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A Snitch in Time By Sunny Frazier: Review/Interview

IN THE February 28 ISSUE

FROM THE 2015 Articles,
andMysteryrat's Maze,
andTerrance V. Mc Arthur
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by Terrance Mc Arthur

We are thrilled to be reviewing the latest book of one of our own, Sunny Frazier. We also have an interesting interview with Sunny. At the end of this post you will find details on how to enter to win a copy of A Snitch in Time and a link to purchase it.

A Snitch in Time By Sunny Frazier
Review by Terrance McArthur

In fiction, snitches don’t last long. They come to bad ends repeatedly in mystery novels. Of course, many people don’t like snitches, even the law enforcement officers who use them, but they are useful. They make great murder victims.

Sunny Frazier’s A Snitch in Time: Christy Bristol Astrology Mysteries Book 3, starts with a narcotics detective shouting a message into a phone at a snitch who missed a meet, but the detective finds that the guy had a good reason for not being there. He’s dead.

Meanwhile, Christy Bristol, an office assistant with the sheriff’s department, is up in the foothills for a vacation with her former co-worker, Lennie, who is now an heiress running a weekly newspaper. book

The snitch’s murder sends them to the crime scene, where Christy’s job skills (and a former lover) get her conscripted, shanghaied, and roped into transcribing reports and taking calls for what turns into a task force, because bodies keep dropping. The murders are happening to ne’er-do-wells, bad guys, and people who wouldn’t be missed by the high and mighty-self-righteous. In fact, an old friend might be on the short list of the to-be-killed.

Christy is also an astrologer, so Lennie talks her into using her knowledge (and a pile of reference books and star charts) to reverse-horoscope the traits of a murderer.

Forced to work for homicide against her will, and not allowed to stay with journalists, Christy is put up in the cabin of a forest ranger who is supposed to be out of the area…or is he? Some of the complications are near-inevitable, including a visit from a jealous DEA-agent boyfriend. Bound up more and more into the web of the case, Christy finds herself fighting for her life in the hill country.

Sunny Frazier has written an interesting hybrid mystery, here. Christy works for the Sheriff’s department, and she’s surrounded by deputies, detectives, and what they do. However, she isn’t a sworn officer, and she goes around the rules like a meddling amateur. It isn’t a police procedural like the 87th Precinct series. It isn’t a cute cozy like Miss Marple. It’s…a cozy procedural and it’s very funny.

Frazier has a deep knowledge of the right side of the law, gained through years of office work and contacts in the field. She knows the San Joaquin Valley and the Sierra Nevada range that borders it, and she has a good grasp on the people of the region. Her eye for the ridiculous is sharp, and her depiction of romantic tension could be used for some cuddlesome reading. The characters are in lines of work known for swearing, yet most of the colorful language is described, rather than depicted.

I’m not an astrology believer (I read my horoscope on my birthday “for entertainment purposes only”) but I thank my lucky stars that I read A Snitch in Time; it was a night and a morning well spent.

Interview with Sunny Frazier:

KRL: How long have you been writing?

Sunny: I’ve been writing since the 5th grade. But I’ve been publishing since I was 15 and in the journalism class in my high school.

KRL: When did your first novel come out? What was it called? A little about it?

Sunny:My first novel was Fools Rush In. It was first published in 2006 through Wolfmont Press. It was reprinted in 2010 by Oak Tree Press. The plot is based on the first narcotics case I worked on with the undercover narcotics team of the Fresno County Sheriff’s Department. It involves a meth manufacturer and his group of dealers. This pre-dated Breaking Bad. My protagonist, Christy Bristol, does a horoscope on the leader and it backfires on her. Much of the story is true, based on reports I wrote up and search warrants. I used the real criminals’ birth dates to cast the horoscopes needed for the story.

KRL: Have you always written mysteries/suspense? If not what else have you written?

Sunny:I have written a children’s book that I’m brushing off after 30 years. It’s the Pirates of the Caribbean meets the Food Channel. The history of food, which I find fascinating. When I first pitched it to an agent, he told me kids didn’t want to read about pirates, they wanted to read about space ships. Tell that to Johnny Depp!

KRL: What brought you to choose the setting and characters in your latest book/series? Tell me a little about the setting and main character for your most recent book.

Sunny: My narc team worked the east side of the county, where you live, Lorie. The foothill towns are quirky. I received lots of calls from a woman who was always accusing her neighbors of being drug dealers. She became a regular, and at some point Kate Anderson and I went up there to visit and take a look around. I told Kate I wanted to set a murder there. We had a huge video camera (this was the early 90’s) and I made Kate pose like a corpse on these very strange cement statues we discovered. Nobody seemed to know their origin. An Indian woman on horseback clomped up to us and just stared at our crazy antics. Turns out she was the mail delivery person. I put that in the book. The hero of all my books is Christy Bristol, who works in law enforcement as an office assistant. She also does astrology. Her sidekick is Lennie Watkins, a very free spirit. The two women repeatedly find themselves in dicey situations.

KRL: Do you write to entertain or is there something more you want the readers to take away?

