Chatting it up with Marissa Campbell and friends at the author’s cover reveal party on Facebook

From Author Marissa Campbell’s awesome COVER COUNTDOWN PARTY Live on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/events/1578724672368510/


Marissa Campbell
 with A.b. Funkhauser

Please give it up for our next guest author, A.b. Funkhauser!

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.

A.b. Funkhauser Here I am. Hello!Twitter headshot

A.b. Funkhauser Is it wrong to like my picture?

Marissa Campbell lol I think it’s a great picture! Go for it!

A.b. Funkhauser I’ll take the thumbs up as a yes.

A.b. Funkhauser I love the top. I bought it years ago at the Canadian National Exhibition for real cheap.

Marissa Campbell lol, I have to share your trailer for your new book Heuer Lost and Found!

Monique Nadeau Massabki Funeral director stories…I’m in.

Marissa Campbell Tell us a little about this wicked book!

A.b. Funkhauser Thank you. I’ve been watching the trailer obsessively to boost the counter.

Marissa Campbell Hahaha

A.b. Funkhauser Funeral director stories always attract interest. The ones I’ve read are mostly memoir, which is really brave for the authors that penned them.

Marissa Campbell What makes yours different?

A.b. Funkhauser Oh my god Marissa. Do you have a couch? The book was born out of a grief journal.

Margaret Madigan First, it’s always good to like your own pix. I always hate mine, so I’m happy when others like theirs. Second–bahahahaha! Only the lamp knows!!!

Christine Haase Just watched the trailer! Looks awesome!

A.b. Funkhauser Mine is a fiction with lots of dark humor. You have to laugh in grief or you stay in the pit.

Monique Nadeau Massabki I worked in funeral service for twelve years and I’m married to a funeral director…we’re all demented.

A.b. Funkhauser We’re always critical of own looks Margaret Madigan. You’re beautiful.

Wren Michaels I don’t think I’ve read a funeral director story. I’m intrigued…

A.b. Funkhauser I had a great time making the trailer Christine. The back door you see is from the funeral parlor I used to work at. I fell down those stairs a few times.

Wren Michaels I keep telling Margaret that but she never believes me. She’s beautiful!

Marissa Campbell A little about her book:

What’s a Heuer? Beyond a word rhyming with “lawyer,” Heuer the lawyer is a man conflicted. “Ever closer, ever farther, I will see you again one day, in the good place.”…See More

Wren Michaels The only funeral director story I know is My Girl and I loved that movie.

A.b. Funkhauser I know that if I don’t break from it every three months or so, I feel like breaking. That’s the work.

Margaret Madigan Funeral directors and the funeral industry is severely underrepresented in fiction…

Wren Michaels Wow I’m so in on this story. Sounds like quite a ride!!

A.b. Funkhauser I was also told at school to leave the work at the door. We all try to. Leave it at the door when we go home. But then, that’s when I started writing.

Monique Nadeau Massabki It’s almost impossible to leave that work at the door. However, I know that it’s great fodder for writing.

A.b. Funkhauser I think we’re underrepresented because of our mandate. We are tasked to protect our families–the deceased and the survivors. I chose fiction so that no one would ever think that I was writing about a real family. It’s important that everyone understand that first and foremost.

Marissa Campbell So, tell us a bit about Enid and Heuer.

Wren Michaels Writing is therapy.

A.b. Funkhauser Lol Monique. My husband and the majority of my friends are outside the business so that makes it a little easier for me. You on the other hand have it right next to you! xo

A.b. Funkhauser Enid and Heuer are wunnerful. Flawed, anxious, neurotic, selfish

A.b. Funkhauser It takes them forever to tell the truth.

A.b. Funkhauser The trouble is in parsing out what’s real and what isn’t How things were, how they are remembered and how they’ll be represented in future.

A.b. Funkhauser Enid and Heuer each have different recollections of the past. What is true, in the end, doesn’t matter at all.

Marissa Campbell Unreliable narrators … very awesome!

A.b. Funkhauser Well Marissa Campbell I was trying to keep it as true as possible. I’m turning 50 next week so thinking back 30 years is challenging.

A.b. Funkhauser My own life recollections are unreliable now.

Alison Cronyn-Murphy Sounds intriguing.

A.b. Funkhauser Intrigue is a part of it to be sure. There are paranormal elements and things that are outright whimisical. I have a rat character for example. He speaks Latin and is immensely charming.

