January 31, 2016

Sunny Frazier Is Smack Dab In The Middle Of California



Growing up, I always had a hard time answering the question “Where are you from?” When you are part of a military family, everywhere is home and nowhere is home. Do you count the place where you were born or where your dad is currently stationed? I felt like a nomad, constantly taking down the tent and moving on.

When the Navy saw fit to send us to Lemoore, California, it was a shock. There was no ocean anywhere nearby, no ships to sail. There was nothing but farmland and small towns plus a naval air base where jet pilots trained.

I was not a small town girl. I joined the Navy after high school and had my own adventures. But, after four years and having seen a good part of the world, I came home. I yearned to be back in the Central Valley.

Also known as the San Joaquin Valley, I'm in the huge space on the map of California that stretches from Stockton to Bakersfield. We are surrounded by mountains, equal distance from San Francisco and Los
Angeles, the Sierra Nevadas and the Pacific Ocean. It's the area you bypass to get to other places in the state.

In my books, I call the landscape “cranky.” It is not typically beautiful, mostly industrial farms, miles of crops. We feed the nation. Water is scarce and critical.

There is a diversity of cultures here. Each small town was founded by different nationalities: my town is Portuguese, Fresno has Armenians, Reedley is German, Kingsburg is Swedish. Fresno also has one of the largest Hmong populations in the nation. This is where the Dust Bowl people came, as chronicled in Grapes of Wrath. We are often compared to the Midwest in our values.

I worked on a local newspaper before joining the sheriff's department and working with an undercover narcotics team. We have lots of crime and drugs in this area. At one time we were the meth capitol of the world and vied with Detroit for murders. We also grow more raisins than anywhere else.

I'm not making much of a case for my love of this area, right? But, if you're a mystery writer, all of this is fodder for stories. I write about the scorching heat of summer, the lethal fog of winter, the change of seasons captured by the growth, death and resurrection of the vineyards. 

My novels and short stories are all set in this area. Many of them come straight from cases I worked in law enforcement. In the Christy Bristol Astrology Mysteries, FOOLS RUSH IN is based on the first meth case I worked; WHERE ANGELS FEAR is about a sex club the deputies thought was a fruit and vegetable stand. A SNITCH IN TIME is set in a foothill community. Humor is a major element of my mysteries.

I'm one of a handful of mystery authors in this region and the locals are very supportive of hometown talent. After being the butt of too many jokes, Valley people love reading something positive about themselves and their struggles. It's time the rest of the nation got to know us better. And hey—we've got Yosemite!


Sunny Frazier trained as a journalist and wrote for a city newspaper, military and law enforcement publications. After working 17 years with the Fresno Sheriff's Department, 11 spent as a confidential secretary with an undercover narcotics team, it dawned on her that mystery writing was her real calling. Both “Fools Rush In” and “Where Angels Fear” are based on real cases as well as astrology, a habit Frazier has developed over the past 42 years. To learn more, go to http://www.sunnyfrazier.com 



"A Snitch In Time." is up for grabs.  Enter by commenting for a chance to win. leave your contact info.
Sheriff's department office assistant Christy Bristol is visiting her friend Lennie in the Sierra Nevada foothills when a murder is committed. Christy is conscripted by the homicide team to handle the reports and the detectives put her up in a vacant forest ranger's cabin. As the body count grows it becomes apparent the killer is targeting undesirables in the town of Burlap. A phone call from a snitch accusing a deputy of the murders put Christy in a quandary. Could a killer be hiding behind his badge? Christy decides to solve the case with her knowledge of astrology to profile the killer, putting her own future at risk.
And time is running out.

 Books are available on Amazon, B&N and Black Opal Books.   
(Info provided by author with permissions)

31 comments:

Dac said...

Always good to hear your thoughts, Sunny

My Bad Tequila said...

Sunny, you have a great name to go with your great state. I travel California about twice every five weeks, from San Diego all the way to Sacramento and the Tahoe area and I love each and every visit. I've been fortunate to spend quite a bit of time in the area you write of, between Bakersfield and Stockton along Highway 99, many small farming towns and communities along the way. It is great that this area has a writer to tell of its tales to the residents, to those that have passed by in travels and especially for those who have never the opportunity to explore that part of California. I once saw a sign on 99 that read, "We're the other California," as most persons think of California being all on the beach, with waves, surfer girls and Beach Boys. Great Writeup on Your State, Amiga!

Ken Weene said...

It always seems to me that California is made up of many states. The climates—environmental and political—varying greatly from region to region. If I were to set a novel in CA, I would probably go for something in the region of the Salton Sea and it would unquestionably include zombies or mutants. I do try to get to California frequently for the fish, music, dance, art, and theater. It's a great place to visit.

Pamela S Thibodeaux said...

wow sounds like a lovely place to live. Hope to visit CA in the near future.

Good luck and God's blessings.
PamT

Mary Deal said...

