Former president promotes new novel
Former Youngstown State University president Leslie Cochran visited YSU this week to promote his new novel “Signature Affair: Love, Lies and Liaisons.”
His book tells the story of the fictional Steve Schilling, a university president and sex addict, who engages in affairs with five beautiful women. Though similarities between Leslie Cochran and Schilling can be observed, Leslie Cochran ensured the affairs he writes about are purely fictional.
“The character has some of my own personality traits,” Leslie Cochran said. “[Steve Schilling] does wear a red fedora….When I was at YSU, for football games, I wore a red fedora. I drank Tanqueray martinis with three olives. So does Steve Schilling. I give my wife Tresor, so does he. Now the difference is he also gives all of his mistresses Tresor.”
Leslie Cochran’s wife Lin Cochran said the novel has sparked playful teasing among the couple’s friends.
“It is fun because everyone kind of teases him,” she said. “Like, ‘Is this a memoir Les?’”
Before authoring “Signature Affair,” Leslie Cochran had never tried his hand at fictional writing. After spending the last five years writing and revising his novel, Leslie Cochran said he has a newfound appreciation for novelists.
“I had a preconceived notion that if you wrote fiction, it was a fantasy. You just started writing and you could say anything you want,” Leslie Cochran said. “I didn’t realize, for example, how much research goes into writing fiction. For example, my main character … is a sex addict. Well, I had to do a lot of reading and research on addiction.”
Lin Cochran has taken charge of promoting the book. She has planned book signings, television appearances and launch parties during their visit to Youngstown.
“We’re actually just getting started because the book just came out. I thought that coming to Youngstown — since he was the university president here and we knew lots and lots of people in the community — it would be the best place to kick off the book launch,” Lin Cochran said.
To further promote the book, the Cochrans developed an online competition called “Share an Affair.” Readers are encouraged to share their own affair — either real or fictional — on the book’s website. The winning affair story will be included in Leslie Cochran’s next novel.
Leslie Cochran’s book was officially published on Sept. 3 and is now available for purchase. “Signature Affair” is only the first installment of a trilogy that Leslie Cochran plans to write. The second book, he said, will be titled “Costly Affair,” while the third book will be titled “Presidential Affair.”