Good morning,. My guest on Living The Dream today is fellow Canadian and Solstice author, A.B.Funkhauser, here to tell you about her latest reliease Scooter Nation.
- What’s new, A.B.?
Everything! I just finished the trailer for the new book and I have to say that a lot of the plotting came from my new membership in the Sisters in Crime-Toronto Chapter organization. I met some of the members at a book convention last November and we just hit it off. They invited me in to join their organization even though I’m a mixed genre writer, which was kind of gratifying in that I was the kid who never got picked for the team back in grade school. *laughs* This caused me take a second look at SCOOTER NATION. In the end, I could see subtexts that weren’t consciously present before! I’ve been asked to speak to the group this summer, and this is exciting too because I get to dust off my public speaking skills. Time hasn’t changed that: speaking fills me with the kind of terror-thrill one gets from parasailing or shark wrestling.
- SCOOTER NATION is your second release and you describe it as gonzo, mortuary, revenge fiction. Care to elaborate?
LOL. See above. SCOOTER is the second novel in a series centered on the goings on in the Weibigand Brother’s Funeral Home and the lives of the staff that drive it. It’s two years after the first book and there have been some staff changes; some through death, some through attrition. Typical for older establishments, the people working at Weibigand’s are entrenched in their ways and highly resistant to change. In order to maintain the status quo, new alliances are forged, romantic feelings are revealed, cash goes astray and people die. And there are laughs too. That’s the gonzo component.
- You’re a prolific tweeter. How do you pack a novel into 140 characters?
I like to do a chapter synopsis after work shopping each week on a chapter by chapter basis during the first draft process. I have an amazing writer’s circle that I belong to. We meet every Tuesday, which means that if a novel is forty chapters long, then I have forty weeks to synthesize and think on what the book is really about. When it’s time to promo, I have the benefit of all this ground work to plumb from. I can say that the initial tweets come from those chapter synopses. The rest grow from the blip ads which are highly visual and do a lot to spark additional promo copy.
- Blip ads?
That’s what I call them. They’re the little adverts I do to promote blogs, excerpts, book trailers, all in a visual no larger than a twitter window. Twitter is my thing and I like to front load my tweets with a visual. I think I’m a frustrated Mad Man.
- Your biography lists “funeral director” as your main profession. I’ll be honest. You don’t look like any funeral director I know! How long have you been working in the industry?
Not very long compared to others. I began working at a funeral home quite late in life, after I had my kids. I started as a funeral director’s assistant before going to mortuary school and obtaining my license. That was back in 2006 and I’ve been licensed ever since. Though I maintain my license and remain on call in the professional directory, I write full time now; that is, when I’m not prowling around my garden or Scarborough Rouge Valley, two of my favorite places.
- We should talk about SCOOTER some more. Anything you’d like to add?
Just that it’s tentatively scheduled to come out March 13 through Solstice Publishing. I can’t thank them often enough for believing in me and my characters. Unlike the first novel, HEUER LOST AND FOUND, which was a parallel plot paranormal, post mortem romance and very dark, SCOOTER is a linear read that gallops through one absurd situation after the other. That’s because of the characters Carla Blue, Hamsi, Esther, Alma and the stoic Scooter Creighton. He’s the glue that binds them, but it’s the funeral parlor and the characters’ nemesis Jocasta Binns that drives them apart for a time. A lot of wrongs are going to get righted here.
Thanks for dropping by A.B. Find SCOOTER NATION on AMAZON, Barnes & Noble and the Solstice Publishing web site.
From the author of HEUER LOST AND FOUND
In a gonzo land:
A city divided;
A community under seige;
And the death of a beloved.
What will it take to right the wrongs?
A line in the pavement.
All things are equal now.
See the Trailer: https://youtu.be/oqmrW_t92jc
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.
The old humpback with the cloudy eyes 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.
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’d 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.
 For a detailed history of the Weibigand-Seltenheit Wars, please see Poor Undertaker.
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 & EDITORS 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 POOR UNDERTAKER, an historical “whodunnit” begun during NaNoWriMo 2014.
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
“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.”
“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
Scooter Page: http://abfunkhauser.com/wip-scooter-nation/
Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/author/abfunkhauser
Interview Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g2yhaXfh-ns
Interview Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WoPthI1Hvmo