Thursday, 14 April 2016

Scooter Nation by A.B. Funkhauser



Title: Scooter Nation
Author: A.B. Funkhauser
Genre: Humor / Noir


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 Author:

Toronto born author A.B. Funkhauser is a funeral
in Ontario, Canada. Like most funeral directors, she is
director, classic car nut and wildlife enthusiast living
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 SHELL GAME, a contemporary “whodunnit” begun during NaNoWriMo 2015.




Interview:

Have you always wanted to be a writer..?
I remember very clearly wanting to do something about thirty years ago. I was working in the research department at the Legislative Assembly of Ontario (Canada) and so had many opportunities to write short pieces, detailed correspondence, summaries and even a little speech writing. I was also an avid reader from the get go which gave me an early appreciation for the written word. But nothing really grabbed me enough to get me to write something wholly original at that time. There followed a few years later, a weird little short called TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCES IN BATHROOM FAWCETRY as well as a hurried teleplay about the funeral business called SIN IN MIND, but they were hackneyed and, frankly, kind of pompous. It wasn’t until six years ago in 2010, that I got my stride: something caught my attention and I began scribbling. The rest has been a series of happy accidents, chance meetings and a whole lot of people who believed in what I was doing. I guess that’s when I decided that I could do it.

... And what motivates you to write?
Time. I finally have some. And a modus operandi. It took years to learn how to write properly, and then it took a few more years to clean up the mess of a manuscript I’d produced. It was sitting at about 140,000 words with no workable end in sight, plus I had a snarky omniscient narrator that wouldn’t shut up. Lol. Once I got that brute under control, the rest seemed to flow naturally. Back in 2010, the motivation was to finish. Today in 2016, the motivation is still very much about finishing. I have a very strong muse that keeps me awake at night. Like many of us who have one, I believe my muse will leave me one day, so it’s a race to beat inspiration to the finish line.

Friendship is "Safety, comfort, joy and salvation."


Tell us about your writing routine; what’s a typical writing day for you?
Because I’m on hiatus from my day job, I’m committed to treating my writing with the same respect I’d give any employer. That means showing up every day (except weekends and holidays). The writing day begins for me at 8:30 a.m. and wraps at 3 p.m. During that time, I may break to drive kids to and from school, or vacuum up the kitchen floor, but all things writerly take place during those hours. I assign certain tasks to specific times of the year. For example, the months of April and November are dedicated to new work all under the umbrella of #NaNoWriMo. I love the NaNo framework not only for its community, but also because it gives me the power to give myself permission to take leave from the blog and other promo activities that are time consuming but also absolutely necessary. Finished manuscripts are submitted to my publisher in October so that January and February can be devoted to refining and getting the marketing campaign mapped out. At all other times, I’m blogging, tweeting, editing, interviewing and reading and reviewing the works of other authors. It’s a great way to live! Oh, yes, and I have the radio playing the entire time so that I don’t get lonely. Lol.

Do you develop characters from your personal experiences or draw from that of others?
I like to say that behind every fiction there is a fact or two. My characters are all composites crafted from people I know, wished I’d known, or were known to friends of friends and so on and so on. Heck, some of them come from popular cartoon characters. My current WIP SHELL GAME is told from the pov of a cat whose take on human nature is badly warped by an amateur feline fetishist sex cult obsessed with the films of Stanley Kubrick.

Tell us about the cover of Scooter Nation and how it came about.
The doors belong to a now defunct funeral home that has been sold to (I think) developers, making it perfect for SCOOTER NATION. SCOOTER essentially deals with the repercussions stemming from the sale of a business and its impact on the employees: their resistance to change; their relationship to other workers on the street; their struggle to retain some humanity while under stress. The doors are evocative because they are a portal into a world rarely seen by those outside funeral service; limited to client families who, themselves, cannot look behind the curtain or go downstairs. These doors are austere with their frosted glass crosses, polished brass and heavy wood. What’s surprising is the comedy, warmth, care and concern that dwells behind them, along with the jealousy, suspicion and thirst for revenge that walks in lockstep with all that’s good.

