Here’s the FUN in Funerals!

An author with inside parlour wisdom puts her expertise to fictional fabulousness.

Gonzo A.B. Funkhauser

Gonzo A.B. Funkhauser

We start with my interview questions and ABF’s responses:

Q1 What is your writer’s name?

I’m A.B. Funkhauser: mother, mortician, monkey; purveyor of adult, contemporary, gonzo fiction. The “B” stands for Belle. The “A” is classified.

Q2 What is the book you want to publicize, and its genre and target audience?

SCOOTER NATION, my most subversive work to date, drops March 11 through Solstice Publishing. The second novel in the Unapologetic Lives Series, it picks up two years after HEUER LOST AND FOUND. This time, tertiary funeral directors Carla Blue and Scooter Creighton take center stage as the protagonists in a melange guaranteed to leave a lot of human wreckage in its wake. I’m psyched because advance notices have been extremely positive and from every quarter. I don’t target a specific demographic: I leave targeting to politicians and number crunchers. What I strive to do with everything I write is to give the characters free range to do as much damage as possible to get to the grit of the subtext: altruism through larceny in the case of SCOOTER. This seems to resonate with readers from around the world.

Q3 what book inspired you most, as an adult, to take up fiction writing?

There have been many, but the one I credit most these days is a work of non-fiction entitled THE WARS OF AFGHANISTAN by Peter Thomsen. A United States Special Envoy to Afghanistan who bore witness to key late 20th Century events in that country, Thomsen’s reportage is rich with lyrical allusion and description that brings history forward and makes it grand. By this I mean that the land as much as the people is a character to be deconstructed, explored, explained and rationalized. I sought to do the same thing in my fiction, which is why the bricks and mortar of Weibigand Brother’s Funeral Home “live” every bit as much as the people who pass through it.

Q4 What funny moment happened have you experienced at a book signing – other author or yourself?

Talking person to person is a work of art that can always be practiced at and should be, given that digitally signed eBooks downloaded at home really have cut out the “author” as middle man. I have yet to experience anything “funny” in that pursuit although I will confess to competing with bleeping, chirping STAR WARS toys at a Big Box book store for the attention of adult patrons. I felt a tad unsexy doing that.

Q5 Give us a picture of your usual writing desk / place and one of your favourite place to write? What are the advantages and disadvantages?

funkh-writingCanadian maple dining table. Front room. Large bank of front windows facing evergreens that shield me from the street. Cool in summer. Warm in winter. Plenty of room for my kitty muse to perch. It’s a complete package that puts me at the centre of the house where the action is, while according me the largesse to drift into the grand vista outside my windows. And the chair is comfy.

Q6 What makes your book a must-read to aficionadas of the genre?

Gonzos everywhere know the benefits of operating without filters. There’s no compromise and there’s no remorse. And the sky doesn’t fall. Isn’t that nice?

Q7 What makes you mad? (preferably writing related)

Absolutely nothing. I’m all about the Zen, baby. [GN – cool answer 🙂 ]

Now for the author’s book, SCOOTER NATION, and it’s a humdinger

From the author of HEUER LOST AND FOUND

In a gonzo land:

A city divided;OFFICIAL SCOOTER COVER

A community under seige;

Conflicting values;

And the death of a beloved.

What will it take to right the wrongs?

A line in the pavement.

 

SCOOTER NATION

All things are equal now.

Coming 03.13.2016

From Solstice Publishing

See the Trailer: https://youtu.be/oqmrW_t92jc

 Book Blurb

 Aging managing director Charlie Forsythe begins his work day with a phone call to Jocasta Binns, the unacknowledged illegitimate daughter of Weibigand Funeral Home founder Karl Heinz Sr. Alma Wurtz, a scooter bound sextenarian, community activist, and neighborhood pain in the ass is emptying her urine into the flower beds, killing the petunias. Jocasta cuts him off, reminding him that a staff meeting has been called. Charlie, silenced, is taken aback: he has had no prior input into the meeting and that, on its own, makes it sinister.

The second novel in the UNAPOLOGETIC LIVES series, SCOOTER NATION takes place two years after HEUER LOST AND FOUND. This time, funeral directors Scooter Creighton and Carla Moretto Salinger Blue take centre stage as they battle conflicting values, draconian city by-laws, a mendacious neighborhood gang bent on havoc, and a self absorbed fitness guru whose presence shines an unwanted light on their quiet Michigan neighborhood.

