Hard Times – Les Edgerton

Les Edgerton’s life has been more eventful than most writers, for which see our earlier encounters. (including our different experiences with a flirtatious Britt Ekland, link below)

MR I really liked Hard Times. Gut wrenching. Heart rending. Characters you care about. It zips along. There could hardly be any more at stake. And it keeps getting worse, till the ending which wasn’t what you expected, without being a contrived twist. Great stuff. Some of it reminded me of your autobiography Adrenaline Junkie, (Highly recommended), in particular the harsh rural childhood.

Les Edgerton Thanks for that!

MR I’d rather not give away too much of the story but, roughly, a good person feels she can’t leave a bad husband, his behaviour worsens then a heatwave brings her isolated rural family close to starvation. Further calamities result in extreme jeopardy. It’s very moving in addition to being thrilling. Most of your fiction is more urban, more contemporary?

LE As a rule, yes. But, most of it takes place in small to medium-sized towns. New Orleans is about the largest town I’ve used for a setting.

MR I was amused by your contrasting of tv portrayals of prison life with your experiences, ‘The weight-lifting part always cracks me up. Criminals are basically… lazy. It’s one of the reason we rob places. We don’t want a 9–5. We don’t even want to fetch our own beers while watching the tube. As for pressing iron, way too much work.’https://electricliterature.com/that-dark-place-an-interview-with-author-lesedgerton/ Some great stories in that interview. 

LE Thanks, Mark. There are more weight-lifters now and that’s because life imitates art. They see it on TV and in movies and assume that’s how they should behave. Actually, there’s a lot more herd mentality in the joint these days than there used to be. A lot…

MR How much of your fiction references time inside?

LE Quite a bit, actually. It’s just one of the more interesting parts of my life. That and my outlaw years. The straight life is downright boring…MR You still go to prisons to talk writing?

LE Not these days. The civilian instructor has now retired and I don’t know anyone any more. Almost all of the guys I was inside with are either dead or on the bricks nowadays. And, most of the guys inside are by and large punks… Also, my body has gone south and it’s hard to make long trips these days.

MR I’ve mostly given up on Twitter having racked up an impressive collection of toe stubbings and pratfalls. Is it more of a digital minefield than a way of meeting new people?

LE I’ve never been a big fan of Twitter–I can’t write short, so it’s not a good medium for me. Plus, it’s largely a sales platform for folks and it’s hard for me to keep coming up with tweets that mostly say: Buy my book.MR Agreed with your blogpost on Amazon’s review policy. Congratulations on your persistence, trying to get an answer regarding the vanishing reviews. Hard to see how we can function without reviews.

LE Never did get an answer from them. They don’t care and they’re like most social media–mostly into their political posturing.

MR We seem to be closer to civil war than we’ve ever been, both sides of the Atlantic. While I was waiting for my heart operation I didn’t want to say anything remotely contentious. Now there are no medical reasons to avoid debate but the chances of discussing anything without pistols at dawn have got even slimmer. Is there any hope of healing if November is a close result?

LE I don’t think so, Mark. What surprises me is that I’ve always thought of writers as being anti-censorship, but as it turns out are the biggest closed-mind people on the planet. What amazes me is that if the socialist side wins writers will quickly become workers for the state–Pravda employees–if they want to work and very few of them seem to realize that. Big wake-up call a’coming, methinks.

MR If you were asking the questions…is there something you’d like to raise? 

LE Mark, you’re doing great! Much better than I would as an interviewer. I’d probably be asking such interesting questions as do you write on a computer or use a pen, or, what time of day do you write, or where do you get your ideas…

Les gets deeper into his extraordinary life in our earlier interactions, featuring a question informed by actual research, meeting Britt Ekland (Goddess), and much, much more. https://wordpress.com/post/markramsden13.wordpress.com/2557v

a better Hard Times plot synopsis from Amazon.com

‘In 1930s East Texas, fourteen-year-old Amelia Laxault’s father insists she marry Arnold Critchin, a local boy who assaulted her on their first date. When Arnold’s alcohol-fueled brutality devastates their family, his ineptitude with crops destroys their farm, and his poorly run moonshine business lands him in prison, Amelia struggles to feed her four children as the Depression worsens and a secret from her past looms large. 

Three hundred miles away, Lucious Tremaine tangles with a white police officer. Fleeing to Houston, a second altercation leaves him with a gunshot wound. Desperate and weak, he makes his way into the backwoods. 

As Lucious encounters increasing obstacles and Amelia’s challenges escalate with Arnold’s return from prison-and a visit from her first love, who is now the local sheriff- an explosion looms. Will Lucious make it to Houston? Can Amelia save her children from both starvation and Arnold’s increasing, vengeful violence? As the odds stack up and the food runs out, Amelia must summon all her courage, strength, and ingenuity to attempt to save her family.’

That memoir. Actually startling.

3 thoughts on “Hard Times – Les Edgerton

  1. Pingback: Incident Report No. 99 - Unlawful Acts

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