) Where do you live? Do you like it?
I live in the San Joaquin Valley, also known as the Central Valley, in California. The “big city” is Fresno—think raisins. As a military brat, I’ve lived many places in my life, but this is home. It’s very agricultural, hot as hell in the summer, shrouded in fog in the winter. Few people bother writing about this area since Steinbeck covered it in “Grapes of Wrath,” but there’s still plenty of material to go around.
3.) What’s currently on your iPod/mp3 player/cd player?
Um, nothing really. I like silence because I’m either reading or writing. However, in the car I’m getting fond of Lady Ga Ga (My Poker Face), and I find Kelly Perry amusing. PS: I went to high school with Steve Perry, so the old Journey is still a favorite.
4.) Describe a typical (or non-typical) writing day?
I get up early, feed the cats (5), clean litterboxes, grab some oatmeal and then settle in to check email. My business is all done through the Internet, so this is not social email. The next step makes people laugh, but I set a timer for 45 minutes and write until “ding!” For 15 minutes I get to clean the house (not much gets done!), watch TiVo, take a power nap, play with the cats, chat on the phone. This goes on all day. I get a lot accomplished without neglecting any part of my life. It may be a crazy system, but it works.
5.) Do you go by goals? Weekly? Daily? Monthly?
Not really. I’m working on two novels with two different critique groups, so I basically want to have material in hand for our weekly meetings. I divide up the week and work on one book until the Wednesday group meets, change gears and work on the 2nd from Wednesday-Friday for the Friday Night Writers.
6.) What’s your favorite setting from one of your novels? Why?
I set all of my writing in the San Joaquin Valley. Again, few others are writing about this area and we’re largely ignored because we’re caught between San Fransisco and Los Angeles. I believe many of my plots could ONLY exist in this area because of the rural isolation and the incredible cultural mix of people. My town is primarily Portuguese and dairy. Each small town has a founding ethnic group and a crop identified with the region. So much material to work with—why would I write about anywhere else?
7.) What do you think makes the idea heroine/hero?
Well, I go against type. See, I don’t know any incredibly beautiful people with high-powered jobs. The people I know, and who I base my characters on, are people who struggle to get by. Christy Bristol, my astrologer, has a low-paying job as an office assistant with the sheriff’s department. She does astrology to supplement her income. She’s also very plain, although with each book and with the love of a good man, she is coming out of her shell and turning into a swan. Rodrigo, the love interest, is a hot, Hispanic DEA agent. But, he also plays against type. He is gentle with Christy, understanding, and trusts her completely, even when she puts herself in danger. Because his job also demands trust, their whole relationship is based on that factor. I think the ideal heroine/hero is honest, non-judgmental, brave, intelligent, curious and adventurous.
8.) What are you working on at the moment?
I’m working on the third astrology mystery, A SNITCH IN TIME. I’ve also dusted off a children’s book I wrote 30 years ago. It’s Pirates of the Caribbean meets the Food Channel: the history of food starting with the voyage to India for spices. At the time I wrote it, I was told by publishers that children wanted to read about space, not pirates. What do you say to that, Johnny Depp?
9.) Are you a panster? A planner? A planster? Which method works best for you? Why?
A planster. All of my books are based on real cases I had a hand in while at the sheriff’s department. There’s really little to plan. So, I just sit down and write. I used the real birthdates of the drug dealers for the astrology charts in the first novel FOOLS RUSH IN. For WHERE ANGELS FEAR, I made up the birthdates. However, a very strange square occurred in each victim’s chart, something I didn’t see coming but worked it into the plot. Often, the astrology changes the path I’m going with the story. I leave some of the plot up to fate.
10.) Any new releases coming up/already released?
WHERE ANGELS FEAR came out last month. I’m having a book launch in three weeks, one day before my birthday. Astrologically, it’s a good date.
Excerpt from WHERE ANGELS FEAR:
The smell of leather hit them as soon as they opened the door. It smelled like car upholstery and couches. Plastic mannequins in neon colors sported leather skirts and pants as tight as a matador’s.
“Welcome to my shop, ladies.”
Serrano was just as Christy remembered him at the Mexican restaurant. His eyes raked over her and made Christy feel like she’d been measured for one of the outfits hanging on the wall. The one with the V-neck cut to the navel.
“What can I do for you today?” Serrano said in velvet tones.
“We’re interested in what you can do for us tonight,” Lennie pulled out the matchbook and waved it flirtatiously.
Serrano smiled, a gold cuspid reflecting the light. “Ah, you’ve figured out what the matchbook means.”
“My girlfriend talked to Vince. He said you’d give us directions to the party. I thought maybe you could help us pick out some appropriate clothes.”
Serrano’s eyes narrowed to slits and his lips formed a tight smile. “Would you be going as the ‘S’ or the ‘M’?”
Without missing a beat, Lennie replied, “Guess I’m the ‘S’.”
Christy waited until Serrano disappeared into the back before she turned on Lennie. “I’m not going to be the ‘M’.”
“So don’t.” Lennie turned her attention to a rack of leather vests.
“You’re making me nervous. I never agreed to infiltrate the Sensani.” She fingered a leather jacket, surprised at how soft it felt.
“Let’s just play this out and see where it leads. Will you do that much?”
Before Christy could answer, Serrano came from the back and held a red leather jumpsuit out to Lennie. An array of chrome zippers slashed through the outfit at very strategic spots.
“For you.” He handed Christy two small pieces of black leather and showed them to adjoining dressing rooms.
Christy heard Lennie shedding her clothes in record time and grunt as she climbed into the jumpsuit. Christy turned her attention to the garment in her hands. It felt sinfully good. What would it feel like against her body? As she removed her sweater, Christy scanned the dressing room for a hidden camera.
The bustier laced up the front and was trimmed with black lace sleeves. The matching skirt, brief as an afterthought, was held together at the hips by satin laces. Underwear was going to be a problem.
“How you doin’ in there?” Lennie called out.
Everything Christy had on top was pushed into an impressive cleavage. The laces strained to contain what had previously been a fairly flat chest.
“I’m doing fine,” Christy called back, amazed at the reflection in the mirror.
“Just a few more zippers and I’ll model this jumpsuit for you,” Lennie promised.
The skirt was really too risqué, Christy decided, but it wouldn’t hurt to try it on. She dropped her pants and stepped into the leather skirt. It molded to her hips and flattened her tummy. Skin showed between the satin laces on the side, and her white cotton panties stood out like a flag of surrender. Definitely not the signal she wanted to send.
Lennie knocked on the door. “Show time!”
Christy poked her head out of the dressing room door. Lennie looked like something out of a super-hero comic book. Or an adolescent boy’s imagination.
“You look fantastic!” Christy managed.
“I know.” Lennie stroked the sides of the jumpsuit. “Leather makes me feel wild.”
“Flannel makes you feel wild.” But Christy felt it too. The bustier and skirt fit like a second skin, so tight and making her feel so loose.