Keith Lee Morris is an associate professor of English and creative writing at Clison University. His short stories have been published in A Public Space, Southern Review, Ninth Letter, StoryQuarterly, New England Review, The Sun, and the Georgia Review, among other publications. The University of Nevada published his first two books: The Greyhound Gods (2003) and The Best Seats in the House (2004). He lives in Clison, South Carolina.
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Both the The Dart League King and your previous novel, The Greyhound God, seem to draw heavily on placethe local dialects, habits and particularities of the people. Has this always been an important means in building your characters?
I dont start with place, really, at least not intentionally. Im much more likely at the outset to be thinking character, plot, theme, language, structure. I end up setting most of my fiction in Idaho because I realize that, when it comes time to start writing the scenes, thats where I see them happening in my head, back in my old hometown. And the characters tend to act and speak like people back in Idaho, etc.its really more a function of how my imagination works than anything else.
Your writing tends to focus on the underdog, the little guy. Do you tend to gravitate toward characters like that?
I read somewhere that Richard Yates once said he felt that his whole career had been an ongoing attempt to defend the underdog, or words to that effect. I feel the same way. I didnt grow up around people who had money and attended private schools. Most of my friends were from blue-collar families, and, of my really close ...
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