Marissa Campbell Rat is very charming!

Marissa Campbell Where do you mine your ideas from?

Wren Michaels Happy early birthday!

A.b. Funkhauser There is a rich oral history in the business that is communicated from old timers to youngsters. I’m somewhere in the middle now. The stories I hear go back to the 1930s. Embalming without electricty (I did it once with a bulb syringe–tough on the hands) Amazing stuff. I want to tell these stories.

A.b. Funkhauser Thanks, Wren Michaels Being older has been key to my writing. I tried in my 20s, but it was awful stuff. I needed to live.

Margaret MacKay Hefferman Hey, a.b., how’s it going? Have I joined the party?

Marissa Campbell You certaninly have, Margaret!

A.b. Funkhauser I also needed miles in order to unpack my own personal tropes. Nostalgia as harmful is a big one with me. Go back by all means, but don’t stay too long.

A.b. Funkhauser Hi Margaret MacKay Hefferman Everyone, meet Margaret. She’s a book trailer genius.

A.b. Funkhauser I keep hitting the “refresh button.” I’m paranoid about missing comments.

Marissa Campbell What do you admire in Enid. What intrigues you about Heuer?

Monique Nadeau Massabki What are you drafting now, a.b.?

A.b. Funkhauser Who is Enid? She is a boozy funeral director, married with kids on the cusp of the change. Eeks. She wears man shoes to do her job and she has the whiskers to match

Margaret MacKay Hefferman Ah, shucks, t’weren’t nothin’.

A.b. Funkhauser HEUER is part of a series titled “Unapologetic Lives” I’m working on the fourth novel right now: POOR UNDERTAKER. It runs from 1947 to 1975.

Margaret MacKay Hefferman Isn’t a.b.’s book trailer great. You can see it on youtube if you haven’t seen it already. and don’t forget to like it as that will get more people to watch. The book trailer course was fantastic.

A.b. Funkhauser Heuer? That’s easy Marissa Campbell I’m intrigued because I’m in love with him. But the love is a guilty one. He is an anti hero in every sense. He likes deep fryers, longer hunting seasons, and hasn’t seen a vegetable in years. When he dies and reemer…See More

Marissa Campbell The trailer is fantastic Margaret! As is the book! I’ve had the pleasure of seeing the one and reading the other

Monique Nadeau Massabki Brilliant! Not just one novel about undertakers but an entire series. I have several (too many?) funeral director friends who will like this.

A.b. Funkhauser With Enid, there is a lot not to like. There may be times when you want to lock her in a closet. But I hope you understand her.

A.b. Funkhauser She and Heuer were lovers back in the 80s and it didn’t end well. Then one day, she comes into work, hungover, and sees his name on the chalk board. Her manager Charlie throws her the keys. She must go to the coroner’s office and get him. She is expected to embalm him too. That’s hard. It’s unthinkable.

A.b. Funkhauser Thanks Monique. Characters come and go. But the building remains. At one point it is sold. It becomes a Euro Style resto bar and grille.

Marissa Campbell It’s heartwrenching and tragic just reading it!

Margaret MacKay Hefferman Will this be a series?.

Marissa Campbell Do you use your reliable memory for visuals or do you seek out pinterest or movies or the internet to ‘create’ the visage of your characters?

A.b. Funkhauser What is love? They break up, yet when he dies, he comes back to her. I know some embalmers (not many) who have “cared” for their parents. For them, it is an ultimate act of love. I could never do that. But I wondered what that would feel like, and so, Heuer was born.

Margaret MacKay Hefferman Will Heuer remain as a character or will there be other dead characters. A.b. Funkhauser

Wren Michaels I love pnr books and this is a totally intriguing storyline out of the ordinary pnr style. Soundstage awesome.

A.b. Funkhauser I cast the “movie” in my head. I saw Leo DiCaprio at his various ages. But for voice and personalities, the characters are all composites of people I’ve known, or people I wanted to know. My friend Scooter believes he is Heuer. He isn’t. There is actually some of me in there.

Wren Michaels Darn you autocorrect!!!

A.b. Funkhauser Heuer returns Margaret MacKay Hefferman in book three: THE HEUER EFFECT. It’s 1980 and they’re alive and vital and young, doing terrible things to each other. And yes, Marissa Campbell it’s a little bit dirty.

