Today I’d like to welcome “brilliant and wacky writer” A.B. Funkhauser, author of Heuer Lost and Found.
Can you give us your quickest description of your book?
I write gonzo mortuary revenge fiction with a hint of pas de deux.
That’s one I’ve never heard before! What is involved in this genre/kind of writing?
Gonzo journalism was pioneered and advanced by the late great Hunter S. Thompson of Rolling Stone Magazine fame. The basic tenet of gonzo is to shine a light on something that is held near and dear and make it more accessible through HUMOR. These can be cherished moments, sacred cows, or pet peeves, which means the gonzo is free to wander through both positive and negative territory. Because subtext is as important as story in gonzo, something greater than the action is featured. More often the hero must win, or the joy is lost; hence, the revenge element. My characters aren’t murderous as a rule, but they are mendacious. Stealing someone’s legacy is not above them because, chances are, they’ve already climbed the mountain. And like all humans, there is a powerful love/attachment component at play with the characters. They strive for people and things—stuff– all for the greater good and at whatever cost. Most of the time, they get away with it without filters and with plenty of laughs.
What are you working on currently?
A contemporary whodunnit from the pov of a cat.
I don’t see how that couldn’t be hilarious. 🙂 How do you get into the mind of a cat?
I share a wandering kitty with people who live six doors up from me. Because he is an occasional visitor and because he chose me, I cherish his time more so than I would any other feline. He is pure spirit: keen, intelligent, self-centered and incredibly selfish. I adore him and he knows it. He is my muse and as such, I’ve had the opportunity to spend hundreds of hours with him. I fancy he thinks me foolish, sitting in doors all day at a keyboard when I could be outside playing. That was the germ of the idea for the story. He knows more than I do because he gets out there and he lives. Because I do not speak his language and my human arrogance presupposes that he can’t ever understand mine, I’ve assigned a brilliance to him that I, quite frankly, hope is real. He’s glaring at me right now, debunking everything I’ve just said with his amazing green eyes. I mean, how could I help but let my imagination run amok.
Haha. What is your favorite scene you’ve written? Can you give us a peek?
Carlos the Wundercat is taken hostage by a feline fetishist sex cult bent on recreating Stanley Kubrick’s EYES WIDE SHUT. The cat is not impressed:
Though not big on the arts, the cat had a certain fondness for T.V., watching and liking to his great surprise, a good deal of what his keepers selected for him. Though his experience with the work of Kubrick was limited—he nodded off through Clockwork Orange—the strange behavior of the humans in Eyes Wide Shut was another matter entirely. The scenes with the mopey red haired woman, he had to admit, were a bit of drag; but the colorful characters her squat little husband played with were something else.
These humans wore masks too, obscuring what were probably facial features of little worth. Their bodies, once unshrouded, offered an array of tattoos and piercings. Many were on the heavy side, their adipose jiggling with the multitudes that tried to copulate in interesting ways. Nothing at all like Eyes Wide Shut which supported a kind of aesthete that was both elegant and worshipful, this sexy orgy party tried way too hard to be what it clearly was not.
Film analysis by feline. I like it. Your whole concept is so unique – What gave you this idea?
Pets, by fiat of municipal bylaws, must never roam outdoors because the freely and democratically elected officials who make these laws believe that every aspect of our existence must be regulated and controlled. Kitties, like humans, make messes, cross paths, sound out, get involved, act independently, damage property, confer love, grant attention, and make a difference in the lives they touch. We can’t have that! That would be just C R A Z Y.
What is one bit of advice you’d like to share with writers?
Never sit down cold in front of an empty screen. Experience begets scenes; mulling over the experience well in advance of the sit down begets excellent scenes.
That’s a good point. Do you collect ideas in your head until you have quite a storage of ideas and then write like crazy, then? Or do you do bits and pieces as scenes come to you?
I have a staggered work schedule that allows me to wall off whole chunks where I write new material only. This is the time where I go off the grid and I love it. In order to get ready for these sessions, I go about my business the rest of the year editing, revising, revisiting, submitting, blogging, reviewing, and promoting. In the course of all that activity, something usually sparks…a tag line or tweet worthy 140er that makes me howl! I get it down in a folder and wait for more to come. Pop scenes, my shining diamonds, are among the richest. By the time November comes ‘round I’m ready to NaNoWriMo, beginning with that first sentence, which is usually the first thing I think of 10 or 11 months before. Also, I almost always have the book blurb down before I write a single line of the story.
That’s quite the process. Who inspires you to write?
Not who, but what? And the answer is time. Entering into the back half of my life I’ve experienced an incredible freedom of expression that I’ve never had before. Throughout our lives, we are bound by ordering principles set down in law and societal conventions. These we stick to, to make a life for ourselves and to assist in the lives of others we help to shape. A nd it’s a good thing: without coordinated guidelines, there would be chaos. After fifty years of toeing the line, I’ve found an outlet where I don’t have to and that is writing. My characters routinely wander off, saying and doing unexpected things with complete impunity and often with comic results. I just love that. But I must hurry so that I can get everything down in time. Tic toc, tic toc.
Writing can be incredibly freeing from all the “normal” things of real life. I applaud you for being brave enough to take the step of indulging in this outlet! If you’d written in earlier life, how do you think your writing would’ve been different? (Or, if you did write earlier, how has your writing changed?)
My writing is funnier because I’m older and am finally incapable of taking myself seriously.
Thanks, A.B., for sharing!