Sunday, June 28, 2009

Author Interview with SUNNY FRAZIER

Sunny Frazier has worked as a telephone operator, a Navy WAVE, a photo journalist, undercover on the narcotics team with the Fresno, CA Sheriff's Department, and a writer. She is the author of the Christy Bristol Astrology Mysteries as well as a number of stories appearing in several mystery anthologies.
She lives in the San Joaquin Valley of California.
Who is the one person who most encouraged or influenced you to be a writer—and why?

I had an 8th grade teacher in 1965 who confiscated some of the updated fairy tales I'd written to amuse my classmates. He kept me after class. “Do you know how good a writer you are?” he asked. No, I didn't. I was just glad I wasn't in trouble. He worked with me and convinced me I had unusual talent. I kept it a secret for a long time.

How long have you been writing? In what genres do you write?

Other than the above incident, I did little writing until I got on the high school newspaper. I loved doing feature articles. I became the editor, but didn't go to college. Instead, I went into the Navy and volunteered on every base newspaper and magazine. When I got out, I went to college and earned a degree in Journalism. I worked on a small newspaper, but there was a lot of discrimination in the late 1970's. I wrote a children's novel while I was unemployed, then turned to writing mysteries because I was working at the sheriff's department with an undercover narcotics team. Seemed like an obvious choice.

Tell us about the astrology aspect of your books: how you research, what your readers think, etc.

I started doing astrology in the early '70's. I'm self-taught and I kept the practice hidden for a long time. I came out of the astrological closet with my first novel, FOOLS RUSH IN. I wasn't sure anyone would take me seriously. I've actually tried to be as honest as possible when I describe some of the things my protagonist, Christy Bristol, experiences when she charts horoscopes.

The first book is based on a real meth case my team worked. I had all the birthdates of the criminals, so I charted them and basically followed the planets and monitored the case to write the book. Sounds like cheating, doesn't it?

The reaction from readers has been very positive. Even reviewers often say, “I don't believe in astrology, but Sunny Frazier makes me want to believe.” I try to get the idea across that astrology is a useful tool in life. The stars don't give you all the answers, but they can be used as a guide.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a writer?

Health issues, mostly. I've had my ups and downs, was accidentally poisoned, nearly died, and lost a kidney. That set me back, but even while I was fighting for my life, I kept thinking, “Now I can write a believable poisoning scene!” Everything is fodder.

WHERE ANGELS FEAR is your new book. Briefly tell us what it’s about and let us know where we can buy it.

WHERE ANGELS FEAR is the second in the Christy Bristol Astrology Mysteries. This time Christy, an office worker at the sheriff's department, is asked to do a horoscope on a rich man. The horoscope shows he's having an affair with a dangerous woman. The man is now missing and the wife wants Christy and her sidekick, Lennie, to find him. Their investigation tailgates with a triple-murder being investigated by the department's homicide detectives. When all the clues lead to a sex club, Christy and Lennie have to go undercover (or uncovered?) to find the truth.

The book is available on Amazon and at Oak Tree Books:

What are you working on now and when/where do you expect it to be available?

I'm working on the 3rd Christy Bristol novel, A SNITCH IN TIME. I've also dusted off the children's book. It's the Food Channel meets Pirates of the Caribbean. Fun stuff.

Writers, especially new writers, are always looking for tips and helpful information. What is the single most important “tip” you can give to a new writer?

I'd say study journalism, but that would fall on deaf ears. Newspaper work is good training for any writer. There's no such thing as “writers block” because you have to hit the floor running and get the news story out in one draft. So, I'm going to pass on what I've been telling the writers I'm working with: Rejection is overrated. Fear of rejection is the dumbest reason not to send work out.

What writers organizations claim you as a member?

I'm with Public Safety Writers (formerly known as Police Writers) and Sisters in Crime, Central Coast Chapter (CA). I'm also in two critique groups.

Do you have any upcoming book signings or appearances? If so, give us all the details.
By the time this gets posted, I'll have just had a terrific book launch for ANGELS at the Carnegie Museum, Hanford, CA. And, I'll be back from presenting a workshop and speaking on a panel at the PSWA convention. On Oct. 4, I'll be manning a table at the San Luis Obispo Book Fest, and speaking to the Sacramento Sisters in Crime on October 17. I'm also scheduled to be on a writers panel while cruising the Caribbean on the Carnival Valor, November 5-11.

Here’s your opportunity to tell us anything else you care to share.