Marissa Campbell lol your spelling doesn’t have to be perfect to earn you an entry Wren Michaels lol

A.b. Funkhauser Oh no Wren Michaels Slow down.

Margaret MacKay Hefferman What’s book 2 about?

Marissa Campbell lol A.b. Funkauser, I hadn’t even asked if it was dirty yet … how did you know?

Christine Haase How do you pronounce Heuer?

Wren Michaels I have a severe love/hate relationship with my smartphone

A.b. Funkhauser Book Two is called SCOOTER NATION. It takes place two years after Heuer Lost and Found. It’s the same gang at the parlor with a few notable exceptions. Essentially, they are part of a business community terrorized by a local gang of scooter bound octogenerians. The funeral home aligns with local businesses in self defense.

Robin Eastcott The book sounds fascinating — possible book club selection

A.b. Funkhauser Thank you Christine Haase for the million dollar question: Heuer, as in lawyer. Heuer the lawyer. And he was.

Monique Nadeau Massabki Bad ass scooter bikers. Brilliant!

A.b. Funkhauser Thank you Robin. My head is swelling…

Dawna Lovejoy Oh wow! What an intriguing story line.

A.b. Funkhauser Alma Wurtz and Edna Pounder can take out the nimblest. Those scooters boot at quite a clip.

Margaret MacKay Hefferman do you have a release date yet?

A.b. Funkhauser I actually snuck in a bathroom break *yay*

A.b. Funkhauser Yes! Releasing April 23, 2015 through Amazon andwww.solsticepublishing.com Both ebook and paperback. Presales begin March 26. I’ve got a lot of book selling to do. Whew!

Margaret MacKay Hefferman woohoo…only a few weeks to go. Will you have a launch party?

A.b. Funkhauser I have a blog too www.abfunkhauser.com

A.b. Funkhauser That has been a hoot and a holler too. I didn’t know I liked blogging until I tried it.

Marissa Campbell Rachael is up at 5:00pm EST

Dawna Lovejoy I’ve been told i should start a blog. How do you manage yours? Like do you have any problems with remembering to update it?

A.b. Funkhauser I’m definitely going to have a launch party at some point. You bet. I’m also going to have a FB event too. Marissa Campbell is an inspiration. I’m going to copy her idea.

Marissa Campbell A.b. Funkauser has offered an ADVANCED pdf version of her book Heuer Lost and Found … who wants it??

Monique Nadeau Massabki Thank you for sharing with us, A.B. You’re an inspiration.Marissa Campbell

A.b. Funkhauser HI Dawna. With the blog, I just jump in, but I only write when I feel the muse. I don’t have a theme per se. One day, I’m on about Leonard Nimoy, the next it’s my trip to the flea market. I refuse to put pressure on myself. It has to be fun, and it is.

Marissa Campbell Last minute to comment ….

Christine Haase Who are some of your favorite authors?

Dawna Lovejoy Thank you.

Monique Nadeau Massabki Who doesn’t want her book???!!

A.b. Funkhauser Kurt Vonnegut, Dr. Seuss, Saul Bellow, Marissa Campell,Wren Michaels and everybody here. You guys are great! xo

Dawna Lovejoy Want want

A.b. Funkhauser And I watch a lot of TV. TV is my university. xoxoxoxoxo

Margaret Madigan Me too! Lots of TV.

A.b. Funkhauser My head is ballooning. Thanks for having me Marissa Campbell You da best, sista.

A.b. Funkhauser I watch GIRLS and Doctor Who. I love The Affair, The Knick.

Marissa Campbell Drum Roll …

A.b. Funkhauser House of Cards and House of Lies work for me too. And yes, I own Six Feet Under, the box set.

Marissa Campbell DAWN LOVEJOY! You just won yourself a sneak peek!

Wren Michaels A.b. Funkhauser is awesome. Get this book!

Dawna Lovejoy Oh wow!!!! Thank you.

Marissa Campbell Send A.b. Funkhauser a private message! Give her your email and she’ll set you up! https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004110336663

Wren Michaels YAY Dawna Lovejoy you won!

A.b. Funkhauser Hey, Dawna!

Rachael Stapleton I’ve had the privilege of reading this book and it is amazing! Everything A.b. Funkhauser writes is gold!

