|James Dashner and The Maze Runner Trilogy:
"The future could go down this very road"
In the lead-up to publication of the first prequel to the The Maze Runner
trilogy, curledupkids.com reviewer and Holy Apostles School librarian Kristine Wildner collaborated with her students in interviewing author James Dashner about the original three books.
CurledUpKids.com: Your books are consistently on the bestseller list. Did you
ever dream your books would be so very successful? How do you interpret the popularity and success of the Maze Runner trilogy?
James Dashner: It's always been a dream, but just that. I don't know if I ever really thought it would actually happen until I got serious about my craft and worked hard submitting books to publishers. Every day I think about how lucky and blessed I am to have it come true. I think the success of the series just shows that people love to be entertained while also being left to ponder mysteries and themes and anticipating what may come next.
I see from your publisher's biography that your
education and background are in accounting. What events in your life inspired you to become a writer?
JD: My first inspiration was my love - my intense love - of reading as a kid. I also loved writing stories. I chose accounting because I didn't want to be live in a ditch and eat dirt while I pursued my dream.
Haha. But I'm so glad that I've been able to leave it behind!
I think many readers will assume that you are very much like
Thomas. Do you identify with any of your characters? Which one reminds you the most of yourself?
JD: I would definitely say my main characters are always the ones with which I identify the most. I'm in their head, so they just naturally think like I do. The big difference is I make them much, much braver!
What aspects of being an author do you enjoy the most? The least?
JD: Most: Being able to do a hobby - something that I love - for a living.
What are the prospects for the The Maze Runner Trilogy becoming a
movie? What difficulties do you foresee in a screenplay as opposed to a book?
JD: The prospects are good. Twentieth Century Fox holds the option and they've done some development and a script.* Fingers crossed! I think screenplays are very difficult because you're converting a story to an entirely different method of storytelling. I wasn't involved with mine because I think it's a skill I haven't developed yet.
What advice would you give to students when they are writing
now, in school?
JD: First and foremost, just have fun with it for now. You also need patience and thick skin. Seek feedback from friends and family.
Practice. A lot! And then never give up until you get published.
Please describe your creative process when writing.
JD: This is a hard one because I'm not sure I have a process per se. I do a lot of brainstorming, pretty much any time at any day. I write down cool ideas. And then when one really, really sticks, I take some time to develop it further, into a simple outline. Then I just start writing and let my instincts take over.
What kinds of books do you enjoy reading? Do you have any
favorites you could recommend to middle school students?
JD: I love all types of books, from science fiction to biographies to horror novels. I highly recommend my favorite book of all time, especially at that age: Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card.
The Maze Runner Trilogy predicts a dystopian future. Do
you think our world is headed in that direction? Are you concerned about individual rights or the importance of the government taking a leading role in assuring the best interests of the majority, despite consequences to the few?
JD: I'm not sure I can predict or even guess what the future holds, but I sure love to speculate and imagine what it might be like. I think that's what's cool about the latest explosion of dystopian novels. It has the feel of scifi or fantasy, but it has the added element of knowing it actually could happen. That there's no magic at play - the future could go down this very road. That creeps me out, a thing which I love!
What motivates you to write? What is a typical workday for you?
JD: Movies and really cool TV shows, along with my latest favorite book to read, really motivates me. Seeing storytelling in any form gets me excited to work on my own. My days vary so much, but they usually involve 3 or 4 "sessions" of writing or editing, mixed in with lots of breaks to eat and get "inspired" like I mentioned. I love my job!!!
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