Adrenaline Junkie: A Memoir by Les Edgerton

ADRENALINE JUNKIE is more than a renowned, multi-award-winning author entertaining with his life history. Les Edgerton understands that backstory matters. It influences the present. So he journeyed through his past seeking answers for why he was the way he was. Seeking answers for his thrill-seeking, devil-may-care, often self-destructive behaviors. Seeking a sense of personal peace.

Why was he compelled to be the best he could be in all his endeavors—legal or otherwise? What drove him to excel, then flee success, only to strive for supremacy in another field?

ADRENALINE JUNKIE holds the answers. With nothing held back. With his life-saving humor, an indomitable spirit, and a fierce courage to expose the ugly and painful. Like the tough, raw, vulnerable characters Les writes about in his short stories and novels, he exposes us to a man fighting against family, society, and his own sense of injustice. Fighting for a moment—regardless of how fleeting—to feel in control of his life. And, as uncomfortable at times as Les’s life adventure may be for us to witness, we come away grateful he took us with him.

So settle back. Meet a real-life, 21st-century Renaissance man. A real-life adrenaline junkie:

What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

That no matter the trials and vicissitudes life may bring you, you should never look at yourself as a victim or conduct your life from that vantage point.

How does this book make a contribution to the genre?

That it continues the theme of truth formerly exhibited by such memoirists as Samuel Delany.

What authors or books have influenced your career as a writer, and why?

Many, many writers and books. To name but a few, books that have had an especially profound influence on me are: A Feast of Snakes by Harry Crews, The Stranger by Albert Camus, The Lock Artist by Steve Hamilton, Killshot by Elmore Leonard, No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy, The Island of the Sequined Love Nun by Christopher Moore, Crazy Heart by Thomas Cobb, The Holy Bible (King James Version). Other writers who have influenced me include Raymond Carver, Charles Bukowski, Flannery O’Connor, Joe Lansdale, William Faulkner, Ken Bruen, Neil Anthony Smith, Vince Zandri, Borges, Nelson Algren, Ray Banks, Elaine Ash, Kurt Vonnegut, Jim Murray, David Sedaris (only for Barrel Fever), Larry Brown, Les Edgerton—yeah, myself—I read my own work often, Celine, Mark Twain, Guillermo O’Joyce, Sherman Alexie, Richard Brautigan, Callie Khouri, Janet Burroway, Linwood Barclay, David Mamet, Anton Chekhov, Saul Bellow, Pete Dexter, Larry Watson, Liam Sweeny, Helen FitzGerald, Dennis Lehane, Thomas McGuane, Robert Crais, Tony Black, Paul Brazill, Thomas Cobb, Mario Vargas Llosa, C J Box, The reason for listing these as influences is each one wrote at least one book that is so good in various ways that I keep rereading them over and over. That’s the litmus test of a good writer for me. Most of these don’t claim to be bestsellers. That’s a good thing. Do you see what a majority of people buy to read?

*****

Les Edgerton is an ex-con, matriculating at Pendleton Reformatory in the sixties for burglary (plea-bargained down from multiple counts of burglary, armed robbery, strong-armed robbery and possession with intent). He was an outlaw for many years and was involved in shootouts, knifings, robberies, high-speed car chases, dealt and used drugs, was a pimp, worked for an escort service, starred in porn movies, was a gambler, served four years in the navy, and had other misadventures. He’s since taken a vow of poverty (became a writer) with 21 books in print. Work of his has been nominated for or won: the Pushcart Prize, O. Henry Award, Edgar Allan Poe Award (short story category), Derringer Award, PEN/Faulkner Award, Jesse Jones Book Award, Spinetingler Magazine Award for Best Novel (Legends category), awarded two literary grants from the NEA, and the Violet Crown Book Award, among others. Screenplays of his have placed as a semifinalist in the Nicholl’s and as a finalist in the Best of Austin and Writer’s Guild’s competitions. He holds a B.A. from I.U. and the MFA in writing from Vermont College. He was the writer-in-residence for three years at the University of Toledo, for one year at Trine University, and taught writing classes for UCLA, St. Francis University, Phoenix College, Writer’s Digest, Vermont College, the New York Writer’s Workshop and other places. He currently teaches a private novel-writing class online. He lives in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, where he immigrated to some years ago from the U.S. and is currently learning the language and customs there.

To learn more about Les, please visit his website.

ITW

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