Local lawyer pens 2nd book

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Phenix City attorney Kenneth Funderburk, 81, releases second crime drama novel, ‘Medusa’s Lair,’ hopes to work on third book

By Denise DuBois

Kenneth Funderburk has practiced law in East Alabama for more than 50 years. While it wasn’t his first choice of profession, he certainly has stories he could tell from cases he’s tried over the years. Some of those he’s put in print.

“I applied for architectural school and law school,” Funderburk said. “It was going to take me a year longer to be an architect, so I became a lawyer. Architecture is not necessarily an artistic venture. While I like to paint, I don’t like to paint buildings. I went to law school and came back to practice here. I’ve been practicing since January 1965.”

Funderburk, 81, has a lifetime of experience and jobs. From directing and singing in choral groups, to serving in the medical core in the military, to practicing law, he seems to have done it all. His passion, though, comes from artistic expressions.

“I’ve been singing since I was seven or eight – mostly semi-classical and some opera. At this age, I don’t do the opera stuff. I’ve been painting since I was 13 and drawing since I can remember,” he said.

When he was a young boy, Funderburk recalled a carving at school that he was later made to sand off the desk and clean off.

“I carved a really nice carving on the school desk and at the end of the year, I had to clean it and sand the desk. I decided I better paint where I could save what I painted,” he said. But what was his carving? “It was a real nice modern design,” he laughed.

As for the things he paints now, you can see scenes of sailboats, landscapes, animals and portraits. Sea scenes are some of his favorites.

“We had a sailboat and during the summer for 30 or 40 days, we’d sail all over the Caribbean,” he said.

Those things came in handy when Funderburk sat to write his first book, The Fish House Gang.

“I was putting together my memoirs from sailing experiences and it was going to be about paintings I did on the trip. It got to be complicated and an editor suggested I take stories and put them into a novel, so that’s what I did. I found out it’s sort of fun,” he said.

Scenes in the book are from both his sailing experiences and cases he’s heard or tried. His first novel opens with a story taken from a true robbery from Pensacola, Fla. His second book, Medusa’s Lair, continues the story of The Fish House Gang’s character Chic Sparks. They are both full of crime drama with twists and turns. Medusa’s Lair took a year to write and Funderburk said he is planning a third book, one that will be a continuation of the second. It will be a crime drama, too, with philosophical flair.

“All the scenes are places I’ve been or things I’ve seen,” he said. As for putting his own cases in print, Funderburk said he has a few ideas, but they’ll have to wait. “The better ones I wouldn’t write about. I don’t want to talk too much about the living.” Funderburk’s novels can be found online at Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.