Sunny: Of course a book should entertain. But, I have several other things I like to throw in the mix. First, I try to demonstrate ways in which astrology can be used. I’m not trying to convert anyone and I don’t dip too heavily into how it’s done. Secondly, I try to add a bit of the literary into the story. In A Snitch in Time I worked in Henry David Thoreau, an author I love, but there’s always an underlying theme to the books. In Fools Rush In I wanted readers to see the drug trade from the drug dealer’s point of view. In Where Angels Fear I wanted to make the participants in the sex club ordinary people caught in a “compromising” position when one of their members goes rogue. In A Snitch in Time I wanted to explore the nature of female friendships.

KRL: Do you have a schedule for your writing or just write whenever you can?

Sunny: I’ve tried to be more disciplined, but as the career goes on, promotion, speaking engagements, blogs– all the things needed to maintain a presence start taking over the writing schedule. It becomes a juggling act. And, since I went into kidney failure, I cut myself some slack and take time to enjoy my own reading.

KRL: Do you outline? If not, do you have some other interesting way that you keep track of what needs to happen in your book?

Sunny: I don’t outline. I come to the table with a plot fairly well thought out before I sit down to write. The plots come together just as I’m finishing the last book. Right now I’ve started the 4th book and I know the plot of the 5th as well.

KRL: If you had your ideal, what time of day would you prefer to write?

Sunny: I’m a morning writer. By 3 o’clock, my body wants to nap. But, since dialysis eats up three of my days a week (all I want to do is sleep afterward), my work week is four days. I have to accept that and work with it.

KRL: Did you find it difficult to get published in the beginning?

Sunny: No. I was publishing short stories and one anthology led to a publishing contract. Of course, I saw the value of independent presses early on. I never held out for the bigger publishing houses or an agent. I’m a realist.

theatre

Sunny Frazier

KRL: Do you have a great rejection/critique or acceptance story you’d like to share?

Sunny: The first mystery I ever wrote won an award and was published in Murderous Intent magazine. I went to a small conference and both Sue Grafton and J.A. Jance asked me to autograph their copies. I’m sure they were just being supportive of a struggling author, but hey! Best moment of my life!

KRL: Most interesting book signing story-in a bookstore or other venue?

Sunny: The stationery store in my hometown carried my books. I went there to pick up my sales and a woman was standing at the counter reading a story out of the anthology Valley Fever: Where Murder Is Contagious. I asked her, “Are you going to buy that book?” She clasped it to her chest and said “Yes. And this is the last copy!” That’s when I told her I was one of the authors and wanted to know if she’d like it signed. The look on her face was priceless.

KRL: Future writing goals?

Sunny:I’m being encouraged to put out booklets on how to write prize-winning short stories and another on all my tricks to promotion. I also want to try and write two books in the Christy series at the same time. I may be over-reaching.

KRL: Writing heroes?

Sunny: Chuck Palahnuik. Not everyone’s cup of tea (he wrote Fight Club. My fav is Choke) but I am in awe of the risks he takes in writing. I wish I could be that brave. Daniel Silva blows me away with every book. Right now I’m an Edward Rutherfurd fan, he writes historical fiction. But, I have my staples: Jance, Grafton, Michael Connelly, and Robert Crais.

KRL: What kind of research do you do?

Sunny: I’ve been familiar with the background of my stories since I pretty much lived them. However, I’m taking my protag to Mexico and I will have to do some research. I write until I hit a snag and then stop to do the research. I’m not one of these writers who like to research more than write.

KRL: What do you read?

Sunny: I used to be all about mysteries, but as I’ve gotten older I want to understand history. AARP says that’s not unusual. I feel I want to put my life in perspective. I love anything from Alexander the Great to the Elizabeth I. I’ve become a collector of books and pretty much a fanatic.

KRL: Favorite TV or movies?

Sunny: I love both Sherlock and Elementary. I’m hooked on the ID channel; it’s what I watch in dialysis. Modern Family, Big Bang Theory. I’m a die-hard Jon Stewart fan and will go through withdrawal when he goes off the air.

KRL: Any advice for aspiring or beginning writers?

Sunny: Learn as much about the industry as you can while you write. Listen to the advice of seasoned writers. Be wary of critique groups. Try to find a mentor. Embrace social media and marketing. You can’t believe how hard it was before the internet.

KRL: How do you feel about the growing popularity of e-books?

Sunny: I have trouble reading on a device, but I can see the practicality of them. I bought a Surface tablet and downloaded the Kindle app so I could have books to read when the transplant happens.

KRL: Do you read e-books yourself?

Sunny:I find it less satisfying than holding a book.

KRL: Anything you would like to add?

Sunny: I know there are authors out there who are unhappy with the way their careers panned out. Don’t be. It’s important to embrace the realities of the writing life, not be sucked in by the delusions. Not everyone will give your book a good review. You will probably not get on the bestseller list. The money isn’t going to put you on Easy Street. Maybe it will happen. Probably won’t. Love what does happen and concentrate on making the next book even better. Hold out for respect from your peers.

