Meet the Author: James Dashner
James Dashner was born in Georgia and attended Brigham Young University. After several years working in finance, he is now a full-time writer and lives in Utah with his family.
Author of both young adult and childrenís fiction, he broke onto the national scene with The Maze Runner trilogy and The 13th Reality series. In 2011, The Maze Runner received the Kentucky Bluegrass Award for best book for students, grades 9-12.
Q&A with James Dashner
Q: What made you decide to write books for teenagers?
A: Thatís the age when I fell in love with reading, and itís so fun to feel like Iím returning to the magic of that time. Thereís just something about writing for that age -- I feel like you can be riskier and combine more elements and genres into one.
Q: Which character(s) do you relate to the most from The Maze Runner trilogy?
A: Thomas, for sure. Except that heís a lot braver, kind of the ďmeĒ I wish I was. But heís the main character, and as an author you canít help but pour a lot of yourself into the head of the main point of view.
Q: Which writers or books have impacted your work or influenced your life, and why?
A: Stephen King, because heís the best writer Iíve ever read; Dean Koontz, because I love his style and pace; and the book Enderís Game, because it made me realize how cool a book can be. Itís my favorite read of all time.
Q: What authors do you enjoy reading now?
A: Stephen King for sure. Heís the automatic. And then there are too many others who are tied for second place!
Q: If you werenít writing for young adults, what other jobs could you see yourself doing now?
A: Oh, please donít torture me like that. Iím extra sensitive to this because I worked in accounting for eight years before I was finally able to go full time as an author. And Iíd rather saw off my own legs than go back to it! Okay, real answerÖ actually, I love movies. Love love love movies. So I could see myself as a screenwriter or critic, maybe even a director.
Q: If you were to give a fledgling writer some advice, what would it be?
A: 1. Practice. Write every day and watch yourself get better. 2. Attend as many writerís conferences as possible. They help your craft and allow you to network.
Interview Date: April 2011
Profile and questions compiled by Kim W., University City Regional Library