|Cover of Robin Yocum’s "Favorite Sons" (Photo: J.D.
Robin Yocum has made a career of his boyhood hobby of writing, recently adding a novel, "Favorite
Sons," to his efforts.
"I always knew I wanted to write," Yocum said during a recent Bowling Green visit. He earned a
bachelor’s degree in journalism from Bowling Green State University in 1978.
Long-time Falcon football fans may recall Yocum’s name from his place kicking and kickoff duties that
earned him three letters after walking on as a freshman.
Yocum started his career as a sportswriter at papers in Lancaster and Martin’s Ferry, later spending 11
years at the Columbus Dispatch as a police and investigative reporter. He won 30 writing awards from
Associated Press and the Press Club of Ohio. Yocum also wrote a pair of true crime books based on his
newspaper experiences. He now operates Yocum Communications, a public relations firm based in
"I’ve been trying to get fiction published for years," he said, crediting "a good
agent." Colleen Moyhyde of Boston, he found two years ago for getting "Favorite Sons"
into print. "I hope this is a springboard," Yocum said.
The story is based in the fictional industrial town in Summit County, Ohio, and is told through the
character of Hutch Van Buren.
Van Buren and three of his teen-age friends like to spend their time hunting arrowheads and just being
kids. But one day an encounter with a troubled teenager leads to an accidental death, which the four
cover up through a web of secrets. A local man with a record of trouble-making and child molester goes
to prison for the crime, with the four boys keeping their secret.
More than three decades later Van Buren is county prosecuting attorney and a candidate for state attorney
general when he learns that he and his friends were not the only ones keeping a secret about the death.
The man sent to prison has been released and attempts to blackmail Van Buren.
The prosecutor then faces a decision between his career and the duties of his office, which Yocum details
in ways that leave readers twisting, turning and likely wondering how they would deal with a variety of
Yocum said the book is "semi-autobiographical" using some of his childhood experiences in
"We never killed anyone but we did run through those hills. We knew every nook and cranny, went
berry picking and looking for arrowheads. When I was growing up in Brilliant that area around
Steubenville was just booming. You could write your name on any car because of the pollution but
everybody had jobs," Yocum said.
He said Brilliant "always had an orange glow in the sky because of the glass and nail factories. It
was a great place to grow up."
Yocum has started sketching out a sequel to answer the question of what happened with Van Buren’s
election. "Either way Hutch is still a pretty interesting character. There are a lot of things I
can do with him."
Yocum was the featured author at the Literary Picnic Series at Thurber House in Columbus on June 22.
Published by Arcade Publishing, "Favorite Sons" officially hit the shelves June 1, although it
was available earlier through Amazon and was being prepared for Kindle.