KRL: What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

Sunny: People often forget I was in the Navy during the Vietnam era. We were pretty groundbreaking. Oh, and I caused riots in three countries: Haiti, Germany and Colombia. It was not my fault! I stand by that statement.

KRL: Website? Twitter? Facebook?

Sunny: Haven’t gotten into Twitter yet. My website is sunnyfrazier.com. Yes, I’m on FB. I love having friends. I post fun stuff.

KRL: How do you compete in an overcrowded market?

Sunny: It’s all about who markets best. I love marketing. It’s a challenge to lure readers to my books. It’s really the fun part of the whole job. I don’t know why nobody gets it…

To enter to win a copy of A Snitch in Time simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Snitch,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen March 7, 2015. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & short stories in our mystery section.

Use this link to purchase a copy of the book:

Terrance V. Mc Arthur is a Community Librarian for the WoW! (WithOut Walls) Division of the Fresno County Public Library, roaming the Valley to meet the public’s information needs.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Michele Drier
Twitter: @MicheleDrier
February 28, 2015 at 9:08am

Wonderful review and great interview Sunny! I lived in Fresno and the foothills (Oakhurst, Bass Lake) and still have relatives in the area.
And a small plug, Sunny will be the guest speaker for the next meeting of Capitol Crimes, the Sacramento-area chapter of Sisters in Crime. She’ll be speaking at the Rancho Cordova Library from 1 to 3 on Saturday, March 21. All welcome!

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2 Linda Thorne
Twitter: @lindamthorne
February 28, 2015 at 11:52am

I’ll pass on being on the list to win A Snitch in Time since I already have the book, read it, gave it 5 stars.

Sunny is so right when she says to be realistic about the life of writing and not get taken in by the delusions. The statistics are out there. If making a lot of $$ is essential, this may not be the best field for some people. They will likely join that group of authors who think their careers did not pan out. For me, I don’t understand how once you get into it, you can stop. I can’t. Also, although the odds are slim, there’s still that possibility of bestseller, book-to-movie. I’ve seen it. Since I moved to Tennessee in 2008, two people I knew in our small Sisters in Crime group became bestsellers. Someone I know in another writing group published his first book in 2011 and got movie rights in 2014.

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3 Sandy Todd February 28, 2015 at 1:43pm

Sunny Frazier’s A Snitch in Time: Christy Bristol Astrology Mysteries Book 3? Well where have I been? Under a rock I guess! I’ve got some catching up to do! Thank you for the introduction and interview Terrance. Would love to win a copy of this book.
Sandy in So. California

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4 Jeanetta S. February 28, 2015 at 3:18pm

A Snitch in Time By Sunny Frazier sounds interesting. Thank you for the interview and review. Please enter me in the contest. Thank you.
myrifraf(at)gmail(dot)com

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5 sunnyfrazier February 28, 2015 at 6:46pm

Oh Michele, we will have SO much to talk about! Can’t wait to see you and all my Sacramento friends.

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6 Eileen Obser February 28, 2015 at 8:45pm

I really enjoyed reading this review and interview, Sunny. And yes, I found out a few new things about you — like how you think your plots out before you start to write, and that you’re on book 4, with book 5 in the planning. Great stuff! As for your promotion skills, I’m one among many other of your friends and colleagues who know about that.
A recent post from Eileen Obser: Interview with a MemoiristMy Profile

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7 Laurie Iglesias
Twitter: @lauigl
March 1, 2015 at 4:49am

Really great advice for an aspiring writer. Thank you!
A recent post from Laurie Iglesias: Review: The Divorce Papers: A NovelMy Profile

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8 Valerie Hoynacki March 1, 2015 at 8:18am

Story sounds twisted and complex but …. I’d like to try it.

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9 Marja McGraw March 1, 2015 at 9:48am

Excellent review and interview. I’m glad I stopped in, and I also learned a few new facts about you, Sunny. I’m reading A Snitch in Time right now and thoroughly enjoying it. Unfortunately, I don’t have much reading time, but I’m getting to it every chance I have. Thank you for being such a great example for all of us.

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10 augie March 1, 2015 at 8:00pm

Great interview. I love Christy 3rd. Looking forward to the 4th and 5th

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11 Amy M. Reade
Twitter: @readeandwrite
March 2, 2015 at 9:09am

Sunny, another great interview. I learn something new about you with each interview I read and it’s all interesting!

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12 Joyce Ann Brown
Twitter: @joyceannbrown1
March 2, 2015 at 9:17am

Sunny has led the most interesting life. No wonder her books and posts are terrific. I’d like to win a copy of A Snitch in Time. (I thought the title would have something to do with “to tread.”)

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13 Maureen C March 5, 2015 at 9:53am

This review and interview has tickled my interest. Would love to win this book. Thanks!

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14 Lorie
Twitter: @mysteryrat
March 24, 2015 at 8:57am

We have a winner
Lorie Ham, KRL Publisher

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15 Linda Thorne
Twitter: @lindamthorne
March 24, 2015 at 6:13pm

This was a great book. Fun and entertaining. Cant’ wait for the next one.

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