Marissa Campbell For more on our wonderful guest … check out her blog, like her page, give her some author love!

www.abfunkhauser.comSee More

  1. B. Funkhauser, Author

Celebrating the publishing journey.

ABFUNKHAUSER.COM

Marissa Campbell Thanks so much A.b. Funkauser for coming out to play! xoxo

A.b. Funkhauser Love all. Time for more COFFEE……

A.b. Funkhauser I’ll be right back. xo

Rachael Stapleton I believe i’m on at 5 PM. I’m just driving home from the gym so fingers crossed. Otherwise I may need to pull over.

Patricia Anne Pierce-garcia Schaack From what I’ve read, your book sounds amazing. It’s on my reading list.

Nicki Lou Welcome!! It’s really interesting to here a bit of the story behind the author

Alison Cronyn-Murphy Definitely on my reading list. I am excited about the paranormal elements.

The COUNTDOWN PARTY CONTINUES UNTIL 8 PM EST SUNDAY, MARCH 8. Visit Marissa’s page and chat with other authors about their published works and works in progress. 😀

The Unvarnished Interview

In the spirit of brave self-promotion, I continue today’s post (see Heuer Advance Review) with an interview given by yours truly to the ever intrepid Bernard Foong. It’s another first for me, and another reason to do a victory lap around the neighborhood (after I shovel the sidewalk), because self promotion goes against everything I was taught growing up. Careers in politics, the car business and funeral service notwithstanding, I have managed to stay under the wire…until now.
Heuer, Heuer. What have you done?
  1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

That’s always a bit tough for me. I was raised in another time where shouting out accomplishments was

An expression of the author's feelings through a doppelganger.
An expression of the author’s feelings through a doppelganger.

considered rude. But I’ll try. I’m a Pisces that celebrates the Year of the Snake, but unlike dear vain snake, work extremely hard not to be mendacious. (Laughs) I have a furtive imagination, love art in all its forms, and cannot live without music playing somewhere in the background. If forced to choose between comedy and drama, comedy wins…every time.

  1. What do you do when you are not writing?

That’s easy! I’m outside. Unlike you, dear friend, I live in the four seasons (hint of jealousy here) and have the coats, boots and sunscreen that goes with them. I have a large wild flower garden that I tend in summer, and a very long driveway I shovel in winter. And I love classic cars, particularly those from the muscle era. Summer and autumn are for road tripping to see the shows. I try to get to the Woodward Dream Cruise in Detroit, Michigan every other year.

For a car enthusiast, Woodward is the Holy Grail.
For a car enthusiast, Woodward is the Holy Grail.
  1. Do you have a day job as well?

Yes, although I am on hiatus and that has paid off, as you see (big grin). I’m a funeral director, licensed to practice in Ontario, Canada. For me, it ranks as one of the best jobs I’ve ever had next to seeing to my family.

  1. When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?

I began writing in 2010 in response to the loss of a dear friend. In funeral service, the families we serve ask how to cope with the pain. One way to manage is to seek out others—groups, counselors—those who have walked in their shoes and really know how it feels. Another approach is to write a grief journal. My friend and I went through school together, and during that time we became sympats where comedy was concerned. We laughed at the same things. It didn’t take long for my journal to take a comedic turn before straying off into outright fiction. I finished Heuer five years later.

  1. How did you choose the genre you write in?

The characters decided it for me. They are bossy, incorrigible and I completely adore them. They were impossible to ignore.

  1. Where do you get your ideas?

I put a foot out the door and live day to day. You wouldn’t believe the kind of trouble you can get into at the grocery store.

  1. Do you ever experience writer’s block?

Absolutely, but it’s more likely because another story or character is nagging at me. My first teacher called this popcorn writing, where you just push away from the current project and go on a tangent with a wild horse scene. It’s exciting and informs the other projects.

  1. Do you work with an outline, or just write?

I mull for about a year, and then churn out the first draft during NaNoWriMo in November. I don’t plot per

I do on occasion take walks through cemeteries.
I do on occasion take walks through cemeteries.

se, but I do know where I’m going before I begin. This is also where some of those popcorn scenes find a home. After the first draft is complete, I return to the previous project in line to revise and refine. It’s a whole system that works for me. You see why I had to go on hiatus?

  1. Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

Absolutely everything Kurt Vonnegut ever wrote. From him and Dr. Seuss, I learned the value of having outrageous character names. My current fiction includes a hysteric named Sigrid Bork. I love her.

