You’ve written three novels so far, each with semi-obscure titles. What do they mean?
Lol. The first one, Heuer Lost And Found, gets adjusted all the time by editors. They either want to stick a comma after “Heuer” or they want to knock the capital “A” in “And” to lowercase. I get it. I’ve knocked the “A” down a couple of times myself! But I wasn’t trying to be obscure. Maybe the title is representative of the main character who, more often than not, walks outside the boundaries and does so on purpose.
Scooter Nation references the main character Scooter Creighton. He is at the center of a group of people linked by community but divided by competing interests. There are also some very aggressive antagonists who roar around on motorized scooters. They’re terrors with a capital “T”!
Shell Game, like the ages-old game of chance, moves the characters from one alliance to another in a mad pursuit to find meaning and order in a disorganized society. A recent review called it “Crazy. Dark. Twisted. Excellent.” I’m rather proud of those tags!
Tell us about your self-styled gonzo mortuary revenge blended genre.
It really was an evolutionary thing. When I started writing a million years ago, I thought I was crafting a heart-felt paranormal romance with a tissue box ending. And certainly, Heuer Lost And Found has those moments. But by the third draft, it became obvious that more was going on. The characters took me to dark and unexpectedly humorous places that horrified some and had others rolling in the aisles. It won horror prizes when I was hoping for romance prizes. I blamed the character Jurgen Heuer, who reviewers have called a “fascinating bastard” and “bug.” But then it happened again with Scooter Nation. I thought “maybe because it’s set in a funeral parlor?” but then readers liked the chemistry between Carla and Hamsi. I didn’t win any romance prizes, but I did win twice for humor.
People tend to die in your books.
Yes! Blame that on the mortuary and the fact that I love action suspense films with a twist of noir. People die in my books accidentally and through homicide, but it is never gratuitous. They die for good reason and if readers are sufficiently hooked in, they cheer. That’s the revenge component of the blended genre. The gonzo runs with the subtext. When the characters range outside the fence, it’s because I’m trying to call attention to something important. Things like identity, self-worth, and behaving like a decent human being.
Tell us about the cat book.
If you could see me, you’d know I’m smiling! I took my kitty to the vet the other day and had to explain to him how Shell Game came about. Basically, I received a letter from Animal Control warning that if I didn’t keep my self-determining kitty indoors, I would be fined $5,000 and / or lose him to a shelter that would adopt him out to people who’d keep under lock and key. That
letter really ticked me off, so I wrote Shell Game, a book about a community with a lot to hide and a mysterious black cat that brings about its downfall so that it can rebuild. I feel better every time I talk about it. My cat is fine. His shots are up to date and he still roams free and without harassment.
This is also mortuary revenge?
Lots of revenge with a happy ending. No mortuary this time. I needed to get away from all that formaldehyde.
You go to great lengths in interviews to stress the importance of confidentiality in your day job. How do you reconcile your convictions with fiction writing?
That’s a fantastic question! Thank you! First, it’s important that I clarify my work status to date. Although I maintain an active license to practice in the province of Ontario, I have taken a break from embalming/funeral directing to write full time. That doesn’t change a thing where confidentiality is concerned. Funeral directors are bound both legally and ethically to protect the privacy of the deceased and the survivors ad infinitum. I’ll never forget what my ethics professor said all those years ago in school: that the deceased are the most vulnerable people on this earth, infants included. They cannot cry out. They cannot defend themselves. Therefore, it’s on the director to protect their privacy, maintain their dignity and at all times show respect. In writing about my fictitious funeral home, the dead are sacrosanct. I focus comically on the daily lives of the directors and work colleagues they come into contact with through cross disciplines (fire, police, pathology, to name a few). And in the case of Heuer Lost And Found, I took great care to give my deceased Jürgen Heuer a voice and spiritual body that not only wreaks havoc and extracts revenge but commands the grudging respect of his tormentors. In that, he is anything but defenseless.
A. B. Funkhauser is currently working on The Heuer Effect, a prequel to Heuer Lost And Found.
Books by A.B. Funkhauser
Available through Solstice Publishing and Amazon
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 girlfriend with serious denial issues. With her help and the help of a wisecracking 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.
Winner Best Horror, Preditors & Editors 2015
Medalist Winner “Horror,” New Apple EBook Awards 2016
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 center 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.
Medalist Winner “Humor,” New Apple EBook Award 2016
Winner Best Humor, 2016 Summer Indie Book Award
Carlos the Wonder Cat lives free, traveling from house to house in a quiet suburban neighborhood. Known by everyone, his idyllic existence is threatened when a snarky letter from Animal Control threatens to punish kitty owners who fail to keep their pets indoors. The $5,000 fine / loss of kitty to THE MAN is draconian and mean, but before Team Carlos can take steps, he is kidnapped by a feline fetishist sex cult obsessed with the films of eccentric Pilsen Güdderammerüng. Stakes are high. Even if Carlos escapes their clutches, can he ever go home?
5 Star Reader’s Favorite 2017
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, not we it.
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.”
Her most recent release, Shell Game, is a psycho-social cat dramedy with death and laughs that takes aim at a pastoral community with a lot to hide. “With so much of the world currently up for
debate, I thought it would be useful to question—again—the motives and machinations championed by the morally flexible and then let the cat decide what it all means.”
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/A.B.-Funkhauser/e/B00WMRK4Q4 Website: https://abfunkhauser.com/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/iamfunkhauser Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/abfunkhauser/ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/funkhausera/ Publisher: http://www.solsticepublishing.com