Being a writer was always in the back of his mind. An injury to his actual back got Kevin Symmons to do it.
Symmons, who lives in Plymouth and on Cape Cod, was in his early 50s when he retired as president of Symmons Industries in 2011. He’d written stories since his youth, once winning a writing award as a Northeastern University student.
“When I retired, I wanted to ski the Alps and break 80 at golf,” Symmons said. “Well, nine days later, I fractured a disk in my back and was laid up for months.”
That’s when his wife stepped in, plunking a laptop before him.
“She said, ‘You always wanted to write, so write,’ ” Symmons said. “So I did.”
He found a publisher, Wild Rose Press, and was off and running, publishing his first book, “Rite of Passage,” in 2012. A novel about the paranormal, it went on to become a 2013 RomCom Reader’s Crown finalist and Amazon bestseller.
He published two more, “Out of the Storm” and “Solo,” before his fourth book, “Chrysalis,” was released in late July. As with most of his books, “Chrysalis” features local settings, including a horse farm in Mattapoisett.
“That book is set in summer 2001, just before the terrorist attacks in September,” Symmons said. “It’s about an equestrian woman with low self-confidence, and the hero is a Harvard athlete visiting her family. It’s a contemporary romantic thriller.”
As a young fan of World War II heroics, Symmons wrote his first short story at age 11 about a PT boat, he said.
He loved his writing teachers in his youth, but in college realized it would be hard to make a living with words. He opted for business management, and got his master’s degree in business administration at Babson College.
Now in his second act as a writer, Symmons is also helping others. He served four terms as president of the Cape Cod Writers Center, and teaches at Massasoit Community College. But he still has not skied the Alps or broken 80 at golf.
“Nope, neither one,” he said with a laugh. “But the writing is working out.”Paul E. Kandarian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.