Today it is my pleasure to interview a fellow Black Opal Books multi published author, Sunny Frazier. She and I share many of the same interests including genre but as she put it, ‘the romance is off the page,’ unlike mine, astrology and Tarot. Even though astrology was not one of the facets of my alternative healing practice in NYC, we’ll talk about Sunny’s experiences. Everyone knows that I hold Tarot close to my heart and I’ve been doing readings for myself and others since the mid-’90’s. As a Certified Tarot Master Instructor, I’ve taught Tarot in groups, though mail, and one on one. I’ve had articles published in The American Tarot Assoc. newsletter. So my conversation with Sunny will be in-depth re Tarot.
Sunny, it’s so generous of you to take time out of your writing schedule to converse with me. With your third Christy Bristol astrology novel, A Snitch in Time, just being released, I know your time is spent on the marketing. Can you please tell my readers and yours who are visiting what the inspiration for this series entailed?
Sunny: First of all, Ronnie, thank you for inviting me to your site. I’m glad we’re published under the same house. I’ve had several jobs in my life: I started out after high school as a telephone operator, went into the Navy, received a BA in Journalism, worked as a photojournalist and finally worked in law enforcement. For the last 11 years of my time there, I worked as confidential secretary with an undercover narcotics team in the Fresno County Sheriff’s Department. My books and many of my short stories are based on cases, people and locations from my time there.
I’ve also done astrology for 45 years. I’m not “schooled” as you are, I’m self-taught. There were many times in my life where I had to hide that part of me away. The Navy wouldn’t have embraced it. For many years I didn’t let anyone in the sheriff’s department know. There was a fear I wouldn’t be taken seriously in my job. Even when I set out to write the first book in the Christy Bristol Astrology Mysteries, I was nervous the book would be rejected by mystery readers.
Me: That is a response in more conservative circles, but times are progressing and now more people are open than you’d think. I’m so fortunate that with our publisher I was allowed to embrace that. The spiritual, metaphysical and psychic realms will be explored in my Sign behind The Crime Series, as well as the psychology, high heat romance and crime procedural. For me writing multi-genre is the most fulfilling. How did your journey into astrology begin?
Sunny: I describe my first discovery of astrology in Fools Rush In. I was drawn to a book in the dusty window of a bookstore and, when I asked to see it, the owner asked “Do you do astrology?” Without a blink, I said “Yes.” I’m not sure why. Holding the book in my hand, something just felt familiar. I was 19 years old.
Like I said, I kept it secret for years. In fact, I put all my books and charts away for four years while I was in the Navy. I was also nervous about letting my family know because my older sister was a nun. I guess you could call it a conflict of interest.
One thing I discovered was doing the horoscope opened up a channel in me to glimpse into the future. I’m sure you’ve had the same experiences. I’ve always been a bit psychic, even as a child. My sister was incredibly psychic. I have to say, the things I saw in people’s charts scared me much of the time. It would also drain me if the news wasn’t good. I’d wind up sick in bed for a few days. Again, I would put the books away. I try to describe the feelings as honestly as I can in my novels.
Me: Interesting you said you felt drained after a reading. As a Tarot reader and for anyone in our field, we become a psychic sponge and can easily pick up negative energy. I have some ways of protecting ourselves I’ll share with you. And they’re quite simple. In any reading, I keep my feet crossed at the ankles to prevent the energy from the ground coming up into me. Usually the person I’m reading for, is across from me and sharing the same space. But not all the time. I’ll do this even with phone and email readings. When I’m doing a crystal healing on a client, I have hematite in my right pocket to deflect the negative energy, and also hematite in my socks to keep me grounded. If you’re into aromatherapy, Gardenia is a cleansing oil that protects you from picking up the illnesses of others. I use Gardenia shower gel all the time, especially if I’m going into a toxic environment. You know the feeling. When you walk into a room and you could cut the air with a knife. I’m sure we’ve all experienced this. Use Gardenia! As a crime write, I’m intrigued by your law enforcement career. What can you tell me about that?
Sunny: The law enforcement career came out of nowhere. I wasn’t charting myself at the time. The newspaper I worked for closed and I needed a job. I took a test with the county and, out of 900 people, I scored #2. The first place they interviewed me was at the sheriff’s department. What I discovered is that law enforcement is a paramilitary organization. Chain of command, ranks, following orders–I felt like I was home. I was promoted from file clerk to warrants clerk in a short time. Then the narcotics division took notice of me.
