1) SCOOTER NATION is quite a title. What does it mean?
The novel on surface is about a group of people linked by community, but separated by competing interests. Alliances are made and broken and, of course, only one can win. The ‘Scooter’ in the title refers a person, Scooter Creighton, as well as the vehicles the aggressive protagonists roar around on while they’re wreaking havoc. The two—man and machine--are not always on the same side.
2) So this is Spec Fiction? Thriller? Crime-Thriller?
Crimes are definitely committed, but more in the white collar vein. The thirst for land and the desire for status and legitimacy will drive the characters to do terrible things; all for what they believe is for the common good.
3) Altruism through dishonesty?
In a way. Whether they know it or not, the characters are trying to reconcile their competing interests in an effort to get to the middle ground—the old ‘end justifying the means’ cliché, which I happen to be a big fan of in literature. The funeral home employees like the status quo, and they dedicate their energies to preserving it. No pun intended there, by the way. Preservation is just one part of what a funeral director does on the job, but I do try to draw a line between the embalmer’s work and the characters’ overall attitude towards the environment around them. It must be protected, preserved for all time.
4) Who are the main characters in the novel?
Scooter Creighton is a long practicing funeral director married to ‘traditional’ funeral practices which are disappearing to his chagrin. Big caskets, churches and motorcades are being replaced by direct cremation, memorial services and customized receptions styled by the client families. Scooter struggles inwardly with these changes, which he resists largely out of a fear of the unknown.
Carla Moretto Salinger Blue is Scooters subordinate but in reality acts as the senior embalmer. Their work life is under threat from a powerful corporate entity that seeks to remake Weibigand Bros. over in its own image. Carla and Scooter despise the move and seek to undermine it. I love Carla for her tenderness and malice. She is driven by revenge and she is bogged down, battling protracted complicated grief from the death of a beloved pet.
Jocasta Binns is the undisputed power behind the throne when it comes to running Weibigand Brothers Funeral Home. She has big ideas where modernization is concerned, but she has to overcome closed minds and decades of resentment from her older half brothers.
Alma Wurtz is the leader of the not so banal Beehive Gang, which divides its time between ransacking local establishments and spying on everyone else’s business. A great deal of the comedy comes from Alma, although Scooter has some choice one liners.
Hamsi Jalaluddin Haq is the owner of the Take It And Go convenience store adjacent the funeral home. Linked by a parking lot, Hamsi has a lot in common with Carla and Scooter in that he is often put upon
by others. As a war survivor, he is tougher than he looks and is often the voice of reason in the thick of crisis.
Robert Stache-Martin is the unseen bogeyman in the drama. He heads up a fitness empire beloved in North America. His ‘There is no half way, only all the way’ ethos is curiously in line with everything the funeral directors believe, yet his arrival in their quiet corner of Michigan is the last straw that sets off a high stakes rebellion that will leave some people very dead.
5) When does the book come out?
I hoped to have it out by my birthday, March 13, but my Editor in Chief says that might not be possible, in which case it might be later in the month or the first week of April. It’s releasing as an ebook first on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and the publisher’s site www.Solsticepublishing.com.
6) Is this a sequel to HEUER LOST AND FOUND?
SCOOTER NATION is my second novel and, like HEUER, is part of the series UNAPOLOGETIC LIVES. UL examines complex relationship between bosses and coworkers; neighbors and strangers; the able and unable to name a few. What likes HEUER and SCOOTER are some shared characters and the funeral home proper. The building, in fact, is a character on its own, spanning above seventy years of history from the first book to the last.
7) How many books do you have planned?
I thought seven at first, but it’s beginning to look more like nine. People working towards achieving a balance between ‘what is’ and ‘what it should be’ never gets old for me. Plus funeral service has a rich a history not often spoken of because of the confidentiality component built in to every aspect of what we do. So I could probably write for ever on the subject, but most likely won’t. I let the characters decide where I go next.
8) So you take direction from your characters? Do you plot your books before trying the first draft?
Yes and know. I spend a lot of time mulling things over before I actually sit down at the keyboard and try the first draft (which is so exhilarating once I finally get to it). I keep character ideas and story elements in subject specific folders, along with any popcorn scenes (my sparkling diamonds) that come to mind in the course of the mulling process. Conjuring up something new usually takes a year, which is fine with me because the rest of the year is spent on refining, editing, publishing and then PROMOTING.
9) Are you a big fan of promotions? Not everybody seems to embrace it as enthusiastically as you do.
I think I was a Mad Man in another life because tweeting and tag lines seem to be my thing. I also like to design blip ads http://abfunkhauser.com/blip-ads/ and blog. Blog, blog, blog. Can’t stress enough the importance of blogging. I think we’re all pretty sure that E.L. James’ success with FIFTY SHADES OF GREY came in no small part from her website and fan blogs. And that makes sense. Writer’s need an audience;
new writers get their audience from twitter followers, facebook friends and through guest blogging. Oh, yes, and book reviews! Karmically I believe that we must read others in order to get read ourselves. We learn so much from our colleagues, and I like saying so through the reviews I do. It’s probably the altruist’s best way to get heard and do some good all at the same time. It’s a win, win.
From the author of HEUER LOST AND FOUND
In a gonzo land:
A city divided;
A community under seige;
And the death of a beloved.
What will it take to right the wrongs?
A line in the pavement.
All things are equal now.
From Solstice Publishing