  1. Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?

I worried a lot about having one book followed by writer’s block to shut me down for good. So I decided to

Exteme excitement resulting in blurred vision.
Exteme excitement resulting in blurred vision.

get some manuscripts down—four to be precise—so that I’d have a body of work to play with when pitching to agents and publishers. The last four years were dedicated to pure creation without pressure to produce to a contract. It was sensational. During that time, I plugged into Twitter pitch parties on the recommendation of a writer friend, and that’s when things really started to happen. I queried, synopsized, wrote dozens of tag lines and met hundreds of amazing people who got me to Solstice Publishing. Now I have to learn about and engage in—boots first—marketing, which is very challenging because of the way I was raised (see question one). I’m enjoying Twitter parties and blogging. Frankly, I didn’t know I had it in me. A great surprise.

  1. If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?

Nope. It was all organic. I tripped, I fell, I studied, and I applied. I got better.

  1. How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?

It’s early in, so stats aren’t there, but I will direct a lot of applause to the writing groups I belong to—The Booklin 7, Writers Community of Durham Region, and amazing teachers at Writescape—for plugging me in with others dedicated to the same goals. Marketing is a learning curve and a steep one, so look to others engaged in the same activity; ask questions and try things on. Tweet, Tweet, Tweet. Blog, blog, blog, and follow your publisher and agent advice. Support other writers by reading their work, reviewing and attending their promotional events. If you want society to know about you, you must socialize.

  1. Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?

I love them all, but can only dedicate my energies to one at a time. The others? Their day will come.

  1. Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

Heuer Lost and Found is adult, unapologetic and cognizant with a hint of dark humor. At 237 pages, it is a

Everything is sentient; everything is a potential character--at least where I'm coming from.
Everything is sentient; everything is a potential character–at least where I’m coming from.

compact study that rocks ’n’ rolls with the help of an erudite Latin speaking rat and a wise-cracking floor lamp with ulterior motives. They’re off beat and badly needed to help my protagonists: a dead, unrepentant cooze hound lawyer, and his very much alive boozy lady undertaker who he used to know back in the Eighties.

  1. Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

I think all fiction is informed by real life experiences, but I have yet to meet sentient rats or floor lamps. (laughs) The funeral home in Heuer is actually a composite of four different establishments, none of which survives today. As to the characters, some guy buddies insist that they are Heuer, but they’re not. There’s actually a little of me in him, but I guess it’s to be expected if I’m the one behind the keyboard.

  1. What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

SPOILER: The very end, because it’s where the Kleenex box comes out. When that happened, I knew I’d got it right.

  1. How did you come up with the title?

From the short story. Heuer actually made it into three separate shorts before becoming a full-fledged novel character.

  1. What project are you working on now?

    POOR UNDERTAKER is the fourth in the series "Unapologetic Lives"
    POOR UNDERTAKER is the fourth in the series “Unapologetic Lives”

Poor Undertaker is next in the series, which tracks the ups and downs of the Weibigand Brothers funeral establishment. Its every bit as much a joy as the first, second and so on, because I see this remarkable building go through all its incantations. At one point, it’s actually bought up and is not a funeral parlor any more.

  1. Will you have a new book coming out soon?

We’re at least a year away, I think. Scooter Nation is next, but I’d like to give it another go over before setting it free.

  1. Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?

Absolutely. My series is non sequential, so the character that dies in one is born again in the next. They’re

SCOOTER NATION is the second in the series and is definitely more Gonzo in nature.
SCOOTER NATION is the second in the series and is definitely more Gonzo in nature.

never far away. There are a number of themes I return to, but some of my favorites include: the negative impacts of nostalgia; the problem with prying; insular people coming out into the light; finding kindness in peculiar places; and letting go of that thing you need so that you can keep it forever.

  1. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

I’m an upbeat person, so if I’m criticized, I turn it into a plus by learning something from it. The best compliment I ever had came from a teacher who said my voice was “strong and unusual”. That really made my day.

  1. Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

Get it all down before trying to make sense of it. It’s a journey and often a very long one. Enjoy every leg of it knowing that there’s more just ahead.

  1. Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?

Observe, listen, and do not ignore the excellence to be found on HBO, Netflix, Showcase, etc. This is your university.

Fin.