Local Author Spotlight: Kevin V. Symmons Reveals How Writing Became His “Second Act”

Author Kevin Symmons

Have you always enjoyed writing?

Yes. I wrote my first “short story” when I was 11! But like many I took the road more traveled and got a BS and MBA then worked in industry for many years.

What inspired you to start writing novels? 

I had the good fortune to leave my business at an early age. Our children were raised, and my wife and I wanted to travel. I suffered a serious back injury that put those plans in jeopardy, so my wife suggested I try writing. I had no desire to do a “how to” book so I tried my hand at novels.

Do you have a writing routine?

I’m a night-person by nature. So I write mid to late evening. I will often write till 2 or 3 in the morning. I am not as disciplined as I should be but try to write at least a couple of hours a day. In our Plymouth home we have a study and I write there. We do go to the Cape and Florida in season and have places in both those homes as well.

How many books have you published to date?

I have published five novels to date. All with my small New York publisher; “Rite of Passage,” “Out of the Storm,” “Solo,” “Chrysalis” and “Eye of the Storm.” I am currently working on my latest project titled, “The Girl on the Balcony.”

How would you describe your most recent book, “Eye of the Storm”? 

“Eye of the Storm is a romantic thriller, a sequel to my 2013 novel “Out of the Storm.” The majority of novels are romances, mysteries, or thrillers, so when I began writing I used that as a template. Writing, as I tell my students, is a business, so a successful author needs to deliver what the reader wants. I’ve found I enjoy writing romantic thrillers.

What publishing approach did you choose and what inspired you to go this route? 

I chose to submit to traditional publishers. I joined a critique group with some talented fellow writers, all of whom submitted to traditional publishers. I also was fortunate to be mentored by a few very successful authors, so submitting to a self-publisher was never really an option.

You often set your stories in New England? Are there any local spots that readers might recognize in this book? 

Most certainly! Everywhere from Logan Airport to Route 3 South! Much of the action takes place around the Bass River in West Dennis, where our summer home is located. I use numerous local spots—restaurants, beaches, and hotels—in my settings.

Where on the South Shore do you live?

My wife and I have lived in Plymouth for more than 16 years. I also grew up on the South Shore. We are fortunate to have a home on Cape Cod and a small one in Florida, but the South Shore will always be home.

How important do you think independent bookstores are in supporting a love of literature in our local communities?

Very much. They provide an opportunity for local authors to speak with readers and give the reading public an opportunity to learn how authors develop their craft. 

I know you previously served as the President of the Cape Cod Writers Center. What do you enjoy most about being a part of this organization?

I attended my first CCWC writing conference at the Craigville Conference Center more than 16 years ago. I met several authors and instructors who remain friends today. As the years passed the classes and events I attended and the relationships I made helped make me learn and develop my craft. 

What advice would you give to people who are considering embarking on their “second act” and want to write a novel?

Learn the craft. Everyone who wants to write and publish a novel needs to hone their skills by reading, writing, and attending every class, workshop and conference they can. Find a good group to critique your work and never give up! Everyone I know who has succeeded in publishing a novel has had many setbacks and rejections. Success will come if you keep working at it.

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