By Hoa Quach
San Diego resident Carl Vonderau has always loved books. As a child growing up in Ohio, Vonderau read page-turners every night. But, it wasn’t until after a long career in banking that he would release his first novel.
Vonderau is the author of the recently released, “Murderabilia,” a thrilling page turner that tells the story of banker William McNary. McNary also happens to be the son of a man who killed 13 women and documented the murders through photos.
The book, released this month to stellar reviews from fellow authors, took years in the making and hours of research, Vonderau said.
Vonderau said he took classes at night and on the weekends to develop himself as a writer. Just four years ago, he began penning his first novel under the guidance of Jacquelyn Mitchard, the author of “The Deep End of the Ocean.”
“It was a process,” Vonderau said. “I revised (the novel) more than 20 times.”
To create his debut novel, Vonderau said he intertwined his skills in writing with the knowledge he developed from the banking world.
“I wanted to set the novel in the financial industry because it was a world I knew,” Vonderau said. “My whole career was in banking, and I worked in several different countries. My last jobs involved serving high net worth clients. That made me wonder what secret a banker in that milieu might carry.”
But, Vonderau took his research one step further by tapping into the lives of real-life serial killers and their victims. He investigated Dennis Rader, known as the BTK Strangler who killed 10 people in Kansas from 1974 to 1991, and Keith Jesperson, the Happy Face Killer who killed eight women in the 1990s.
“I also researched the lives of the children of other infamous killers like Charlie Manson, Ted Bundy, Edward Wayne Edwards, Mickhail Popkov, and John Allen Muhammed,” Vonderau said. “All these poor kids had their lives torn apart when their fathers were arrested. The guilt and public shaming were overwhelming. Yet most of them still felt love for their fathers.”
Vonderau said he hopes the readers of his book will be able to learn about the victims of the serial killers, especially their children.
“I hope that they will step into the shoes of the child of a serial killer,” Vonderau said. “These people are also victims of their fathers — and sometimes their mothers. In the end, my characters must not only forgive their parents but themselves for not stopping what those parents have done. I want readers to see that behind the crimes are real families trying to survive.”
Vonderau said he also hopes to give back to the community through his work. Active in various charities such as the Partners in Crime and the YMCA, Vonderau is partnering with other authors to donate books to Traveling Stories, a nonprofit that encourages children to read.
While he promotes “Murderabilia” and volunteers in the community, Vonderau is working on his second novel, which he hopes to complete this year. But, he’s in no hurry to complete his next book, and he encourages budding writers to also take their time.
“Don’t be in a hurry to publish your book,” Vonderau said. “Writing that seems brilliant today will look like it needs a lot of work next week.
“Tenacity is more important than talent.”
Vonderau will be signing copies of his book at Mysterious Galaxy at 5943 Balboa Ave. from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.
For more information about Carl Vonderau, go to carlvonderau.com. “Murderabilia” is available wherever books are sold.
>> Subscribe to Times of San Diego’s free daily email newsletter! Click hereFollow Us: