After an award-winning debut novel, a local author Karl Vonderau returns with his second thriller novel set in San Diego and Tijuana.
‘Saving Myles’ focuses on the gripping story of a troubled teenager whose vices endanger his life.
The story begins with a family split and a marriage broken up after Miles’ parents make the difficult decision to send their only son to a treatment center. Upon his return, Miles sneaks off to Tijuana to deal in drugs and is kidnapped.
“My writing motto is that behind every crime there is a family. said Mr.
Vonderau decided to set the story in both San Diego and Tijuana as he was able to conduct local expeditions to investigate. He was able to speak to two FBI agents, two Drug Enforcement Administration agents, and a previous kidnapping victim in the area.
“I know I wrote a lot of the dark side of Tijuana, but that’s how you write crime novels. I see a lot of beauty in Tijuana, too,” said Vonderau.
His first novel, Marderaviria, which focused on a serial killer father and how his actions punish his family, was published in 2019 and won the Left Coast Crime Award for Best Debut Mystery. It won the San Diego Book Award for Best Mystery/Suspense. This led him, after his 30 years of international experience in the United States, Latin America, Canada and North Africa, to quit his banking business and decide to become a full-time writer.
question: How did you come up with the idea for your latest novel Saving Miles?
answer: The most important thing for me in the crime element is that I have a family with problems to solve. On the other side, I’ve always wanted to write a book where sketchy banks exist, so I decided to take a small bank involved in the money laundering going on here in San Diego. And the third is that she decided to tie her troubled teens together for a troubled family.
question: Why was it so important to make the drug treatment center part of Miles’ backstory?
answer: Because that’s how Miles grows up and it’s how Miles gets closer to his family. He feels resentment towards them, yet he wants to get closer to them, and I love that kind of contradiction. He never admits to his father that the treatment center has done anything for him, but he always applies that lesson when faced with an outside threat.
question: Who is your favorite character to develop?
answer: Fiona [Myles’ mother] It was my favorite character to develop. In many ways, she was the most challenging. Because here is a woman who kicked her husband out of her house and embarked on an affair with a younger man. She’s battling with the treatment center, but I was really impressed with how close she feels to her son. And she changes and gains her power.
I had to do a fair amount of research on her character. For example, I read from Esther Perel’s book why people cheat and why women abandon their husbands and cheat. You can gain some empathy and understanding for her. And she turns out to be a pretty feisty character, and I like that.
question: What was it like to write the Miles character?
answer: I thought about how to write a teenage character. It’s been a while. While he wants to get along with his family, he also wants to be away from his family. He continues his own heroic journey.
question: What do you hope readers will learn from this book?
answer: I hope that families torn apart by external threats can reunite and understand that they can forgive and cherish each other. [and] And that heroism exists even in the most troubled teens and the most troubled marriages.
“Save Miles” by Carl Vonderau (Ocean View Publishing 2023; 336 pages)
Karl Vondereau and the book release of Saving Myles
when: Tuesday 7:30pm
where: Mr Warwick. 7812 Girard Ave, La Jolla
tickets: This event is free and open to the public. If you would like to reserve a seat, he will be guaranteed one seat for each novel you pre-order. $27.95 plus tax.