Monday, May 4, 2015
Heuer Lost And Found by A. B. Funkhauser
Hi. So glad to be here!
Please share a little about yourself, your genres, any other pen names you use.
Well, first off, I was born shy, but through sheer force of will have grown into an accomplished ham! Maybe that’s where my character’s strange intro/extrovertedness comes from? The other night, I appeared before a live audience with my fellow Durham County authors to do some open mic. It was the first time EVER that I didn’t have a racing heart. I was so comfortable in my skin that I really enjoyed myself!
The other thing is that I’m a wildlife/portrait artist, which really helps with my writing in the sense that if I need time to mull, I can do it over pen, paint or charcoal.
As far as genres go, I’m currently enmeshed in paranormal-gonzo with a hint of old Aesop. There’s a lot going on in front of the reader and behind the scenes. What the reader perceives is what they get, which is why HEUER means different things to different people. I like that a lot.
Tell us a little about your latest or upcoming release.
HEUER LOST AND FOUND is a metaphysical journey of two people: one living, the other dead. But its handled in what I hope is a light but sensitive way. A man is dead in his home, and rather than being found right away, he is left to moulder with his mortal coil while speculating on where his friends have got to. At the funeral home where his body will ultimately wind up, his paranormal residue ‘haunts’ the living breathing Enid Engler Krause. She is not only his mortician, but she is also an old girlfriend who has not seen him in twenty years…until now. In the body of Heuer rests her greatest fear: having to deal with the remains of someone she used to love. How can she take care of him sensitively and professionally without losing her mind? And how can he help her do this?
Are you a mom?
Yes! I have two teenagers who keep me on my toes and on the road. I can’t wait for them to get their driver’s licenses. Lol.
If yes do you find it hard to juggle writing and parenting?
No. The timing just worked out. Just as I began to grow on paper, they began to grow as people. Jobs, friends, opinions, fashion; it’s all there to be explored and lived. I have ample time during the day to focus on what I call The Job. Whether I’m blogging, tweeting, promoting or —joy of joys—creating new material, there is time for both. Of course it helps that I was able to take time off from full-time work to devote to writing by day and seeing to the family by night. I’ve been working since I was sixteen so you might say I earned my place at my writing desk!
Have you ever based your book or characters on actual events or people from your own life?
I think every writer does, but in varying degrees. My characters are composites—at least the human ones are! I also make liberal use of buildings, classic cars and Rattus norvegicus (the common rat) as characters. I like to have fun with the writing and basing characters too closely on actual people would impede that. Imagination for me is everything.
Is there a theme or message in your work that you would like readers to connect to?
There are several and they strike readers differently, which is very exciting to me. A reviewer said that my message was a poignant one: that beauty and elegance is present though not always noticed even when right in front of us. By this, I think he means that I want the reader to keep searching because there will always be something powerful to be found. I’m inclined to agree with him!
What would your readers be surprised to learn about you?
I would choose a cross country road trip in a convertible over a cruise ship on an aquamarine sea. There’s something about the wind across the windshield that keeps me stoked.
When you’re not writing what do you do? Do you have any hobbies or guilty pleasures?
I grew up with brothers, so ‘boy’ things are kind of ingrained in me. I like the north. I like being outside. Bonfires at any time of year are welcome. And I love a slow march through the woods. Outside is everything.
My guilty pleasure is Netflix. I get so much more out of a series when I can binge watch it. Nothing gets lost, especially with detailed series like GAME OF THRONES or BORGIA. Both offer huge international casts and a lot of back story which keeps me on my toes. I also get some valuable insights into plotting epics with multiple POVs. Luv that!
Which romance book or series (or other genre, if you don’t write romance) do you wish you had written?
I loved Poldark. Adored anything written by Thomas Hardy. I did the Austen thing when I was 16 – 20. But Patrick O’Brien’s Master and Commander Series with good ol’ Captain Jack Aubrey takes first place. While this is not romance, the character truly is as demonstrated by Russell Crowe in the film. :D *sigh*
Is there a genre(s) that you’d like to write that you haven’t tackled yet?
THE HEUER EFFECT is third in the series and takes a radical departure from the first two. In it, the characters are alive and vital in living the dream in the 1980s. At times, they do terrible things to each other. So far, it’s coming off rather romantically and it’s nice. But knowing the muse, this won’t last for long. There’s an imp at work that insists things go sideways, whether it be a flat tire or a less than satisfying physical encounter. Her thought process is always getting in the way: “She’d never seen one up close and for real before and could not help but think of the hagfish parasite she’d seen hanging off the backs of sharks on Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom.”
One day…one day…I might play it straight…but not now. (laughs)
Of all the characters you’ve ever written, who is your favorite and why?
My vote goes to Jocasta Binns, who started out as a two dimensional cardboard villain and grew into her own book (POOR UNDERTAKER). My writing group—the esteemed BROOKLIN 7—kept on me about why she was the way she was. What was her story? So in book 4, I had to go back farther, beginning with her birth in 1947. Such a sweet girl. So much promise. So much “feel good” so, of course, it could not last. ;)
If this book is part of a series…what is the next book? Any details you can share?
The Series is called: Unapologetic Lives for the reason that I wanted to see grown-ups careening out of control with little or no concern toward limited liability, torts, class action lawsuits or political correctness. They’re of age and they have one crack at this life. The second novel is called SCOOTER NATION and its tone is completely different from the first. Set two years after HEUER in the same funeral parlor, it focuses on Scooter Creighton and Carla Moretto Salinger Blue. Both are funeral directors, and both have critical walk ons in the first novel.
Here’s my elevator pitch:
When a scooter bound gang of octogenarians terrorize a neighborhood, local businesses align in self defense.