I want to tell people, published and pre-published, to get on board with a strong marketing campaign. Nobody in the business can afford to kick back and expect publicity to be done for them. This is my pet peeve right now: writers who say they'll get to the marketing AFTER a book is out. All the prep work comes before you publish. Get your name out there, either with blogs, interviews, or contributing to the writing community in some way. The Internet is exploding with opportunities, such as this site. It's a juggling game, but marketing and writing have to be done simultaneously.

What are the addresses of your website(s) and blog(s):


  1. This is a wonderful interview, Linda - I enjoyed reading it. I had the pleasure of meeting Sunny at the PSWA conference in Las Vegas recently. She shared so many good tips with the attendees, and she does so in this interview, too.
    Best wishes to Sunny on her latest novel and good luck while working on A SNITCH IN TIME and the children's book, too.
    Kathy Ryan

  2. This was an interesting, dimensional interview. I've know Sunny on-line for quite a while now and was amused at her comments on astrology. After having a partner in my interior design business for five years,who was also an astrologist, I reluctantly came to acknowledge she was right more times than wrong.

    Sunny has written articles for our ON THE PROWL newsletter for Sisters in Crime-Southern Nevada, and she's always right on the mark.

    VP Sisters in Crime-Southern Nevada

  3. It's unusual to see a really interesting writer AND a good interview. Bravo! I'll be back here if you can keep finding authors of the caliber of Sunny Frazier! (Now how do I get on that cruise??)

  4. I loved the interview but especially the part about doing the groundwork in the present for the future of your career and novel. I think having all the connections before your book is published is critical. There is such a small window of opportunity for new writers, you really want to be ready when it opens.

  5. As always, Sunny is "right on" in everything she advises. Her high energy is evident in what she writes. I am delighted that she is pushing writers to market because that is where so many of us fall down. Her drive and ideas have brought amazing vitality to her fellow Oak Tree authors. Thank you, Sunny, for all that you do in the writing community. Great interview!

    Mary Montague Sikes, Author
    Secrets by the Sea
    Eagle Rising
    Hearts Across Forever
    Published!Now $ell It!

  6. Sunny is a guiding light for me, and for so many authors through the often dimly lit paths of marketing! Most importantly, she's a wonderful writer. Your interview brought out so many of the interesting aspects of Sunny and her career. Like Kathleen Ryan, spending some moments with Sunny at the PSWA conference was marvelous. Great site, great interview--and much success to Sunny!

  7. Thanks for all the kind comments about the interview and the blog.

    I'm thinking I need to invite Sunny back...

  8. I finally met Sunny in Hawaii at Left Coast Crime. In addition to being a super writer, she's an indefatigable promoter, not only of her books but those of others. Sunny's the best example of the humanitarian instinct that makes up the mystery community.

  9. Great interview! I loved the questions- very intriguing.

    I totally agree with marketing oneself before being published. Even Hollywood starts marketing early. Think what you spend the first 10mins of a movie watching! Previews, of course! LOL

    Getting your name and "voice" out into the mix is the best preview for your project! Excellent advice!

  10. I agree with Sunny. Working in Journalism is a great warm up for writing. Those deadlines keep you focused and teach you how to deal with critism from cranky editors and not to take it personally. It really helped me and my debut novel, A Case of Infatuation, was just published by the same publisher as Sunny, Oak Tree Press. Great job, Sunny!
    W.S. Gager
    A Case of Infatuation

  11. Great interview. I met Sunny at Left Coast Crime in Hawaii. She was a big hit on all of her panels, offering excellent marketing tips for the authors at the conference. And I loved WHERE ANGELS FEAR.

    Cynthia Sample
    VP,Sacramento Sisters in Crime

  12. Faith Griffin7/05/2009 11:17 AM

    I loved this interview. I know Sunny and found this was very informative. I have her books which are wonderful. I am looking forward to her future writings...

  13. Linda Thorne7/05/2009 3:41 PM

    I enjoyed the interview. I first met Sunny at a book signing in Hanford, California where I lived at the time. She was with some of the co-authors of her book, VALLEY FEVER, and with some other local authors. I told Sunny I'd written an unpublished book and she took an interest in me introducing me to a Hanford critique group and also to the San Joaquin Valley Sisters in Crime organization in Fresno. I've read all of Sunny's books and I can't wait to read A SNITCH IN TIME.

  14. Sunny's unique voice is reflected both in her interview and her writing.

  15. Loved the interview. Even though I haven't known you that long, I knew just about everything in it except for the part where you were poisoned. That has to be a big story. As usual, you are lovely and entertaining.

  16. Thanks for another wonderfully informative study of Sunny Frazier, whose interviews are as intriguing as her books.

    I have met her and seen her online on a number of sites and follow her activities—someone else said it, she's like a "guiding light."