by Marilyn Meredith
Marilyn Meredith interviews Lemoore mystery author Sunny Frazier and reviews her second book, Where Angels Fear. At the end of this article are details on how to enter for a chance to win a copy of both of her books!
Marilyn: I know a lot about you, Sunny, but the readers don’t, and I bet you can come up with some answers that would surprise even me. First, will you tell me about your background?
Sunny: I was born into a Navy family and the most interesting experience of my childhood was living on Midway Island at the age of seven. I’ve experienced two life-defining moments and they resembled each other in topography: Midway and Puerto Rico, where I was stationed during my own Navy career. Something about being on a tropical island speaks to me.
Other than that, childhood was pretty chaotic until we settled at N.A.S. Lemoore when I was 10. Too many schools, no time to make friendships–I’m sure it has affected me as an adult. I used books as a coping mechanism.
Marilyn: This is a two-parter: When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer? And second, when did you fall in love with mysteries?
Sunny: I realized I had potential to be a writer as a 7th grader. I penned a series of updated fairy tales set in the ’60’s for the amusement of my friends. They were confiscated by a teacher who kept me after class and said, “Do you realize how incredibly talented you are?” Up to that point, I thought everyone could write. I didn’t think I was doing anything special.
Of course I read Nancy Drew. You were nobody unless you owned the books and could discuss them with other 6th graders. But, I seriously fell in love with mysteries when I discovered The Cat Who books by Lilian Jackson Braun. I bought them for the titles (I like cats).
Marilyn: What gave you the ideas for the books in your series?
Sunny: I combined two things that were important in my life at the time: working for an undercover narc team and astrology. I’d been doing horoscopes since I was 19, got the position in the detective unit at the age of 40. All I really did was write about the cases we worked on and made my protagonist a closet astrologer. It really was a no-brainer.
Marilyn: Besides writing, I know you have another job that keeps you very busy, how about sharing with our readers about that job?
Sunny: I’ve taken the position of acquisitions editor for Oak Tree Press. I never saw myself as a business person, but it turns out that this aspect of publishing is something I love. There are so many good manuscripts floating around out there that need to be published and I have a publisher, Billie Johnson, who trusts my instincts as to what will sell. She has even allowed me to propose two new lines: Wild Oaks Westerns and Mystic Oaks Paranormal. My schedule is often grueling as the goal is to publish a certain number of titles a month, but making new careers for writers is rewarding for both Billie and me. It’s a labor of love.
Marilyn: Promoting is such an important part of writing and you’ve done some mighty interesting things along the line of promoting, how about telling about what you do both online and in person.
Sunny: I have done two things I think were unique in promotion. First, I created The Murder Circle, which is a quirky gossip column of the mystery community. I use no real logic in choosing which books to mention, just whatever strikes my fancy at the moment.
I don’t read the books, just look at the synopsis or feature some odd fact about an author’s life. The range is from bestselling authors to self-published. I don’t use it to promote my own books. The Murder Circle not a blog and is now listed as a professional site. I have a readership of over 2,000.
The other idea I concocted is The Posse. Eighteen months ago I started putting e-mail address together of people who wanted to learn marketing and promotion. When I do marketing, which is usually on Sundays, I send the group e-mails nudging them to sites that will expand their knowledge of the publishing world. I help them build name recognition and become familiar with the names of individuals important to the writing community. The idea took hold at Killer Nashville and now the Posse is a buzz word on the Internet. We are three dozen strong and when we flock to a site en masse, we dominate. I try to personally thank each posse member who contributes a comment and nag those who don’t.
Marilyn: You’ve got a big event coming at the end of October, something I’m looking forward to also. How about letting the readers know about it and how they can participate, too?
Sunny: A small group of us have planned a writing conference at sea. While we happen to be mystery and true crime authors, the conference part of the cruise is for everyone and is free. We sail on October 30 from Los Angeles for seven days down the Mexican Riviera: Cabo San Lucas, Mazetlan and Puerto Vallarta. The conference is held for three days that we’re at sea and then the rest is free time.
We have a Beverly Hills agent aboard as well as Billie Johnson and me taking pitch sessions. There are workshops and panels and a whole track dealing with the Las Vegas mobs. Prices start at around $500 a berth and there are many freebies, including $50 onboard spending, open bar reception, champagne, conference T-shirts and bookbags (with lots of books!) and quite possibly a Halloween party with free drinks. For more info contact Beverly@cruisingsmart.com and check out the cruise website.
Marilyn: And one final question…what do you do for fun? Or maybe a better question would be when you’re not busy with the writing world what do you like to do?
Sunny: My professional life is my fun. Historical non-fiction is my guilty pleasure and I take time to nuzzle the kitties. I love TV and Netflix. I travel to many conferences, always good times, but I love coming home and staying in my robe all day working at my computer. Those are the best of times.
Marilyn: If there’s anything else you’d like the readers to know do tell us.
Sunny: I caused riots in Haiti, Germany and can never re-enter Colombia again, but those are stories for another time. Stay tuned.
Learn more about Sunny on her website.
Where Angels Fear, Book Review
Review by Marilyn Meredith
Author Sunny Frazier is a friend of mine and I have to confess that I just recently got around to reading her latest book, Where Angels Fear. Why it took so long I can’t tell you. Christy Bristol is the main character and sleuth in this tale and at times I had a hard time separating her from her creator. There is a lot of Sunny in Christy. Both work with astrology, both are single, both love cats. There is plenty more—but I’ll let you figure it out. As always Sunny does a terrific job portraying the San Joaquin Valley background from the lethal fog to the hazards of the crazy farm roads and their drivers. Where Angels Fear centers around a sex club and, of course, some nasty murders. Christy steps way out of her comfort zone to investigate. The dialogue is crisp, the story fun, and for anyone who enjoys a murder mystery with a dollop of humor, this one is for you. To put it in simple terms, I loved it. You did a great job with Where Angels Fear, Sunny, don’t you think it’s time for another one? (Where Angels Fear is available as a trade paperback and as a Kindle e-book from Amazon.)
To enter for a chance to win copies of both of Sunny’s books, simply email KRL at email@example.com with the subject line “Sunny”, or comment on this article. U.S. entries only please. A winner will be chosen next Saturday, April 9, 2011.