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Talking with A.B. Funkhauser

Good morning, everyone. Today, I'm letting A.B. Funkhauser take over for a whole and talk about herself and her books. Come along for a wild and crazy ride!

I see you around the Twitterverse especially at #FF Character Name. Where do you get those names from?

I love Follow Friday’s! They’re terrific for community building and also spark great questions like this one. Character names? Well—
I’m Kurt Vonnegut-inspired. That burst of whimsy at the forefront of really big themes. Wow! He was a master at setting those things up. But what really got me hooked were his character names. How they sounded—serious, humorous, threatening—made a difference, I think, so much so that when I started writing I REMEMBERED to do the same thing.
Poonam Khanzada Rajput from Shell Game is a woman of obvious power who doesn’t know it in chapter one, but by the epilogue, look out! Alma Wurtz from Scooter Nation—old world, maybe not even of this world. Think of the damage someone like that can do to the unsuspecting? And my most enduring creation Jürgen Heuer. People have a tough time pronouncing his name and that’s the point. He was put on this earth to wreak havoc and make people feel uncomfortable, so, of course, Enid Estelle Krause (EEK) is drawn to him. What horrors they conjure!
I hope that made sense?

In addition to unusual sounding character names, you have spun stories that win horror and humor prizes. How did you manage that?

It was a very organic thing with me. When I sat down to write, it wasn’t with any particular genre in mind. I was driven by circumstances that had my emotions whipped up. I think I write best when I’m angry. Anyway, I thought as the story unfolded that I was writing some kind of paranormal romance, but by the time I got to the third draft, something started happening. The characters literally hijacked me. They took me to really dark places—botched embalmings, Nazis, character assassination, murder—and humorous ones too. Heuer’s spirit willing the tree to fall on the neighbor’s above ground pool was beyond nasty, but I couldn’t stop laughing. Was it him or was it me? I don’t know. I thought it was a one off. But then it kept happening in Heuer and repeated in Scooter Nation and Shell Game, this blend of anger and whimsy. I think I have an inner imp trying to get out.

You founded your own hashtag game on Twitter. Tell us about that.

I got into Twitter hashtag games about three years ago and thought they were absolutely brilliant. Share one liners from your WIP within a proscribed theme and do it all with only 140 characters. It was amazing! First, it really taught me how to edit on the fly. Suddenly, all of those darling lines that I couldn’t part with before were chopped to fit the format, and I never put them back because the edited version was so much better. The next thing was community. The Twitterverse is HUGE, but when you play the games, you meet people week after week who like your lines and you like theirs. Before you know it, you’re doing review and blog swaps and sharing out What’s New? with the larger community. It’s like a venn diagram run amok! Anyhow, I had hashtag games for every day of the week except Thursday. There was nothing. So I took a page out of a friend’s book and created my own— #Thurds Words on Thursday—but with a difference. At #Thurds, we post one liners to a theme each week, but we also allow posts from published work AND buy links and website links.

Promos on the hashtag games aren’t encouraged.

That’s right, but my thought was: “I spent a year writing this, and now that it’s done I can’t talk about it on the hashtag circuit?” This is precisely when it should be talked about. LET’S GET READ. That’s our motto at #Thurds.

You recently re-released a book. How different is it from the first run?

That would be Heuer Lost And Found which first released in 2015 and now again in 2018. This time, it has a new cover that prominently features the protagonist/antagonist of the title. I did this based on reader feedback. I thought the backdoor on the first cover was cool because it marked the boundary between Enid and Heuer’s twilight world of death and regret and the “sunnier” more positive world outside. But, no, it was Heuer all the way. So there he is, in all his dark glory on the cover trapped between worlds. As for the rest of the book, there are no significant changes other than a few misspelt words corrected and a couple of very, very long sentences that I just had to shorten. Oh, and there’s an intro where another writer assesses the work. That’s such a cool bit and a little unreal—I can read about my motivations in third person!

And you’re working on something else?

Yes! It’s the prequel to Heuer Lost And Found and I’m loving every minute. It starts in 1979 where Enid and Heuer are alive and well and doing as much damage as possible. It’s a real trip for me.

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

Scooter Nation

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 

Shell Game

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.”

Find Her

Six-Word Story Challenge – “Author”