Returning guest blogger Sunny Frazier, whose first novel in the Christy Bristol Astrology Mysteries, Fools Rush In, received the Best Novel Award from Public Safety Writers Association, reveals some sneaky thoughts in her writing and ruminates on how her protagonist makes up for a few of her own shortcomings.
One of the traits people attribute to me is that I’m always plainspoken and brutally honest. Wrong! They reach this conclusion by my blog posts, which are straightforward to make my point(s). My novels? Not so much. So, I’m going to pull back the curtain and tell my readers how I penetrated your mind with a sleight-of-the-writing-hand.
Take book one: Fools Rush In. It’s all about these low-life drug dealers who make meth and put astrologer/Sheriff’s clerk Christie Bristol’s life in danger. This is not a subject my primary readers, which are mature women, really want to read about. I know that. My agenda was to make them compelled to read about the real drug trade, not the big cartels which make the news. It’s much scarier to think that meth might be cooking right in your neighborhood. Also, drug dealers are not stupid (my ex liked to say “They know the metric system, Sunny.”). They don’t see themselves as criminals and feel laws don’t apply to them. They believe they are simply smarter at gaming the system than the rest of us. How do I know this? I worked with undercover narcs for 11 years and talked to plenty of these folks in my line of work.
One of the highest praises I received for the book was the reader who said, “I know I’m supposed to hate Lloyd Parr (the antagonist) but there were times I really felt sorry for him.” Mind you, this was years before Breaking Bad hit the airwaves. But, this was exactly what I was going for. I wanted to force the reader to look at a flawed and dangerous character in 3-D. There is more there than a cardboard criminal mastermind.
On to book two: Where Angels Fear. What triggered the story was watching a commercial for Lois & Clark, a family show on years ago at 8 p.m. In the commercial Lois was dressed in leather and obviously hinting at S&M. Say what? I started thinking of the hypocrisy in our country in regards to aberrant sex. We like the tease of something forbidden so we can titter in pretend shock. Of course we don’t condone this sort of thing but my, aren’t we curious!
So, I wrote a book about a sex club. The switcheroo was that the practitioners were the protagonists. Did I want to make a case for whips and handcuffs? Nope. I did want to infiltrate the reader’s mind with my opinion that consenting adults and their choices are their business. I’m not judging. I also knew exactly where to draw the line, keeping my readers in mind. There is no sex in a book about sex. Try that for a challenge!
Now, to the book that will hopefully be on your bookshelf soon: A Snitch In Time. There are two subversive things going on. I wanted to explore vigilantism. What if a whole town turned against itself in the rush to accuse their unsavory neighbors of murder? And what if they went after stereotypes as a knee jerk reaction? We are quick to suspect people who don’t subscribe to our morals and lifestyle. People on the fringe. Very unjust of us good people.
As you can see, my books are triggered by things that bug me. So, when I realized I have incredible friends surrounding me and supporting me both monetarily (thank you Cathy, Ann, Rhonda, Aunt Mary, Aunt Dolly), nutritionally (Peggy, Linnea, Crystal, Deborah & Mike, Sherman & Gail) and emotionally (all of you out there), I had to ask myself: Who is the better friend? And I realized I come up short. I forget birthdays, forget to call, get too wrapped up in my own life to be there for anyone. I’m ashamed of this flaw in my personality. So, I gave it to Christy. She always thinks pretty highly of herself compared to her friend Lennie. She’s more educated, has stronger morals and often makes snide comments at Lennie’s expense. But an incident in the book forces Christy to really examine their relationship. Lennie is loyal in a way nobody will ever be toward her. This BFF would take a bullet for Christy and has proven it over and over. I hope it’s a rude awakening for some readers and encourages them to look inwardly. We could all probably do better.
They say confession is good for the soul. Now you know what my ulterior motives are in my novels. But, be on guard because I will do a sneak attack on your subconscious in every book. And you won’t even see it coming!