Say hello to A.B. Funkhauser, a fellow Solstice author and all around great lady. Check out her upcoming sequel to Heuer: Lost and Found, the exciting, Scooter Nation.
From the author of HEUER LOST AND FOUND
New from the land of gonzo
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.
Flattening the playground.
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 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.
My Interview with A.B.
1) You have a lot of bright, funny characters. Are they based on anyone you know, or are they bits and pieces of several people? If so, do they know about it?
I’ve said more than once that behind every fiction there’s a fact or two. I think my characters began as personal observations made either by me or by others over the last three decades. Things I’ve read in the news, places where I’ve worked, associations that I’ve belonged to gave rise to thoughts and feelings looking for a place to land. That’s where the characters emerged. They provided the voice; the novel: a place to hang them on.
2) Besides being an author, you’re a funeral director. Do you find that helping others deal with their grief emotionally stressful? Is writing a way to deal with that?
I’m human so I felt it from time to time. But I never forgot what I learned in mortuary school: that the primary goal of the director is to be empathetic above all else, and to not bring the work home with me at the end of the day. A director is many things—artist, planner, communicator, and, most importantly, listener. When I was at work, the grieving family always came first. But when I went home, my own family took precedence. It’s a balancing act that I worked very hard at maintaining. And it worked. That’s how I did the job for so many years.
Writing, like funeral directing, was another calling that I had to follow. I carry stories from my life growing up in Scarborough (Ontario), from working in youth politics and later at the Legislature, and then four years with the auto lobby. Good times, rich with all kinds of mirthful fiction. I saw novel writing as a way of preserving some of this history. I’ve had a ball revisiting those times!
3) So, “Scooter Nation” is said to be book two in the “Unapologetic Lives” series. Tell us more about that. Will the same characters be featured?
Unapologetic lives and all that they imply came from two sources: some of the amazing people I’ve met over the years and the off planet writing of Hunter S. Thompson. Both sources keyed me in to the idea that messaging in novel writing can be strengthened if the characters operate without filters. That is, they are not governed by a societal rulebook of any kind. In reality, such a model would be disastrous—we’d be barricaded behind our locked doors if everyone said and did what they pleased. But in a world where this does not happen, where the sun rises the next day and our skins remain intact, the unapologetic get heard, often with comic results.
I’m working on my fifth manuscript now, so I can tell you that some characters come back either as living breathing people, or as memories to chew over in conversation. Others live on in portraits; one loses her earthly body to the grave, but lives on in essence inside a floor lamp. The joy of this series is that each book is stand alone, giving me the freedom to write non-sequentially. So a character that dies in 2017 at the end of book two is born in 1947 in chapter one of book four. This works for me because it keeps me interested, and it also allows me to comb over 20th century history, which is a favorite of mine.
4) Do you have any plans of writing something in another genre?
Anything can happen. I never sit down with an idea that I’m going to consciously write a romance or a paranormal or a horror/thriller. The characters decide that as the story unfolds. I love being surprised by what they do.
5) What are your overall writing goals? Would you like to see your books on the big screen?
I have a muse and that muse is incredibly strong. I’ve long believed that such a thing can’t last forever, that I might wake up one morning and it will be gone. So my goal is to get the stories down as fast as I can. Once I’ve said all that I need to say, then I can luxuriate over the edits and make the stories richer, fuller. That’s the real joy for me. Whatever becomes of my stories I’ll leave to history. But you know what? In getting them out there I know they’ll be there forever. We have the digital age to thank for that. I thank it every day!
About the 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 after five years of studious effort, has inspired four other full length works and over a dozen short stories. SCOOTER NATION, her sophomore effort, is part of her UNAPOLOGETIC LIVES series. Funkhauser is currently working on POOR UNDERTAKER 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 SECRETSLINKS
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
Thanks for having me aboard friend. So much to look forward to!ReplyDelete
Anytime at all, A.B. I'm very happy to feature your work. :)ReplyDelete