Halimah Marcus: In his introduction to the story, Matt Bell remarks on the range of styles in your writing. “Unlike most writers,” he writes, “who are so grateful to find something that succeeds that they end up mining that same patch of ground for most of their careers, Klee seems capable of writing any kind of story he wants, often starting by mimicking different genres and forms, then subverting those existing tropes to serve his own needs.” Is this range something you’ve intentionally cultivated? When write a story, to you set out to write something unlike anything you’ve written before?

Miles Klee: I’m lucky to have ideas at all. If one looks much different from another it’s surely because I’ve gone to the trouble of dressing them up in exotic new disguises—and the trappings of genre do go a long way there. When that stuff is working well, you get to be a virtuosic chameleon; the rest of the time, you’re blind in the wilderness. It’s a tricky sleight of hand, as Matt notes, that sets up an array of expectations to knock down. I’m not sure how conscious I am of this as it’s happening. Often I’ve just hit upon an inhabitable voice (e.g., the classic hardboiled narrator) that strikes me as lively and worth pursuit. I’ll let it spool out until a sharp left turn derails it—then I try to keep going. I guess that while I’m slavishly devoted to the styles and mannerisms of authors I admire, I remain a bit obsessional about narrative originality. A plotty resemblance to fiction another person has published can be unforgivable. A single repeated word can kill a whole page for me. It speaks to the fact that I’m trying to entertain and surprise myself as much as I seek to impress any theoretical reader.

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