Interview: James Dashner talks Maze Runner books & branching out


James Dashner’s eagerly anticipated fifth instalment in the Maze Runner series, ‘Fever Code’ hits shelves on September 27th. We caught up with the author and father of four to find out what’s next for his writing career, advice on for up and coming authors and what he really thinks of the film adaptations.

For those who don’t know about the Maze Runner books, can you give us a quick insight into what the book series is about?

Oh wow, I’m much better at writing books than summaries! Let’s see… It’s basically about a very dark future where a large group of teenagers have been put inside a giant experiment, which begins with a stone maze that has a surprise around every corner, both literally and figuratively. And then things go downhill from there for my poor characters.

What was the inspiration behind The Maze Runner, and the following books?

I’ve always pointed to two things as major inspirations: Lord of the Flies and the TV show, Lost. I think their influence is pretty evident when you read the series. But, I’ve been captivated and creeped out by mazes since watching The Shining as a little boy—that scene in the end when the dad is chasing his kid with an axe through a snowy garden maze. Yes, it scarred me for life.

The brand new book “The Fever Code” is released September 27th, what can you tell us about the plot?

It basically bridges the story from The Kill Order, the first prequel I wrote, to the very beginning of The Maze Runner and the original trilogy. It shows each of the characters from the original book and how everything led to the Maze. I will say this: a lot of people will think that surprises aren’t to be expected since it’s a prequel and they supposedly know how it ends. They would be wrong. I think it will be a very satisfying book to fans of the series.

Fever Code

The films have been hugely popular. Are you happy with the way the books were adapted for the films?

Extremely, especially the first one. I have a lot of friends who haven’t had nearly as positive an experience as I have, so I’m eternally grateful for what Fox, Wes Ball, and his entire crew put together. Seeing the first film for the first time was an emotional experience I’ll never forget.

Have you noticed a shift in interest for the books since the film adaption?

Oh yes, definitely. You simply can’t replicate what a movie can do for a series of books—in some ways it acts like a giant advertising campaign that a publisher could never afford to do. We’re now in 45 languages all over the world and a good chunk of that is a result of the movies.

James Dashner
Image Source

This is the second prequel in the series. Is this going to be the final book?

Yes, it is. I joke with people that the only way another book will be written is if I’m an old man and have run out of money. Never say never, but I think this book is really the perfect way to bring Thomas’s story to a close. But we do have at least one more movie to look forward to!

When not writing about the Maze, what do you do in your spare time?

Well, I have four kids, so they take up a lot of my time. We have the requisite trip to Disneyland coming up next month. But when I have personal time, I love movies, TV, reading (of course!), hiking, skiing, museums, and going to the theatre. My wife and I just took a quick trip to New York and saw four musicals in three days: Waitress, Something Rotten, School of Rock, and Hamilton. I’m basically a storytelling junkie, in all its forms.

What advice would you give for those who are looking to publish a novel?

Two things: attend writing conferences to learn more about your craft, and then practice by writing every day if at all possible. Writing is just like singing, piano, or sports: you have to practice to get better. So be careful not to write one thing and then spend the rest of your life trying to get that one thing published. Write more stuff!

What do you have planned for the future? Is there anything you’d still love to achieve within your career?

I want to branch out and write a stand-alone novel or two, something along the lines of scary/thriller/horror. I’m also very interested in getting involved with television and original ideas for shows.

The Fever Code is available to buy from UK retailers 27th September 2016

Featured Image Source

1 Comment
  1. Dominique GRAS says

    I like this interview, which makes me know better who James Dashner is.

    I have preordered the Fever Code and I am very impatient to get it.
    I hope to have it on October the 12th for my birthday.

    I also appreciated The maze runner films (1 and 2) which made me get interest in reading the books and actually appreciate them.

    Lots of thanks to James Dashner and Dylan o’ Brien who I discovered and definitely appreciated when he played the part of Thomas and I would like very much to see him again in the Death Cure.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.