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R.G. Yoho Tells Tales of the West, Historical Fiction
Many novelists say that they knew they wanted to write from a young age- but not Robert G. (“R.G.”) Yoho. “If you’d told me I would be writing books for a living, I’d have probably laughed at you,” Yoho said. But nine books later, Yoho’s reviewers call him a “rising star in Western fiction,” an author with “a fast-paced and well crafted story,” and a writer who will “quickly make his mark in the top echelon of western writers.”
Yoho writes historical fiction, Westerns and non-fiction. He’ll be visiting [location name] in [city] on [date, month] at [time] to talk about his books, including his latest historical fiction novel, Return to Matewan.
Yoho’s philosophy on writing is that the story should be both action-packed and guided by strong characters.
“I like to know about characters. I think characters ought to drive stories- but the characters ought to drive somewhere, too,” Yoho said. He keeps his readers glued to the page with consistent doses of adventure, and with little to no of what Yoho calls the “naval lint-staring” that can occupy the modern novel.
For Yoho, it all started when he picked up one of his father’s Louis L’Amour books, titled Flint.
“I just thought it was a heck of a tale,” Yoho said, rather succinctly. Yoho realized that L’Amour, one of the most famous of all Western authors, wasn’t going to be around forever- and then who would write tales of Western adventure?
“Somewhere along the way I said ‘I’ll do it.’” Yoho said. Five of Yoho’s books chronicle the action of Kellen Malone and the characters- both noble and sinister- that he encounters on his journeys through the American West. After publishing five Westerns, Yoho’s completely immersed in the genre as a member of the Western Writers of America and a board member of the West Virginia Writers.
His first Kellen Malone book, Death Comes to Redhawk, has Malone fresh out of seven years in a prison cell for a crime he didn’t commit. Now a free man, Malone learns his wife, son and ranch in Redhawk, Arizona have all been stolen from him by a man named Clay Adkins. And when Malone rides to Redhawk, death and vengeance ride with him.
Yoho’s latest book, though, strays from the Western genre to spin a tale of historical fiction from the coal country of West Virginia. Though he now lives in Ohio, Yoho considers himself a West Virginian through and through. He said that for those born in West Virginia, like Yoho, coal is a part of the DNA.
Return to Matewan tells the story of violence and unrest in coal mining West Virginia in the 1900s. Sid Hatfield, the town’s Sheriff, is fighting to stop the coal company’s Baldwin-Felts Agency detectives from evicting a number of coal miners who were beginning to unionize. As tensions reach a breaking point, the ensuing gunfire left seven detectives lying dead in the streets of Matewan, along with the mayor and two civilians.
A little over a year later, Sid is shot dead right on the courthouse steps by undercover detectives of Baldwin-Felts. What nobody realizes is that Sid is shot right in front of Sid’s illegitimate son, Billy, whom Sid just learned he had. As Sid and Billy lock eyes in Sid’s final moments, Billy is thrust into seeking vengeance for the father he was never able to meet.
The conflict between Sid and the Baldwin-Felts Agency are all true to history. Billy, though, is a character of Yoho’s own design- no one knows for sure if Sid had an illegitimate son, though researchers like Yoho deem it possible if not likely. Billy seeks vengeance on real-life characters whom history shows died mysterious, unexplained deaths illuminated by Yoho’s fiction.
Return to Matewan is a product of Yoho’s love for history, his upbringing in West Virginia and his intrinsic connection to the coal mining industry.
“I’m curious about things, things that I find in history that don’t make sense to me,” Yoho said. “I think there’s a little detective in me, too. I want to know what else happened, and why.”
It was his inquiry into the history of Matewan, West Virginia, that brought about Return to Matewan. Yoho fills in history’s gaps with his own imagination, bringing together truth and fiction.
Yoho writes from his home- or just about anywhere- in Little Hocking, Ohio. His varied career also includes work as a political columnist, radio talk show host, and as a laboratory technician and a process operator in the chemicals industry. Married for more than 30 years, Yoho has 3 children, a nephew he raised and 5 grandchildren.
Learn more about Yoho, his books and where to purchase them at his website, www.RGYoho.com. Hear him talk about his books and have your copy signed in-person at [location] on [date] at [time].
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