Interview with S.J. Wardell

Today, S.J. Wardell is here to talk about his novel, Infinite Retribution. First, let's take a look at the back-cover blurb for the book...

There’s a code of honour among London criminals: you don’t grass, you respect turf boundaries and you never, ever do any deal without Harry “The Bastard” Rose’s approval.

Harry Rose rules supreme but there are a few new faces in town that need to be taught a lesson – the hard way. They may be big fish in their own ponds, but not here in his manor. From Pakistanis selling porn in Kingsbury, to South Africans and Albanians dealing diamonds in Knightsbridge, everyone doing their dirty business in his capital needs to respect his rules.

If keeping on top of the new gangsters, terrorists and police in the capital is not enough to deal with, his own daughter has just pulled off the biggest scam of her con-artist career; although she fled with £4.5million, she’s wanted by some very wealthy, angry people who will stop at nothing to make an example of her.

Can Harry keep her safe, or more importantly alive?

Tricia: Welcome, S.J. Please tell us a little about yourself.

S.J.: I’m married with two children – I have been writing for years, though only decided to make my arrival official about eight years ago after I finished my degree in Prose Fiction Writing and Journalism. When I’m not doing author work, I love to read, but I also enjoy watching football, (soccer to my friends across the pond.) Originally from North London so my team has to be Arsenal.

Tricia: When did you begin writing?

S.J.: Wow, this would only be a guess… It must have been once I decided that I wanted to write for a living, so it would be in the early 2,000’s when I started my degree.

Tricia: Can you tell us about your most recent publication?

S.J.: I’d love to… Infinite Retribution is a story about a female con-artist who bites off more than she can chew and gets in over her head. The person she rips off, a South African businessman, he finds out she has double crossed him and wants both his money back and her; no secret of what he has in mind for her… The woman in question is Debbie Carter – Elsewhere Harry Rose runs London from his crime lord ivory tower. Here’s their link; Harry is Debbie’s father – Debbie uses her mother’s maiden name. Now back to the story… There are also so many different sub-plots going on in the background with all of them entwined. With the arrival of so many new faces, Harry wants to know who’s trying to step on his toes in his manner. Violence is a plenty, with the writing being very graphic; I must say that my style is not for those looking for “Pink and Fluffy crime fiction.” I write with a very raw edge. I hope that the massive twist at the end catches you all off-guard…

Tricia: How did you get the idea for the book?

S.J.: I decided that after writing my first book, I wanted to write something in the same genre, but completely different. You see my first book is about a serial killer who doesn’t kill – Now that’s got you guessing. So my second book needed to be about something else; I thought of many crazy ideas. I was reading a story online about internet fraudsters and then all of a sudden I got to thinking about confidence tricksters, then the film “Catch Me If You Can” found its way in… I laughed because I always had one of the main characters as a woman as I knew this would give my story-base a raw edge.

Tricia: What was the most challenging aspect of writing your novel?

S.J.: That’s an easy question; it has to be the research… I think that when one writes a novel that includes such a variety of cultures with such a diverse mix of criminal activities, accuracy is critical. With the main focus being set around a dozen fake diamonds, I had to research how a person would firstly create as close as possible match to the original stone, but most importantly, it was crucial for me to be educated in how someone would be able to notice a fake. Forgers are now known as “Master Forgers,” therefore, are the best in what they do – Off to diamond faking school I went...

Tricia: Of all your characters, which one is your favorite? Why?

S.J.: Am I allowed to have a favorite? Well they’re all real to me… Since you’ve asked the question, I suppose I’d better answer it. For me the character I enjoyed the most has to be Lance; I hope you’ll see why as you get to know him.

Tricia: Which character was the most challenging to write?

S.J.: That’s easy; Chief Inspector Frank Busman – What a character is all I’m willing to say about this man.

Tricia: Which authors have inspired your writing?

S.J.: David Morrell, Arthur Miller, William Golding, Dan Brown and too many others for me to reel off.

Tricia: What projects are you currently working on?

S.J.: I’ve recently sent the completed manuscript over to my publisher for the sequel to my first book, you know, the serial killer who doesn’t kill? Due for release in the next two months, give or take. I have started to write a hooligan based crime novel, with the story focusing around a single character, written as if he is telling the story. I have others on the back burner but sadly I can only write one at a time.

Tricia: If your book was ever made into a movie, which actors and actresses would you cast?

S.J.: I have had this very conversation with my wife and we had to agree that Ray Winstone would have to play Harry. As for Lance we thought about Marc Warren and David Tennant would be a good fit for Alistair Azzam. After scratching our heads to the point where we almost caused splinters, neither of us could place the right fit for Debbie Carter.

Tricia: How do you handle unfavorable reviews?

S.J.: I laugh them off most of the time – We all have a right to our opinion…

Tricia: If you were stranded on a desert island and could only have five books with you, which books would you choose?

S.J.: That’s a tough question but here goes; First Blood by David Morrell, Death Of A Salesman by Arthur Miller, Lord Of The Flies by William Golding, and The Da Vinci Code plus Angels and Demons by Dan Brown.

Tricia: What songs/artists are on the playlist for your book?

S.J.: I’ve not really thought about a playlist if the book ever made the big screen, but here goes… Bad Mans Song by Tears For Fears as the signature tune, with Psycho by D12 and maybe Diamonds by Rihanna.

Tricia: Do you have any special skills, education, or hobbies that enhance your writing abilities?

S.J.: For the education part I have a degree in Prose Fiction Writing and Journalism. Hobbies include; I am an avid people watcher, they fascinate me. I have read a heck of a lot of books and I love films, mainly crime fiction but I do also enjoy reading real crime.

Tricia: What advice would you offer to new or aspiring authors?

S.J.: It’s a marathon and not a sprint; take your time, attend writing workshops and try talking to more experienced authors, we were once where you are, so fully understand your questions and we are here to offer our advice and support where we can.

To learn more about Infinite Retribution, please click on the following links:

Purchase a copy on Amazon (UK)
Purchase a copy on Amazon (USA)
Follow SJ Wardell on Twitter
Visit SJ's Facebook Page


  1. Great interview! I am curious to find out how a serial killer kills without killing....

  2. There's only one way to find out Alana.

    The sequel to The Ultimate Selection, titled Selected Penance is now available, so you can read one after the other.

    Happy reading, and thank you for your comment.


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