Hello, and welcome to my world. Back in 2010, I had no idea I’d be penning cross-genre novels dealing with anything from death to revenge to mail fraud. Perhaps it’s in my genes? I’m a funeral director by trade so lives lived are my primary focus, even if I like to mess my characters up a little bit along the way!
I am a gonzo writer (see article below), which means I’m influenced by the late great Hunter Thompson, whose unique brand of storytelling opened the door for my brand of mortuary revenge fiction.
Death is tough, surviving it tougher, unless we let the dark in and kick it in the face, hard and with humor.
A. B. Funkhauser
April 9, 2019
What’s New in Funkhauser’s World?
Self-Definition and a New Imprint!
I’m stoked, not just because the snow’s gone and I’ll soon be swimming in an ever-cleaner Lake Ontario, but also because I’m giving my old books—my companions, my darlings—the facelift they deserve.
It’s been almost a decade since I took up the digital pen and started writing things down. I journaled, I made up words that existed nowhere else on the planet, and I mucked around with blended genres in a way that drove my writing teachers crazy.
Somewhere in all the lessons—formal and informal—I got hints of where I needed to go with this thing called writing.
Was I writing a series? Was I a horror author? Was I a true gonzo? Did my covers make sense?
The answer was “yes” and “no” to all the above. A frustrating place to be some days, kinda cool on others. I jumped in “boots first” all those years ago, never giving a thought to commercially viable fiction writing or monetary success. If I loved the book, it was good enough, wasn’t it?
“Yes” and “no.”
It’s now 2019 and I have three books “out there” and four more in production. After a six-month hiatus where I repainted the house and crocheted an afghan while binging Sons of Anarchy and Ray Donovan, it hit me that some of the old ideas had to go. “100% Certified Zombie-Free Paranormal Romance with Happy Ending” read one of my more craftier tweets, but did it get at the core of what I was doing?
My covers said otherwise:
While it was true that the first novels centered on a funeral home where the paranormal walked in lockstep with the day-to-day doings of living beings, Heuer’s ghostly door—so compelling to me nine years ago—really didn’t do the contents justice. Reviewers consistently talked about the main protagonist and his rather unique predicament: being stuck in a room with his own moldering dead body and no one on the outside caring to look for him. Some reviewers found the set up dark and funny, one going as far as comparing the work to Carl Hiaasen; others described it as heart-breaking, haunting and horrific.
I thought I was writing comedy.
My favorite comment was “poignant, smart, wunderbar.” Was it true for the other books? Did readers have a different take on what I thought I was saying, and did that impact the way the books were being presented?
Scooter Nation, my follow up to Heuer Lost and Found, also has a door on its cover. At the time I thought it was a clever pairing with the first book, but then the reviewers said things like “Chilling”, “Irreverant” and “Visceral.” The package didn’t match the contents. A remodel was needed.
I love the new Heuer cover. It is dark and mysterious and features the strange protagonist who longed to be loved while hating everybody at the same time. To me, it is a more honest and authentic representation of what the story is about. More importantly, it is worlds away from that sad little door that said nothing at all.
Sometimes a photo doesn’t do the contents justice. Sometimes you just have to go to the drawing board and with Scooter, I got inspiration from Hunter Thompson’s cover artist Ralph Steadman. Quirky, simple and suggestive comes to mind. The digital artist “gets it” and with extreme longing, I wait for the new cover to arrive sometime in early May 2019.
In addition to being described as funny and gory gross, Scooter Nation has also been tagged as mysterious with twists and turns aplenty. Blended genre again. Years ago, I was warned about blending and mashing. “No one will know where to put you,” was the prevailing wisdom. No kidding. My third release, Shell Game, jumped on the scene with tags like:
When a black cat appears on the swinger’s front lawn, neighbors die in search of meaning.
When a cantankerous know-it-all falls into a pile of sheep manure, a clueless neighbor wakes up.
When a secret society takes her cat and her man, a grieving widow fights back.
When my then publisher asked me to select a genre, I went with “humor” and “satire,” labels more fitting a “psycho-social cat dramedy with death and laughs.”
It held up. A reviewer called this one “dark and excellent” which told me one very important thing, that I was getting closer to figuring out what my books—past and present—are actually about.
I am an indie author now with my own imprint which means I have the power of choice over cover, fonts, layout and genre delineation. But as I reformat and repackage what already exists and make plans for future work, I will apply what took almost ten years to figure out:
My writing isn’t what I say it is. It’s what the reader decides.
To that end, I will dedicate whatever time and energy is required to getting it right.
Adult, unapologetic, and wholly cognizant, I am
A. B. Funkhauser
Dark humor and satire fiction author A. B. Funkhauser is currently prepping her back catalog for release under the Out of My Head Publishing imprint. Her first mystery novel, Self Defense: A Kirsti Bruner Mortuary Mystery is expected this summer. Look for all her titles on Amazon. Coming Soon.