UNDATED (WJON News) -- A retired local teacher has turned his love of history into a new career. Kenneth Czech taught history in the Sauk Rapids-Rice School District and at St. Cloud State University (SCSU) for 32 years.

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He has been writing historical fiction since he retired and most recently released his fourth book, "Kiss of Frost and Flame." The book is set during the Rusian invasion of Siberia in 1581. Czech says the uniqueness of Siberia is what drew him to choose the invasion for this book:

"I think it's just the uniqueness and kind of the exotic appeal of Siberia of being this vast wasteland and it really wasn't. It's forested, the Cossacks invaded for one reason, and that was to harvest the furs there, there's soft gold, and unfortunately for the indigenous folks they were in the way."

Paul Habstritt, WJON
Paul Habstritt, WJON
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Czech says the story first caught his eye when he was teaching Russian History at SCSU and thought it would be fun to expand on it a little bit. He says he started writing fiction to give himself a new challenge.

"In my opinion writing fiction is much more difficult than writing non-fiction. Non-fiction you have records to go with, eyewitness accounts, historical fiction if you develop a character you have to be confident that that character's going to grow throughout the story."

Czech says he likes to focus on events most people have not heard of:

"It has to be something that interests me. It has to be a story that most people don't know, and that's what I've tried to do with all of mine is to focus on events, historical issues that most Americans have not heard of. Maybe it's a little to exotic sometimes but that's the attraction that I feel."

Czech has written four novels so far and plans to start working on his fifth in the next month or two. He is retired and lives in the house he built in an abandoned quarry.

Paul Habstritt, WJON
Paul Habstritt, WJON
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