What was the biggest challenge in creating Scooter Nation?
SCOOTER NATION is the second novel in a series that could easily go to nine books, so this outing was a lot easier because all the hard work — finding my voice, structure, arcs— had been done with the first novel HEUER LOST AND FOUND. But if there was any challenge to it, I’d have to assign that to what I call the “mulling” process. After HEUER was published, I had three other manuscripts howling for my attention, so I had to make arguments for each to determine which would come next. That took time.
POOR UNDERTAKER is a historical fiction while THE HEUER EFFECT is romantic, but dark. SCOOTER won the contest because of the three, it was the most cogent and therefore much easier to edit. It’s also a comedy, and the need for laughter was a high priority with me at the time.

Can you tell us anything about any of your current work(s)-in-progress?
Like I said above, I have three manuscripts kicking around clambering for attention. The first, SHELL GAME, is a feline whodunit told through my protagonist Carlos The Wunder Cat. Begun during NaNoWriMo 2015, I hope to finish it during the month of April. From there, I will workshop it through the writers group I belong to; edit, edit, edit and then submit it for publisher approval.
In November 2016, I hope to get back to POOR UNDERTAKER, which is an historical/romance that traces the origins of the Weibigand Funeral Home readers will know from HEUER and SCOOTER. Beginning in 1947, it will run through to 1975; a fascinating time in our social history. I’m so excited about these projects!

Would you please tell us about your favourite memory related to reading or writing..?
Growing up in a suburb of Toronto, I was lucky enough to live in a house backing onto a huge yard that backed on to an even larger hydro field. In summer time, I’d blow up an inflatable dingy and float it on the above ground pool my parents put up in 1970. I’d float on that pool for hours reading mystery novels, Hollywood biographies and Austen, with the cicadas in the hydro field chirping out their music for background. This left me well-read and super tanned!

...And which writers inspire you?
I’ve mentioned Kurt Vonnegut and Hunter S. Thompson many times in the past; their mirth, their energy; their steely commentaries on what pains us all are as vital and brilliant today as they were back when they were first written. But today, right now, I want to salute all the word weavers I’ve come to know through twitter matches like #pitmad #2bitTues #1lineWed #WIPjoy #FP and #Thurds. There are so many voices out there boldly working to be heard in every genre you can imagine. My Solstice author community; the great people who make up the Writers’ Community of Durham Region; and the awesome Brooklin Seven Writers Collective; all of whom to which I belong: They inspire me every day because they remind me that I’m not alone in this and that every word counts.

What's your top hobby you do when not writing?
I draw and paint. In fact, I’m in the process of designing a club patch for my writers group. Think Charlie Hunnam from SONS OF ANARCHY and you pretty much get the picture.


Where would you like to see yourself in 5 year’s time?
Doing what I’m doing right now this minute: sitting at my grandmother’s Canadian maple dining table banging away on my keyboard to the sounds of Beethoven, Dvorak, Mahler, Green Day, Rammstein and so on…

Do you have a pet?
Kobe The Occasional Cat actually belongs to my friend Brianna who lives six doors up from me. He divides his time between our two places, but also visits others. He is known and loved by practically everyone in the neighborhood and I owe him a great deal because he inspired my current WIP.

And finally, what does friendship mean to you?
Safety, comfort, joy and salvation. A place to roam; a place to think; without borders; forever and ever.



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.






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

—Rocky Rochford, Author RISE OF ELOHIM CHRONICLES  

“The writing style is racy with no words wasted.”
—David K. Bryant, Author TREAD CAREFULLY ON THE SEA


“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





3 comments :

  1. Hooray Rainne! Thank you thank you thank you!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're very welcome.
      Thank you for the interview :)

      Delete
  2. Hooray Rainne! Thank you thank you thank you!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete