Keith Lee Morris' new novel, The Dart League King, is due out in October.
From a Q & A at the publisher's website.
Both The Dart League King and your previous novel, The Greyhound God, seem to draw heavily on place—the local dialects, habits and particularities of the people. Has this always been an important means in building your characters?Read the complete Q & A.
I don’t start with place, really, at least not intentionally. I’m 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, that’s 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.—it’s 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 didn’t 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 friends, only one ended up graduating from college. Much of what I write is an attempt to convey my feelings about the town I lived in and the people I knew there—I try to make readers see that the lives of people in out-of-the-way towns in the middle of nowhere are every bit as important and interesting as the lives of people anywhere else.