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
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
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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.
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