Oh my goodness! Sunny I knew you wrote mysteries from your work experience, but I did not know where you live. Our towns are neighbors. I grew up in Walnut Grove, attended Courtland and Rio Vista high schools, and my dad's last home was in Lathrop, CA., which was incorporated into the town of Stockton. As teens, we sometimes went roller skating in Galt. You speak of the Grapes of Wrath and so do I, as my mother's singer/musician family of 12 followed the crops across the country during the great Depression in an old school bus. Mom and dad met in Hollister when mom and her family sang and played music on live radio in Modesto and dad was trucking crops through the Central Valley. My own mystery series starts out in the Delta in the first book. The sequels partially in the Delta and other areas but always returning to the Delta. I'm amazed and so happy to learn of your history. Am so happy to know your history and about "your" Delta/Central Valley. Great information here.

Stephen L. Brayton said...

One day, I'd like to visit California. From L.A. to mid-states desert to the northern woodland to seeing the Pacific.

MaryAnn Forbes said...

Great post; it's always nice to become better acquainted, and thank you for the opportunity to win A Stitch in Time.

K'Tee Hutch said...

Congrats! That's a big honor to be chosen to represent CA. I'd love a chance to read ASnitch in Time. Thanks, Sunny. Mammyk at gmail dot com

Gram said...

Sounds good to me! Count me in.

pennyt said...

I live just over the border in Southern OR, so I'm familiar with where your mysteries are set - love the diversity of the western states and reading mysteries set there.

Kathleen Costa said...

Born in Idaho, yet growing up in Stockton, attending college in Sacramento, teaching from Los Angeles to Stockton to Lodi have made me a 'California Girl.' I am at home in the Central Valley enjoying its diversity through its restaurants, festivals, and community events. I greatly enjoy and brag about the fresh asparagus, delicious wines, and fun winery events. I have been writing my own "cozy," and the location is a small foothill town on the edge of the Central Valley. Fun! I am intrigued by Sunny's books...am I lucky?

Daco Auffenorde said...

I really enjoyed learning about your life, Sunny!! Okay, some day I will make a point to visit your neck of the woods. Your stories sound fun!

Pat's page said...

Good article Sunny! You described the Valley so well.

Linda Herold said...

I have lived my whole life in Northern CA! I have been all the way down to San Diego. When we visited the East, it was amazing how many states you could drive to in one day!
I love cozy mysteries and I'd love to win!
lindaherold999@gmail.com

Elaine Roberson said...

A great title to add to my reading challenge for this year. Thanks for a chance to win a copy.

Linda Swift said...

Sunny, it was very interesting to learn about this part of your state. I have lived in San Diego, Coronado Island, and LA and have driven through Bakersfield but knew little about "the other California" you wrote about. I'm sure your books are a credit to the place you live and you are providing a lot of information about the area to your readers.

Barbara T. said...

I am familiar with your area, but I live in Southern California. Bobbipad@gmail.com

Patricia Gligor said...

Sunny,
Loved your post! You always "tell it like it is," something I admire and respect, and once again, you've done exactly that. Your "home town" may not be glamorous but it certainly has been an inspiration for your wonderful mystery series.
I won't leave my contact info because I already have all of your books, which I've read and thoroughly enjoyed. I'm waiting for #4. :)

Not really said...

congrats Sunny! As a rep, I suspect you will need a few things. And perhaps help from Christy to find out what happened Is the snitch a loony seeking to stir the pot? Is he the killer? Or is he really trying to help? I look forward to finding out. And I appreciate this chance to do it sooner, rather than later.
Della at deepotter@peoplepc.com

Kathleen Kaska said...

The Sierra Nevadas seems a perfect setting for your mystery. I've driven through many times and it always sets my mind wandering.

Judy Weaver said...

Very nice article. It was great to learn more about you. Thanks for the chance to win one of your books!

Doward wilson said...

Sounds like a great series. I have added it to my TBR list. doward1952@yahoo.com

Linda Thorne said...

My goodness! There were so many comments here. I'm not commenting to win the book. I already have it and read it. It's wonderful.

Linda Thorne said...

Goodness, there are tons of comments here. I'm not joining in to win the book because I already have it and read it last year. Great read!!!! Nice to see you have so many interested folks.

Carol M said...

This sounds like a book I would really enjoy. Thank you for the giveaway!
mittens0831 at aol dot com

Renaissance Women said...

It is just the best thing when you live in an area that feeds your imagination. You made a great case for your 'neck of the woods'. Love mysteries and will have to put yours on the list. Thank you for sharing the story of the valley. Doris McCraw/Angela Raines-author

jrlindermuth said...

Great post, Sunny. I've been to California, but not to your area. Always good to learn about new places.

Anne said...

I'm always looking for another new to me mystery series to start.

acm05atjuno.com

Marilyn said...

Wow...you've had a fascinating life and lots of fodder there for stories...thank you for having a contest...
Marilyn ewatvess@yahoo.com

Joyce Ann Brown said...

I'd love to win A Snitch in Time. I'm sure it's as good as the first two books in the series. California has so many ecosystems, but I wouldn't have thought it had the meth capitol. I'm glad it has a good mystery writer like you.

Sunny Frazier said...

Thank you everyone for responding to my piece on the Central Valley. I hope you all get to see sometime, hopefully on the Blossom Trail when the Valley is at its best!