Bestselling Author James Dashner on “The Maze Runner” Trilogy & Prequel
By Bianca Schulze, The Children’s Book Review
Published: August 22, 2012
James Dashner was born and raised in Georgia but now lives and writes in the Rocky Mountains. He talked to us about The Maze Runner series and the books and movies that inspire his writing. He is also the author of the 13th Reality series.
James Dashner: The Maze Runner trilogy is a story of a devastated future, and teenagers thrown into a terrifying experiment for mysterious reasons that are discovered as you go throughout the books. I think it’s a mix of adventure, mystery, and horror.
BS: Without giving anything away—as if you would—what can readers expect from The Kill Order? I’ve heard we should expect the unexpected.
JD: I’m excited for people to read it because my fans will get to see, firsthand, just how the world got into such bad shape and the reason the trilogy needed to exist in the first place.
BS: Each book within the trilogy is different, but all act as a piece of a larger puzzle. For readers that may be new to The Maze Runner series (blasphemy) and end up with the prequel in their hands, what should they do? Put it down and start The Maze Runner? Or should they go ahead and read it anyway and continue on with the trilogy upon completion?
JD: Oh, I definitely think people should read the trilogy first, no doubt. I think both the trilogy and the prequel will be more satisfying if done in that order.
BS: You have said that Lord of the Flies (one of my all-time favorite books) inspired your trilogy: “Instead of degenerating into animals, I wanted [the characters] to become more organized, more lawful, more determined, never losing hope. I hope that’s really how humans would react.” Did you have this thought prior to beginning the series while you were mapping out the storyline and developing characters? Or was this part of the evolution that came throughout the overall creation of the series?
JD: That was actually one of the first thoughts I had during the brainstorming process. It did evolve more as the books went on, especially the themes of what people do in desperate circumstances and how evil is not so black and white. But yes, Lord of the Flies was definitely a part of my thinking from the very beginning.
BS: NPR recently published a list titled: “Your Favorites: 100 Best-Ever Teen Novels.” How does it feel to have The Maze Runner included in such a list? Did you ever imagine (I’m sure you hoped) you would find such success as an author?
JD: That was a big honor and I was thrilled to even be in the discussion. I certainly hoped for this, but never truly expected it. I just can’t believe I’m so blessed and lucky. But I’ll take it!
BS: In your free time, you like to read (of course!), watch movies and (good) TV shows, and snow ski. So, what are you reading now? What was the last movie or TV show you watched? And …which is your favorite ski resort?
JD: I’m reading the Game of Thrones series, loving it. I’m almost done with the second season of The Walking Dead. And I usually go to the Brighton ski resort in Utah. Fun stuff!
BS: Of all the many books you have read, and all the movies and TV shows you have watched, which ones from your own childhood have most influenced your life and your writing?
BS: While many people may be interested in how you became a published author—the move from finance to writing seems unlikely—I feel it’s important that they know you were hit with the “writing bug” in 1998. You said: “[T]he bug bit me like a constipated hornet on crack.” What does that even feel like?!
JD: Oh, wow, I really did say that, huh. Haha. It was just an overwhelming, daunting, exciting feeling.
BS: Are you currently working on any new books?
JD: Yes, look for announcements very soon!
BS: As a parting note, is there anything you would like to share with your readers?
JD: I’m just so honored, and so thankful, that people are enjoying my books. So I’d mainly like to say THANK YOU!!!
For more information, visit: http://www.jamesdashner.com/