It was an exciting job. I was the only woman working with 10 alpha males. They put us in some out-of-the-way offices. My favorite was a double wide trailer in a nectarine orchard. We patrolled one third of the county. It’s a very large county in California. Very rural.
Me: Believe me, I know about rural. Last week I came home from our SSRA chapter meeting, to find my back yard torn up by wild boars or pigs! LOL How did you like working in narcotics? That’s a theme in my second novel.
Sunny: At the time I worked there, Fresno became the meth capitol of the world. I remember when we first started finding cooks and chemical dumps, we wondered how big the problem was going to grow. At the time, cocaine and marijuana were our two major problems. This eclipsed them all.
Me: What impact has this experience had on your novels?
Sunny: Fools Rush In was based on the first case I worked with the team. It involved a meth dealer who was head of a notorious biker gang. We knew he had killed people but we could never infiltrate his operation. Finally, the detective I call “Wolfe” in the book managed it. I was very instrumental in the second book, Where Angels Fear. I was the one who got the call from one of our informants. He reported that the peppermint striped fruit and vegetable stand in the country was really a sex club. Both vice and narcs worked the case. But, there’s nothing illegal about a private sex club. Instead, we busted them for building codes.
sunnybookIMG_1300The third book, A Snitch In Time, is pure fiction. However, I use a town in the Sierra Nevada foothills as a template. It’s just a very strange place and we got weird allegations all the time. I talked to a contact up there, her husband was also in law enforcement. She toured me around and I got the inside scoop on the people and the local oddities. It was too tempting not to write about.
Sunny: Is Christy me? Most people will say yes. She is described as looking very much like me. However, I find her too uptight and much, much too tidy. She’s also judgmental. I’m forcing her development with every novel. What people would be surprised to find out is that I relate to Lennie much more. She’s a bit of a wild child. Yes, I have that side too.
Me: I find I’m in my novels in many of the characters, the psychopathic antagonists as well as the forensic psychiatrists, detectives and love interests. I find it a lot healthier and safer delving into my characters’ insanity than developing my own. When my friends read Gemini, they will meet parts of me they did not know about!
Since my titles are astrological, my interest is there, but I never delved into learning about it. What does creating an astrology chart for someone entail? I’ve researched many books on the topic to create my characters in Gemini and Aries and it seems so complicated for me. I wouldn’t know where to start. So can you simplify here for our readers? Bottom line, how could knowing our astrology chart help us in our everyday lives? I want to give the readers something they can learn and walk away with.
Sunny: Astrology does seem daunting at first glance. Plus, you can go as far as you want with it. I saw 12 volumes of Arabic astrology and knew I’d just touched the surface. Plus, there are different ways to do the charting and many more ways to interpret. I’d have to say every person who does astrology probably does it differently.
I use the birth chart, which means the chart starts at the sun sign the person is born under. In a book called the Ephemeris are calculations of the degrees of each planet, house and sign at the time of birth. These are from NASA. I take those numbers and fill in the placement of the planets on the chart. Each house is 30 degrees, each house indicates the 12 different part of a person’s life: ego, money, family, residence, love, job, marriage, birth/death, travel, career, social life, and spirituality. The signs go counter-clockwise, always in the same order and the planets are then placed where they are according to theirs.
Each planet and sign have both positive and negative qualities. The role of the astrologer is to try to discern how the person is working with or against their properties. I think of the horoscope as a tool for people to learn to channel the good qualities of the signs and planets. Once they understand, they have the choice to improve themselves or not.
Me: I’d call that a Tool Of Empowerment.
Sunny: Yes. With the future, I use the same chart and put the planets in the degrees they fall overlaid on the birth chart. This shows me which houses the planets are moving in and out of. Each planet moves at a different rate of speed. Pluto, which is still a planet, is generational. It moves to a new house about every 20 years. It brings massive changes in that part of a person’s life. Daily horoscopes are based on the moon (also considered a planet) because it moves every 36 hours or so. So, planets range from the slower moving ones: Neptune, Uranus, Saturn and Jupiter to the faster moving ones like Mars, Venus Mercury and the Sun (yes, the sun is considered a planet in this world). So, basically what I’m reading is house+sign+planet= prediction.
