From Plastics to Prose the Journey of Kyle Fisher

A Retired Engineer’s Transition into the World of Storytelling

Kyle Fisher discusses his transition from engineer to author, the historical inspirations behind his novels, and offers advice for aspiring writers pursuing creative passions later in life.

Kyle Fisher’s journey from plastics engineer to accomplished author is a testament to the power of passion and perseverance. Initially balancing his engineering career with a fledgling interest in writing, Fisher carved out time to nurture his storytelling skills despite the demands of work and family life. Over two decades later, he has retired from engineering, dedicating himself fully to his literary pursuits.

Fisher’s acclaimed Memorabilia Trilogy seamlessly blends historical events with gripping mystery and adventure, reflecting his deep-rooted fascination with World War II history, inspired by his father’s service in the war. His methodical approach to research ensures an authenticity that draws readers into his meticulously crafted worlds.

Beyond historical fiction, Fisher’s diverse hobbies, such as axe throwing and motorcycle riding, infuse his stories with vibrant, real-world details, enriching the reader’s experience. His transition from a structured career in engineering to the imaginative realm of writing serves as an inspiration for aspiring writers, demonstrating that it’s never too late to pursue one’s creative passions.

In this interview, Fisher delves into the inspirations behind his characters, the intricacies of his research process, and offers sage advice to those looking to embark on their own literary journeys. His story is a compelling reminder that the pursuit of passion can lead to unexpected and fulfilling destinations.

Your background in engineering and plastics is quite different from the world of writing and storytelling. What inspired you to transition from a career in engineering to becoming an author?

I’ve always been a reader, mostly of science fiction. From a love of reading sprang the inspiration to create my own stories. I would have enjoyed a seamless transition from engineer to writer but that was not meant to be. The writing bug didn’t bite until later in life, while finishing my BS during evening classes, where two separate professors complimented and encouraged my writing. At that time, family and bill-paying obligations required a reliable income, so I kept my job as a plastics engineer and carved out just two hours a day to write. This was over twenty years ago and I’ve just recently retired to devote more time to it.

Your novels, particularly the Memorabilia Trilogy, blend historical events with mystery and adventure. What sparked your interest in incorporating elements of history into your fiction, and how do you approach researching historical details for your books?

My father served in World War II and, because of this, I’ve always been intrigued by WWII history. I like to incorporate as many true elements of history into a story as possible to lend it that air of authenticity. I think it helps keep the reader from coming out of the story due to disbelief, which is always a strong possibility with science fiction. Research for this kind of authenticity is just as you’d imagine: dozens of non-fiction books, hundreds of websites, and painstaking research for the smallest details. For example, I discovered a little-known fact that Utah Beach was a last-minute addition to the D-Day invasion lineup and made it a plot point in Memorabilia.

Your protagonist, Sean Barrick, embarks on a journey that involves time travel, art heists, and intrigue. What inspired the creation of Sean’s character, and how do you develop complex characters like him throughout your series?

Sean’s character in Memorabilia, (along with the novel itself)was inspired by the true story of photographer Robert Capa and his lost photographs from the D-Day invasion. It’s a fascinating story and I wanted Sean to have Capa’s same sense of daring for going toward the danger, not away. This resulted in giving him a former career as a police officer along with a murky past. The rest of his development came from a character personality profile I create to add depth. Lastly, my wife tells me he has my sarcasm, but I think that’s just a natural offshoot of the writing process. I don’t know about other writers but I tend to incorporate elements of myself in most of my characters without really knowing it.

In your novel “JUDITH,” you delve into the life of an intriguing historical figure. What drew you to Judith’s story, and how do you balance historical accuracy with creative storytelling when exploring real-life events and characters?

Judith was another novel that required an extraordinary amount of research. My fascination with this nearly unknown story of one of the first women’s empowerment advocates began with a desire to learn more about the history of England and the progression of the royal lines. I found a podcast and listened faithfully up to the rise of Alfred the Great, but was so enamored with the story of Judith, stepmother to young Alfred, that I stopped listening to the podcast and started working on a book about her. This story takes place twelve-hundred years ago and details are sparse, to say the least. Where I was unable to incorporate recorded events into the story, I turned to research to fill in the many holes. Some details from that era just can’t be known, and that’s where one must simply make it up in a believable way. I gave one older character arthritis because why wouldn’t he have it?

Your hobbies include axe throwing, motorcycle riding, and traveling. How do these experiences influence your writing, and do you find inspiration for your stories during your adventures?

If any of my outside interests have inspired my writing, it must have been subconsciously. The search for my next great story is always going on in my head but I don’t feel like an active participant in the process until it “clicks.” Then I frantically search for a piece of paper or open my Notes app to record it. I think what my travels have done for me is add some color and richness in the background details of certain stories. A long-ago family vacation over spring break to our capital, Washington D.C., provided not only some education for the kids but a wealth of local background for Projekt Half Light, which takes place in D.C.

As a retired engineer turned author, what advice would you give to aspiring writers who may be hesitant to pursue their creative passions later in life?

I’ll be honest, if you’ve reached retirement age and never written a word, it’s going to be a slog. However, if you think you’re a writer at sixty-five years old, then you likely thought you were a writer at forty-five or twenty-five. Odds are you threw some scribbles down and perhaps even started a few novels over the years. If that’s the case, then you’re already a writer just looking for the opportunity to put it on paper. My advice, in the strongest possible terms, is to finish the novel that’s inside you no matter how old you are. Not only do you likely have more time to work on it, your life experiences will add color that the twenty-five year old you didn’t have. Some time ago I read a local newspaper account of a seventy-four year old woman who had just graduated from college. When asked why she went to college at age seventy, she said, “I was going to be seventy-four anyway.”

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