It’s a story about identity, finding your place in society, and treating your fellow man with dignity…and GONZO!
What is next for you? Do you have any scheduled upcoming releases or works in progress?
I’m promoting HEUER through to the end of the month. Then I’ll leave him to percolate through the ether through June and July. That’s when I’ll refine SCOOTER. Come November and NaNoWriMo, I will complete part II of POOR UNDERTAKER. Busy times. Exciting times.
What book are you reading now?
A swash buckling pirate adventure penned by fellow Solstice author and friend David K. Bryant. It’s awesome!
What is in your to read pile?
An unpublished gem called The Stone Cottage by Margaret McKay Hefferman; Kalki Evian: The Ring of Khaoriphea by Malay Upadhyay and The Uniform Fetish Anthology featuring a short story by Wren Michaels.
Heuer Lost And Found
A. B. Funkhauser
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Fiction,
Metaphysical, Paranormal, Dark Humor
Publisher: Solstice Publishing
Date of Publication: April 23, 2015
Number of pages: 237
Word Count: 66,235
Formats available: Electronic, Paper Back
Cover Artist: Michelle Crocker
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.
Add it to your Goodreads List
Fresh writing filled with rich vocabulary, this story features a vivid cast of colourful, living-breathing characters. This one will keep you reading late into the night until the final page.—Yvonne Hess, Charter Member, The Brooklin 7
Ms. A.B Funkhauser is a brilliant and wacky writer …Her distinctive voice tells an intriguing story that mixes moral conflicts with dark humor.—Rachael Stapleton, Author, The Temple of Indra’s Jewel and Curse of the Purple Delhi Sapphire
The macabre black comedy 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
Heuer Lost and Found is a quirky and irreverent story about a man who dies and finds his spirit trapped in a funeral home with an ex-lover who happens to be the mortician. The characterization is rich the story well-told.—Cryssa Bazos, Writer’s Community of Durham Region, Ontario, Canada
Author A. B. Funkhauser strikes a macabre cord with her book "Heuer Lost and Found". I found it to have a similar feel to the HBO series "Six Feet Under".--Young, Author, A Harem Boy’s Saga Vol I, II, and III
Enid Krause nee Engler had made her way down to the embalming room where he lay waiting for her. She paused on her way to dither over some emails and, he noted with approval, to check out Kijiji for vintage GTO’s. Next, she mucked about with the coffee maker, juicing up her brew with two bags of pre-packaged Columbian. This, he noted wryly, was not the wisest thing to do when one’s hands were already shaky. It was apparent to him that she liked her booze as much as he did, and if she were to play around with sharp things, she stood a good chance of facing him sooner, rather than later.
“It is here that you must speak to her,” the lamp intruded, muddling his thoughts and destroying his pleasure. He did not like this popping in and out at will inside his head. He hoped her powers were limited to audiences in the basement, but not so—she was a body trapped in a house she did not choose, yet her spirit travelled, permeating the mind at will. “If you want to move on, it must be so. Put things right, mein Schön.”
He frowned at her use of ‘Schön.’ It was his term of endearment, yet she took it for her own, as if her right to trample him escheated once he agreed to do her bidding.
Make amends. Sure. The Holy Moly Book of Hooey said so, but to which place would he go thereafter? The land of milk and honey, where everyone ran around in bed sheets? Or the other place, where no amount of sunscreen would help? “Neither,” the lamp said confidently, her words ironic, because she was a lamp and obviously hadn’t been anywhere. “To your purpose,” she said, twisting him in the direction of Enid, who muttered under her breath as she fumbled with her earrings.
He grinned, longing to see what she would do next: Fraulein Engler was obviously struggling over his dramatic return, and for good reason. They had not parted on the best of terms. She wept sentimentally in the coroner’s suite—woman’s tears—much to her colleague’s chagrin, and now she was dragging her feet like a shotgun bride. Walking alongside her, he thought about theatres and floorboards and actors moving from mark to mark, their steps mapped out strategically on the floor with sticky tape. “This is why people spend so much time and money on make believe, Mächen,” he said. “It’s so much better to watch.”
Enid managed to get past the door that separated the O.R. from Weibigand’s outer hall, where she was greeted by the buzz and hum of a big fan that would keep his stink off of her. He concentrated on the noisy traffic that was her brain: like car tires spinning, rubber burning, a lonely heart hammering, and an incomprehensible fear. He was in despicable shape and it would take every ounce of skill to bring him to heel.
About the Author:
A.B. Funkhauser is a funeral director, fiction writer 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.
“Were it not for the calling, I would have just as likely remained an office assistant shuffling files around, and would have been happy doing so.”
Life had another plan. After a long day at the funeral home in the waning months of winter 2010, she looked down the long hall joining the director’s office to the back door leading three steps up and out into the parking lot. At that moment a thought occurred: What if a slightly life-challenged mortician tripped over her man shoes and landed squarely on her posterior, only to learn that someone she once knew and cared about had died, and that she was next on the staff roster to care for his remains?
Like funeral directing, the writing called, and four years and several drafts later, Heuer Lost and Found was born.
What’s a Heuer? Beyond a word rhyming with “lawyer,” Heuer the lawyer is a man conflicted. Complex, layered, and very dead, he counts on the ministrations of the funeral director to set him free. A labor of love and a quintessential muse, Heuer has gone on to inspire four other full length works and over a dozen short stories.
“To my husband John and my children Adam and Melina, I owe thanks for the encouragement, the support, and the belief that what I was doing was as important as anything I’ve tackled before at work or in art.”
Funkhauser is currently working on a new manuscript begun in November during NaNoWriMo 2014.