There are also interactions between the birth planets and the current planets. 45 degrees apart is a 4 house square, 130 degrees is a 10 house square. Landing on the same degree of a birth planet is a conjunction. Directly across from a birth planet is an opposition. A four-house separation is a trine. I don’t do a lot of math, but all this makes sense to me.
There are many books that help with interpretation and I often outgrow them and find books that go deeper. Doing predictions are what I find challenging. I’m 95% accurate, which scares me sometimes. But, I feel I do two things: I give people a head’s up so they can prepare for their future and I show them when bad times will end so they have hope. Basically, it’s a survival manual for life.
Me: It truly is fascinating. How do you use Tarot?
Sunny: In my books, I wanted to be as honest as possible with what the astrologer, or may just me, goes through. I have read books and I’m just sick of characters being all full of themselves because they have this skill. It’s not a carnival trick. It’s certainly not fun and games.
Me: Absolutely. Tarot is not a toy or anything to be taken lightly.
Sunny: I actually used the real birth dates of the criminals in the first book. I mean, I had all the info and what the heck, right? I never give out any of the dates in my books. However, I was in a writing class and my teacher went ballistic when I said the charts were changing the plot. I think it improved the novel and took me in directions I would never have thought of. Interesting side note: I did the leader’s girlfriend and we never arrested her. I advertised for customers and she showed up. I took her money, handed her the chart and told her she was running with a bad lot. I hope she took my advice!
Now I create birthdays and charts as needed. I do alter the plot to fit, not vice versa. But, my main goal is to show different ways astrology can be used. Usually I start just by wondering “Can I do this?” and then have to write my way out of the problem. The first book, Christy uses the info to outwit the criminals. The second book, she finds obituaries and charts the men in order to find the one planetary placement in all three charts, which leads her to the killer. This last book, my question was “Can astrology be used as a profiling tool?” I actually did a reverse horoscope. In the next book, Cry Uncle, I want to show that astrology is a universal language.
I have tried tarot only once and was not comfortable with it. It feels too random to me. I really need the structure of the math and watching the universe at work. However, I think those of us who use these tools, as well as the I Ching (not really sure about palm reading) are all going to the same destination but through a different path. Whatever unlocks that psychic side of you is the method you use.
Me: That method for me is the Tarot. I use it extensively in my writing for validating character profiles, character relationships, paragraph structure, if a chapter or scene works to push the plot forward, chapter order. There are times I do a full spread, or a one-card reading. The insights are amazing. I’m no longer doing readings or healings since I’m writing full time, though I still get asked. I politely decline.
Sunny: Odd that you should say that. I am reluctant to do readings. I have certain people I keep updates for, but I’m not looking for clients. Sometimes I’ll meet people and I can pick up that they really need my services. I try to resist telling them. I’m tired of people acting like it’s a parlor game. I’ve only tried charging people money once and it didn’t sit well with me. I felt the reading was tainted. Like you, I’m concentrating on my writing. Plus, I’m in dialysis and waiting for a kidney transplant, so I don’t have the energy to take on more than I’ve got on my plate right now.
Me: Yes. Readings would be an additional drain for you now. Interestingly, my experience has been opposite with yours. I have found that when clients pay for a reading, they’re more likely to pay attention, as in your words, not use it as a parlor game. In Tarot we call it, ‘fool the psychic game.” I would never stand for that. When I do Tarot, I expect a give and take and the client to take responsibility. That’s the way they benefit. Oh my Goodness, Sunny I bet we could go on for hours. But I think we gave our readers more than enough to absorb for now. Thank you so much for your time. Perhaps we could talk again. I’d love to.
Visit Sunny Frazier
We hope you enjoyed our conversation and please feel free to leave Sunny and I comments and questions. BTW, if you’re curious as to the log in the banner, it’s Kyanite. It’s a powerful higher order stone that cleanses your body, and balances your chakras. It’s only to be used if you have experience with crystals and healing stones. Otherwise you can become dizzy and have headaches. Interestingly, Kyanite is one of the few stones that does not have to be cleansed itself.