Hey there Wikians and The Maze Runner fans!
You asked...and he answered! We chose the top questions for James Dashner to answer. He discusses his writing career, The Maze Runner in particular, and the movie. A special thank you to James for taking the time to respond to these questions in such great depth. Enjoy!
Usually it’s a high honor! The series is most often compared to Hunger Games and Divergent, which is a great group of authors to be a part of. All of our first books came out roughly around the same time, so we must all think alike.
Are there any authors you admire or consider inspirational? (from user GokaiYellow)
Stephen King is my idol and always has been my number one inspiration. I just think he’s brilliant. But many, many authors have influenced me over the years, from Judy Blume to Dean Koontz to J. K. Rowling.
Do you listen to any music while writing? If so, what kind?
Oh, yes. I love listening to movie sound tracks. I think cinematically, so that kind of music really gets me in the creative mood. Some of my favorites are Lord of the Rings, Aliens, Braveheart, and The Matrix.
The Maze Runner Books
It all started back when I first saw The Shining—the last scene when the crazy dad is chasing the poor little boy through the garden maze with the snow falling. So wonderfully creepy! Other influences were Lord of the Flies and the TV show Lost.
Who is the first character you created for The Maze Runner? (from user Mindy plyalak)
Thomas. My ideas for the story developed much the way the book does for Thomas from page one. I imagined this boy in a box, with no memories, being thrust into an awful, scary situation. And then I went from there.
Is there a character that had a bigger impact on readers than you expected?
Minho. More than any of my other characters, he developed and became a bigger part of the story as I went through the books. I think part of that was seeing what a huge impact he had on fans. People always say that he (or Newt) is their favorite.
What's the moment in your books that you get the most guff about from fans?
That just might be the easiest question in the history of easy questions. There’s no doubt of the answer. It’s what happens roughly in the middle of the third book. I won’t say it in case someone hasn’t read it yet, but anyone who has knows exactly what I’m talking about.
What was the easiest/hardest scene to write in The Maze Runner?
Easiest: the first scene in the Box. It came to me before I even really started thinking too deeply about everything else. Hardest: that same scene that everyone gives me guff about. Oh, the humanity!
What was your favorite book in the Maze Runner series to write and why?
Sometimes my answer changes, but right now, I’d have to say The Death Cure. Some of the things in that book I’d been envisioning and thinking about for years, so it was such a thrill to actually be writing them. The story never felt so real.
Which character did you identify most with while writing? Is there a character in The Maze Runner that is a lot like you?
The answer to both is Thomas. We’re always in his head, so I couldn’t help but pour my own soul into his character. I’d say he’s a much, much braver version of me.
Would you rather die in the Maze or from the Flare in the Scorch?
Can I do both? Please? What a kick that’d be. I could make a Maze Runner game within the VirtNet (from my new series) and die over and over again. Doesn’t that sound great? Okay, if I HAD to choose, I guess I’d say death by Griever. At least that would be over quickly. I hope.
How do you feel knowing that The Maze Runner has fans around the entire world?
It’s the most surreal thing ever. I still can’t wrap my mind around it, knowing that people in Australia, Uruguay, Russia, Africa, all these places, are reading my books. One of my favorite things is when I get the foreign-language copies sent to me. That’ll never get old.
If you were told that you would be placed in a dangerous trial, which character would you choose as the leader? :) By the way, you rock!!
Why, thank you! I’d choose Minho. I love that guy. He’s reckless, a smart aleck, a hothead. But he’s also fiercely loyal and tough. We saw him have a major moment of weakness in the first book, which also makes him feel real. I’d choose him.
Which do you consider scarier, Grievers or Cranks?
Grievers, just because they’re so big and fierce. I can at least look a Crank in the eye and size him or her up. And then turn and run as fast as I can.
The Maze Runner Movie
Which of the cast members did you grow closest to on set?
I’d say it’s between Ki Hong Lee and Will Poulter. I feel a real connection to both of those guys, and they’ve been so incredibly gracious, constantly thanking me for creating this story. And Blake Cooper. What a guy. I feel like he’s my little brother. And Dylan. And Dexter. And Kaya. And Aml. And Chris. And Alex. I love them all!
What part of The Maze Runner world were you most excited to see on-screen?
The Maze itself. I’ve lived with that thing trapped inside my mind for so, so long, it’s just incredible to see it explode into real life on the big screen. Wes Ball and his team captured my vision so perfectly.
What was your reaction to seeing the Grievers on film? Are they how you envisioned them?
Blown. Away. I’d say they matched the spirit and feel of my Grievers. They’re different, but honestly better. They are exactly what they need to be in a film, and people are going to love them. Hate them. Be terrified of them. You know what I mean.
Have you considered any genres or themes you would like to explore after the Mortality Doctrine trilogy? Or perhaps returning to the world of the Maze Runner? (from user Doom 636)
I’ve always wanted to do something a little different. Maybe a horror novel or a creepy murder mystery. I never want my readers to get sick of me. I want to keep them on their toes.
Would you ever think about writing short stories of days in the Glade before Thomas's arrival, like from Newt's perspective or Minho’s? Or even stories about their previous lives?
I get asked this a lot, and I’m so glad that people want more. That really means a lot to me. I have nothing to announce, but I can tell you that I’d really like to write another prequel someday. We shall see.…