Hello, I had the pleasure of having A.B. Funkhauser stop by to talk about her book Heuer Lost and Found. You all know me by now. I just like to jump write in.
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
5 Star Reader's Favorite 2018
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.
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, and Winner Best Humor Summer Indie Book Awards 2016, Scooter picks up where Heuer left off, this time with the lens on the funeral home as it falls into the hands of a woeful sybarite.
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.”
SHELL GAME, tapped as a psycho-social cat dramedy with death and laughs, is the third book in the series, and 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 arbiter be a cat.”
Funkhauser is currently working on THE HEUER EFFECT, the prequel to HEUER LOST AND FOUND.
K.A. Meng (KAM): Are you a horror writer?
A.B. Funkhauser (A.B.): Sort of. It happened by accident.
KAM: Lol. You’re going to have to expand on that.
A.B.: Well, my first novel, Heuer Lost And Found, follows the day-to-day missteps of boozy funeral director Enid Krause as she comes to terms with the death of her Ex whom she hates. You’d think she wouldn’t have a problem embalming him despite his horrible condition (7 days post mortem in a hot house in summer), and, at first, she doesn’t. But then his irksome, blithe spirit spooks around behind her whispering and critiquing her thoughts and movements such that, very quickly, he gets to her and she loses it. She might still love him and that horrifies her.
KAM: That sounds romantic. *ick*
A.B.: I know, right? I went into the story believing that I was creating a heart-felt paranormal romance with a happy ending, but it didn’t turn out that way.
The novel won two horror prizes and was described by some as “visceral,” “haunted,” “crawly” and “chilling.”
There you go.
KAM: So you’re not actually a horror fan?
A.B.: Ha! I wouldn’t say that. I’m devoted to King, Hill, Gaiman and I also like Nick Cutter. Thing is, as a funeral director, I was trained to perform specific tasks in clinical situations. Anything inside of that is “normal,” anything outside it is not. So, any gruesome horror like the Chainsaws or Saws don’t appeal to me. The psych component, those “things unseen,” are what I love to root around in. In that I might be more of a spec fiction fan.
KAM: Maybe this explains how your books fell into the horror realm?
A.B.: No doubt about it. Reader feedback really focused on what went on in the preproom at the funeral home. I took great care not to be gratuitous; to only show the things the reader needed to see to understand Enid and Heuer’s mindset. (He’s appalled by her treatment of his body unaware that she is following procedure scrupulously.) I could see after the fact how those not exposed to this world would find some aspects of the book disturbing.
KAM: Did you re-release Heuer Lost And Found with a new cover?
A.B.: Back in February 2018 with a couple of tweaks. Spelling errors are gone and some really fatuous sentences got the chop, but it remains unchanged in terms of the text. It is what it is. The big deal for me is that the reader gets to see Heuer right away on the cover. He’s trapped between two worlds skulking around in the dark. In a twisted way, I was channeling Enid when I chose the image. She resents his coming back to her after 20 years and would be much happier if he just went away.
KAM: Some reviewers, I’ve noticed, found the book funny. Please explain.
A.B.: That’s true. Many cited humorous moments. One reviewer said she laughed so hard she woke her partner up. The banter between Heuer and Enid, but also between Heuer and his spirit guide—a foul-mouthed antique floor lamp housing the spirit residue of the funeral home’s founding matriarch—drew the biggest laughs. Heuer can be a petulant man-child at times. The women tell him like it is.
KAM: You’re working on the prequel now?
A.B.: Yes! The Heuer Effect is full steam ahead and I’m so excited. It’s 1979 and Enid and Heuer are alive and well and doing a lot of damage. Like all the other books in the series, it’s a stand alone, but those who have read Heuer Lost And Found get the benefit of being inside the joke. What really happened all those years ago gets examined. All of sudden, Enid’s behavior in Lost And Found makes sense.
For more information on A.B. Funkhauser:
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/A.B.-Funkhauser/e/B00WMRK4Q4
Thank you for stopping by. - K.A.