IIt’s a busy week for us here at Burning Chair – our second release of the week is a cracker – if you’re a fan of Wilbur Smith, Clive Cussler and Bernard Cornwell, then you’re going to love The Retribution by Mike Wardle.

The Retribution is published on 2 June 2022, and to warm ourselves up for the launch, we decided to find a bit more about the man behind the story: Mike Wardle.

Tell us a bit about yourself – how did you start writing and why?

My parents were school teachers and lovers of travel. They took on teaching contracts in a lot of different places. As a result, when my sisters, brother, and I were young, we moved around a lot as a family. A few of the places we called home were remote Australian islands and the cities of Indonesia.

I suppose that is how I developed a keen sense of adventure and a love of adventure stories.

The reason for writing was really because I had a story in my head and I wanted to get it out. Simple as that really. Sometimes you wish the ending of a book or movie played out differently. When I started writing, I had control over the characters journeys and the direction of the story. I really liked that. However, I wasn’t prepared for how much I would enjoy the process.

With no spoilers, tell us a bit about The Retribution and what prompted you to write it.

The story is set in the mid 1700’s and follows Caleb, a low born, working class boy who belongs to a rich estate in England. He is caught in a lovers tryst with the daughter of the estates owner and is sent off to sea to work on the merchant ship ‘The Retribution.’

Rumours of a Spanish Treasure Fleet fortune, thought to be found, surface, and spread quickly through taverns and ports, to the ears of power hungry men. Caleb is caught in the crossfire of these rumours unawares and now must survive and grow up on the trade routes of the Atlantic, taking him to different continents, new worlds and crossing paths with slavers, explorers, murderers, and warriors. Who or what will he become?

The book has a lot of great historical detail – did you have to do a lot of research for it?

Yes! A lot of research. I would say as much time spent reading, researching and learning as there was writing.

Are any of the characters based on anyone you know?

Unfortunately, not. Though I think there are traits in a few characters that we all would like to have and some in others that we definitely do not want.

The Retribution is set in the adventurous world of the new world and the high seas, who are your favourite authors in this genre?

Wilbur Smith would be my favourite historical fiction / adventure author. Bernard Cornwell would be right up there as well.

Tell us about your writing routine and where you tend to write

Usually, it is on the couch or in bed at night. I will usually read back over the last couple of chapters, do any research or reading to get that in my head and then write the next chapter.

My chapters are not long and I like to keep the story moving through multiple characters and different perspectives so to write a whole chapter is not a terrifying prospect.

How did you find the editing and publication process?

Very happy with the process. I liked how I sometimes challenged the feedback from the editorial team and Burning Chair stood its ground with great reasoning to back the suggestions. It showed me that Burning Chair was really behind the book and genuinely want to see it succeed.

The cover looks great – what was your first impression of it?

I really like the cover. Clear and bold. The imagery is a great representation of the story inside. Thanks Burning Chair!

What’s next in the pipeline for you?

There will be a sequel to ‘The Retribution‘, which I am currently working on now. There are a few other ideas for a new project rolling around in the head as well.

What is your best kept secret?

Well… That’s a secret.

QUICK FIRE ROUND (One or two word answers only):

Plotter or pantser? – Pantser

Sharpe or Shogun? – Sharpe

Pen or Keyboard? – Keyboard

Character or Plot? – Both

Early bird or night owl? – Early bird

Crossword or Sudoko? – Sudoko

Sausage or bacon? – Definitely both

Asking questions or answering questions? – Answering questions… I think.


The Retribution is published by Burning Chair on 2 June 2022. You can find out more by clicking here, or get your copy by clicking here!

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