 Excerpt

1967

The old humpback with the cloudy eye and Orwellian proletarian attitude pushed past the young embalmer with a curt “Entschuldigen Sie bitte!—Excuse me!” That Charles E. Forsythe, bespectacled and too tall for his own good, didn’t speak a word of German was incidental. The man grunting at him, or, more accurately, through him was Weibigand senior embalmer Heino Schade, who’d been gossiped about often enough at Charlie’s previous place of employ: “Weibigand’s,” the hairdresser winked knowingly, “is like a Stalag. God only knows where the lampshades come from.”

Whether she was referring to Schade specifically or the Weibigand’s generally didn’t matter. What he gleaned from the talk and what he took with him when he left to go work for them was that he was not expected to understand, only to follow orders.

Schade, muttering over a cosmetic pot that wouldn’t open, suddenly tossed it; the airborne projectile missing Charlie’s black curls by inches. Jumping out of the way, he wondered what to do next.

Newly arrived from Seltenheit and Sons, his new master’s most capricious competitor, expectations that he perform beyond the norm were high. Trading tit for tat, his old boss Hartmut Fläche had fought and lost battles with Karl Heinz Senior since 1937, and wasn’t about to abandon the bad feeling, even as he approached his ninetieth year. That his star apprentice had left under a tenacious cloud to go work for the enemy would no doubt hasten old Harty’s resolve to plot every last Weibigand into the ground before he got there first.[1]

It was incumbent upon Charlie, therefore, to dish some dirt hopefully juicy enough to shutter Seltenheit and Son’s for good.

Stories of the two funeral directors’ acrimony were legend: late night calls to G-men during the war asserting that Weibigand was a Nazi; anonymous reports to the Board of Mortuary Science that Fläche reused caskets; hints at felonious gambling; price-fixing; liquor-making; tax evading; wife swapping; cross dressing; pet embalming; covert sausage making; smokehouses; whore houses; Commie-loving; Semite-hating; and drug using sexual merry-making of an unwholesomeness so heinous as to not be spoken of, but merely communicated through raised eyebrows, was just a scratch.

Ducking under the low rise water pipes that bisected Weibigand’s ceiling in the lower service hall, Charlie shuddered with the thought of retributive action, if only because old men were scary and he was still young. At twenty, he had finished his requisite course requirements, albeit at an advanced age. A lot of the guys were finishing at seventeen, only to be packed off to Vietnam. But Charlie had been delayed by way of the family pig farm which in many ways, could save his hide in a pinch. As the eldest male in a houseful of women, running the farm made him essential if the Draft ever became an issue. It hadn’t so far—he was too old, the 1950 and up birthdates pulled by lot would never include his. Yet he was haunted by the prospect of a violent end.

His mother—a gentle soul who knew the Old Testament chapter and verse—never missed an opportunity to discourage his dreams for a life in the city. This only aggravated matters. He was different, and he knew it. For that reason he had to leave.

“You’ll wind up in hell if you try,” she said fondly, every time he negotiated the subject. In the end, it was a kick in the ass from the toothless old neighbor that sent him running far and fast off the front porch: “Yer not like the others, are ya sweetie?”

“Don’t expect an easy time from the Missus,” Heino Schade said offhandedly from his vantage over a pasty deceased.

“Mrs. Weibigand?” Charlie asked, noting that the old man used Madame Dubarry commercial cosmetic in place of the heavy pancake Seltenheit’s favored.

“You assisted her out of a particularly difficult situation. She will expect more as a show of your constant devotion.” He knocked his glass eye back into place with a long spring forceps.

Charlie understood. He hadn’t expected a call from the Lodge that infamous night, but then, it wasn’t everyday that a good friend of the Potentate was found dead in a hotel room under a hooker.

“In flagrante delicto,” Schade continued ominously in what appeared to be Latin.

“Indeed,” Charlie said, faking a working knowledge of the dead language; the unfamiliar term, he guessed, having more to do with what Karl Heinz Weibigand was doing with a woman in a seedy hotel room, than his desire to ask Schade how he made his dead look so dewy.

