Friday, October 28, 2016

LIGHTS! CAMERA! CABLE! By A. B. Funkhauser

I’ve talked a lot about interview strategies for print, but it is only recently that I had to re-think everything for T.V. Yes! Nineteen months and two releases later, I got my shot at a cable interview, and the biggest challenge that came along with it was keeping my act together until show time.

Unlike social media where we can remain safe behind carefully crafted words and images, television offers few places to hide. Devoid of spell checks, search engines and photo app enhancements, it’s just you and the person asking the questions.

It’s daunting…and exciting.

The first thing I had to consider before even anticipating questions was how I would ‘present’ myself as a viable foreground to the material. As gonzo fiction pieces go, my novels offer up characters that exist completely outside the mainstream. Wild and uncompromising, they pursue agendas geared to their own narrow wants and desires. Image and ‘brand’ are of little consequence to them, which is why image and brand took a front seat in my interview prep.

What does a gonzo writer look like? Not suited to be sure. The late Hunter S. Thompson’s pith helmet and Ray-Ban 3138 Shooter sunglasses came to mind first and foremost, yet I knew I couldn’t rock that look — the helmet would flatten my hair and I wear prescription specs.

 I decided to pair my progressive bifocals, which also happen to be Ray-Bans, with some black leather and gray denim. A nice contrast to the set, a description of which was provided me by the show runner weeks in advance, the look was comfortable, polished, unthreatening and made me seem cool!

Looking half decent on camera goes a long way to confidence building, but so does anticipating what is to come well in advance. Great orators renowned for their eloquent “off the cuff” remarks often kept their shtick in their back pockets, meaning that they were rehearsed. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was famous for this, as was Canada’s own darling word acrobat Sir John A. Macdonald. John Kennedy was no slouch and neither was Caesar. I figured I could do that.

What is your book about? Who is your audience? What inspires you to write? are all pop faves for an interview, and I took great pains to know what I was talking about before I even said it.

I was very lucky in that I had a generous host who provided me with invaluable cues like “don’t look at the camera.” Recollections of celebrity interviews gone wrong also played heavily into my prep: “Don’t bounce up and down on the couch,” “Don’t gush,” “Keep your hands down,” and “Do not embrace the host” unless the host wants to be embraced, drummed their reminders right up to the moment of.

As best I can tell, I didn’t goof too much. While I still haven’t found a way to stop sweating (shiny face is a bane) I did manage to curb it with short sleeves and a lot of chats with myself in front of the mirror prior to show time.

Nerve-wracking, necessary and, ultimately, a lot of fun, television interviews are invaluable to helping authors CONNECT their work through ‘voice’ and ‘presence.’ For the first time, the book alone does not do the talking; its creator does.

Adult, unapologetic and wholly cognizant,
I am A.B. Funkhauser

The show TELLING STORIES WITH JULES CARLYSLE aired September 26, 2016. A studio approved link for promotional purposes has been provided for a term of one year by Durham Rogers Cable T.V. 


Scooter Nation
Unapologetic Lives
Book Two
A.B. Funkhauser

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

Book Description:

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.

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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 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.[1]
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.

[1] For a detailed history of the Weibigand-Seltenheit Wars, please see Poor Undertaker.

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, and Winner Best Humor Summer Indie Book Awards 2016, Metamorph Publishing, 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.”

Funkhauser is currently working on SHELL GAME, a subversive feline “whodunit” begun during NaNoWriMo 2015.


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Unknown said...

Thanks so much Roxanne for featuring me here in the Realm. You and your amazing team have done so much for me in terms of spreading the word and I am forever grateful. Don't forget to sign up for the draw! xo ABF