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Genre: Gonzo Mortuary Revenge Fiction
Publisher: Solstice Publishing
Date of Publication: March 11, 2016
ISBN: 1625263473, 978-1625263476
Number of pages: 194
Word Count: 48,854
Cover Artist: Michelle Crocker
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.
Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/oqmrW_t92jc
The old humpback with the cloudy eye 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 had 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 every day 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.
Interview With the Author:
What initially got you interested in writing?
I spent my summers reading as a kid, and what grabbed me were the descriptions — how authors defined rooms, colors, tones and attitudes. It sounded like music to me and I wanted to try and mimic the same thing. Trouble was, I didn’t have a lot to say, so I gave it up in favor of painting. Years later, when I tried my hand at journaling, something broke open. Instead of commenting on my day, I started making things up. A writer friend told me this was fiction and that I should keep going. I haven’t looked back.
How did you decide to make the move into being a published author?
Not ‘how’, but ‘when’. I had three manuscripts in the cupboard that I really liked, and on the recommendation of friends who played the #pitmad and #pitchwars games, I decided to jump in. Twitter pitch parties were invaluable to my learning. First, I went from 0 tag lines to over 25, and that was only after the first #pitmad. From there, I cut my teeth on the do’s and don’ts of querying and synopsis writing. By the third #pitmad, I really had an understanding of what my books were about, and a good thing too. I had submitted partials before, but now I had requests for fulls. And then Solstice Publishing found me.
What do you want readers to take away from reading your works?
My characters have been variously described as “complex” and “complicated” and that’s because they are! They are rooted in the gonzo genre, making them outrageous, boundary-pushers, but they are also highly accessible because of their flaws and their desire to make changes. The books are humorous, but there are other things at play beneath the gags. What I hope the reader gets from them is that a character is a story inside the larger story, and what they say and do has something that can last after the book is shut. (That’s what I’m going for, anyway. Lol)
What do you find most rewarding about writing?
Writing is the best problem solver I have found so far. I mull, I make, I find the answers. It’s incredible.
What do you find most challenging about writing?
There are always new ideas and new characters jostling for poll position. Just the other day, I locked down the premise for my next NaNoWriMo. I even have a cover! The challenge always involves time. Who gets it and how much of it is a matter for a schedule that is routinely hijacked by appointments, holidays, and great weather. I love being outside to the extent that I write outside wherever possible. Today, however, I walked 10 km in 32 degree Celsius temperatures; something unheard of for this time of year where I live. Suffice to say, I didn’t write a whole heckuvalot. Lol.
What advice would you give to people who want to enter the field?
Go for it, eyes wide open, with no expectations other than to produce the best possible work you can and LOVE every word of it before submitting. This is a long commitment. There is no short game in writing.
What ways can readers connect with you?
I’m delighted to announce that after many technical struggles, I am FINALLY on Instagram and I’m LOVING it! Readers can find me at the links below. The books too!
Geo Buy Link: http://myBook.to/ScooterNation
Geo Buy Link: http://myBook.to/heuerlostandfound
Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/author/abfunkhauser
Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/u/0/118051627869017397678
The Complete Scooter Q&A: https://abfunkhauser.com/the-complete-scooter-q-a/
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 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, and the New Apple EBook Award 2016 for Horror, Heuer Lost and Found is the first installment in Funkhauser’s Unapologetic Lives series. Her sophomore effort, Scooter Nation, released March 11, 2016 through Solstice Publishing. Winner of the New Apple Ebook Award 2016 for Humor, Scooter has also been nominated for Best Humor Summer Indie Book Awards 2016.
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 subversive feline “whodunit” begun during NaNoWriMo 2015.
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