 

About the Author

Toronto born author A.B. Funkhauser is a funeral director, classic car nut and wildlife enthusiast living in Ontario, Canada. Like most funeral directors, she is governed by a strong sense of altruism fueled by the belief that life chooses us and we not it. Her debut novel HEUER LOST AND FOUND, released in April 2015, examines the day to day workings of a funeral home and the people who staff it. Winner of the PREDITORS & The Pred and Ed winEDITORS Reader’s Poll for Best Horror 2015, HEUER LOST AND FOUND is the first installment in Funkhauser’s UNAPOLOGETIC LIVES series. Her sophomore effort, SCOOTER NATION, is set for release March 13, 2016 through Solstice Publishing. A devotee of the gonzo style pioneered by the late Hunter S. Thompson, Funkhauser attempts to shine a light on difficult subjects by aid of humorous storytelling. “In gonzo, characters operate without filters which means they say and do the kinds of things we cannot in an ordered society. Results are often comic but, hopefully, instructive.”

 

Funkhauser is currently working on SHELL GAME, a contemporary “whodunnit” begun during NaNoWriMo 2015.

 

Other Solstice Books By A.B. Funkhauser

HEUER LOST AND FOUND

Unrepentant cooze hound lawyer Jürgen Heuer dies suddenly and unexpectedly in his litter-strewn home. Undiscovered, he rages against God, Nazis, deep fryers and analogous women who disappoint him.

At last found, he is delivered to Weibigand Brothers Funeral Home, a ramshackle establishment peopled with above average eccentrics, including boozy Enid, a former girl friend with serious denial issues. With her help and the help of a wise cracking spirit guide, Heuer will try to move on to the next plane. But before he can do this, he must endure an inept embalming, feral whispers, and Enid’s flawed recollections of their murky past.

Geo Buy Link: http://myBook.to/heuerlostandfound

Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-C5qBpb0Yc

PRAISE

“Funny, quirky, and sooooo different.”

—Jo Michaels, Jo Michaels Blog

“Eccentric and Funny. You have never read anything like this book. It demands respect for the outrageous capacity of its author to describe in detail human behavior around death.”

—Charlene Jones, author THE STAIN

“The macabre black comedy Heuer Lost And Found, written by A.B. Funkhauser, is definitely a different sort of book!  You will enjoy this book with its mixture of horror and humour.”

—Diana Harrison, Author ALWAYS AND FOREVER

“This beautifully written, quirky, sad, but also often humorous story of Heuer and Enid gives us a glimpse into the fascinating, closed world of the funeral director.”

—Yvonne Hess, Charter Member, The Brooklin 7

“The book runs the gamut of emotions. One minute you want to cry for the characters, the next you are uncontrollably laughing out loud, and your husband is looking at you like you lost your mind, at least mine did.”

http://teresanoel.blogspot.ca/2015/05/heuer-lost-and-found-unapologetic-lives

“The writing style is racy with no words wasted.”

—David K. Bryant, Author TREAD CAREFULLY ON THE SEA

“For a story centered around death, it is full of life.”

—Rocky Rochford, Author RISE OF ELOHIM CHRONICLES

“Like Breaking Bad’s Walter White, Heuer is not a likeable man, but I somehow found myself rooting for him. A strange, complicated character.”

—Kasey Balko, Pickering, Ontario

Raw, clever, organic, intriguing and morbid at the same time … breathing life and laughter into a world of death.

—Josie Montano, Author VEILED SECRETS

LINKS

Website: www.abfunkhauser.com

 

Scooter Page: http://abfunkhauser.com/wip-scooter-nation/

 

Podcast:  http://mhefferman.ca/author/podcasts/episode-3-an-interview-with-a-b-funkhauser/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/iamfunkhauser

 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/heuerlostandfound

 

Publisher: http://solsticepublishing.com/

 

Goodreads:

Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/author/abfunkhauser

Email: a.b.funkhauser@rogers.com

Audio Interview:

Interview Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g2yhaXfh-ns

Interview Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WoPthI1Hvmo

HEUER BUY LINK: http://myBook.to/heuerlostandfound

[1] For a detailed history of the Weibigand-Seltenheit Wars, please see Poor Undertaker.

Thank you A. B. Funhauser for occupying my blog today.

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