Monday, December 14, 2009

Interview with James Dashner!

I am lucky enough to snag you an interview with this hottest new YA dystopian lit author of the incredible book The Maze Runner, which I reviewed earlier today... James Dashner! Find out more about his writing process, reading habits, holiday gift book recommendations, and more!

On The Book

1. I'm sure you get asked this a lot, but we're all dying to know: how did the idea for The Maze Runner come to you?

One night going to bed, I started thinking about a story in the future with kids in an experiment. That made me think of mice in a maze, then I thought of humans in a maze. My mind started spinning and I went downstairs and plotted out most of the story.

2. At times your book reads almost like the novelization of a sci-fi thriller movie. When you were writing The Maze Runner, did you think of some scenes in terms of cinematography?

Oh yes, definitely yes! I'm a huge movie buff, and I think completely cinematically when I write my books. Always.

3. What songs/artists would be on a Maze Runner soundtrack?

The band Staind really has become the music behind this series. Not sure why even, but they fit.

4. How is working with Random House on The Maze Runner different than working with Shadow Mountain on The 13th Reality series?

Mostly in just how BIG they are. So much more power in marketing, distribution, etc.

5. What was one absolutely unforgettable thing that happened on your nationwide book tour for The Maze Runner?

Spending an entire hour with Judy Blume at the RH offices. Surreal and amazing.

On Writing

1. You were an accountant before you became a full-time writer. Has that job influenced the way you approach storytelling, writing, and publicity? If so, how?

Not too much. Mainly in that it gave me a lot of incentive to get published and make it my career! Yeah, I really hated accounting.

2. Tell us a little about your writing experience. Did you take writing workshops back in school? Are you in a critique group? What, if anything, have you found most beneficial to your development as a writer?

Two things have helped me more than anything else. Reading countless books and attending every writer's conference I could.

3. What is a book you wish you had written?

The Stand by Stephen King.

4. Which aspect of the writing process do you find the most difficult? (Brainstorming, research, pacing, writing supporting characters, etc.)

Easy answer: revisions. I do not love it! I crave the creation process, but revisions get to me after awhile. You start getting really sick of your own book.

On Life & Beyond

1. What books and authors did you love as a teen?

Ender's Game and anything by Stephen King or Dean Koontz

2. How has your family responded to The Maze Runner's success?

They love it. My kids brag at school about me. My five year old daughter likes to tell people she's famous. I'm trying to work on that. :) My wife is so happy for me because she always believed in this story more than all my others.

3. If you had a time machine, which decade (past or future) would you go to and why?

Definitely the future. I'm so curious as to what the world will be like in 100 years. Or 500. Or 1,000.

4. Can you give us a hint of what The Scorch Trials will be about?

Hmmmm. I'd hate to spoil anything. I'll say this: it begins 4 hours after Book 1 ends, it goes in a direction no one will guess, and you see the real world.

5. Which YA books do you suggest people should buy as presents for this upcoming holiday season?

The Dark Divine by Bree Despain, The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan, Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld, Once Was Lost by Sara Zarr, and Beautiful Creatures by Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia. So many others!!!


Thanks so much, James! You really have to check out The Maze Runner and have your mind blown by James' weird genius. I encourage you to put it on your Christmas wish list, buy it for yourself... or hang in there for a few more hours for some special news... ;)


  1. I LOVE this guy - The Maze Runner is an amazing book and I can NOT wait for the next in the series! EAK!!!!

    Awesome interview!

  2. Great interview! I have this book but have yet to read it. I'll have to move it up on my to-be read list.

  3. Cool interview. I liked reading about his favorite book as a teen, and also his recommendations for the year. Great stuff!

  4. Great Interview!! I will nver understand how people put together dystopian worlds so efficently and so perfectly, it baffles me. He is an amazing author. Thanks for the interview Steph :-)

  5. Wow, that is quite a leap from accountant to author. I have a feeling there are a lot of people out there that are glad he did! ALL of those books James suggested as gifts are on my to-read list :)

  6. So excited for the Scorch Trials! Great interview.

  7. Great interview! I love the reading suggestions. And instead of writing via cinematography, I find myself writing chapters as TV show episodes. Thanks!

  8. Great reading suggestions!

    It's amazing how book ideas seem to come out of nowhere, and from one simple "What if" develop into something amazing. I'm not jealous. Not jealous at all ...

  9. Great interview--its amazing where creative ideas come from!

  10. Very insightful interview! I like how you broached the topics of the book, along with his writing and personal life. James seems like a cool dude!

  11. Soooo looking forward to book 2!!! And THE STAND is a huge book I'd like to conquer one day. The movie was awesome.

    Great interview!

  12. What a awesome interview!! It is so cool that Staind is a musical inspiration for him because that is one of my favorite bands!!

  13. Enders Game! Totally rocks (this guy has great taste!)

    It's crazy that he was an accountant first! I guess you really can just do a complete change in jobs sometimes...


  14. I think revisions would be the worst as well.

    Nice job with the interview - I found it interesting and of course no want to read it even more.

  15. What's he talking about? Doesn't he know that just by being his daughter, his 5 year old is famous? Duh! lol.

    I love when authors promote other authors, it's great! And he left an amazing list of others to check out!

    Fantastic interview!

  16. James sounds so down to earth. Not a "big head" like some have. I like the way he shares his opinions of his favorite authors/ books. I also like how he supports other writers and is not just focused on himself. That's cool!

  17. Great book! Great author! Count me in!

    +1 Follower
    +1 commented on the review
    +1 commented on the interview
    +1 Tweet! Tweet!

    nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

  18. Ok your interview questions make the ones I use sound so dull. XD lol. They are great ones though and resulted in some awesome answers. I can't believe he used to be an account. Loved this interview.


  19. It's cool we like the same authors and I am also very impressed that he was able to spend time with Judy Blume! :)

  20. That's awesome that James was able to get out of accounting to be an author.

    And spending time with Judy Blume... lucky guy.

  21. The Maze Runner is an awesome book!!

    James Dashner did a really great job with it!!


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