Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Author Interview: James Dashner

My Author Interview today is with a fabulous young adult fantasy writer, James Dashner. James lives with his family in Utah.

Welcome, Dashner Dude. It's certainly exciting that you're on your "Change the World" Book Tour. What made you start writing?
Well, I've always loved it, but I got really serious when I found out we were having our first baby. I thought it would be cool to write stories for my own kids.

How long have you been writing? When did you sell your first book?
My whole life, but seriously the last 9 years. My first book came out in 2003 (A Door in the Woods) but it was with a really small publisher.

What type of writer are you? Do you plan ahead/plot or do you simply fly by the seat of your pants?
I'm a little bit of a mixture. I definitely do a basic plot outline, and figure out the ending. But I also make up a ton of stuff as I go.

How do you choose your characters' names?
No real process here. Either I name them after people I know or put down whatever pops in my head. Still not sure where "Mothball" came from. :-)

You work a full time job, so when do you write?
Evenings and Saturdays mostly. But I hope to go full time in the near future.

Do you get writer's block? If so, how do you stave it off?
Honestly, I rarely get The Block. It's never been a problem for me.

Do you write to music? If so, with lyrics or only instrumentals?
I love writing to movie soundtracks. Especially LOTR, Braveheart, Aliens, Dances with Wolves, etc. I also love Enya for writing.

What food or snack keeps the words flowing?
Drinks actually. I can't eat and type at the same time!

What one thing do you like most about writing? Least?
Most: Coming up with the storylines.
Least: Rewrites.

What is your next project?
I'm working on Draft #2 for the sequel to Book 1 of The 13th Reality.

What is your advice for other writers?
There's a lot on my blog, but here's a sample: Rejection is part of the game. It hurts, and it will always hurt. But no matter how good you are, no matter how brilliant your work, the odds are astronomical that you will never receive a rejection. Or 10, or 20, or 100. If you learn to accept it and keep submitting, reworking, when necessary, what you've written, you'll find a home.

Tell us about your new book.
It's called The 13th Reality: The Journal of Curious Letters and it came out March 3rd! The best and most fun way to learn about it is to visit the website: The publisher is Shadow Mountain. Check out my blog or website to see the many events scheduled for the next month or two.
I know you live in Arizona - well, I'll be there on March 10th and 11th, so come see me!

What other work of yours has been published?
A Door in the Woods - 2003
A Gift of Ice - 2004
The Tower of Air - 2004
War of the Black Curtain - 2005
All with Cedar Fort.

Thank you for the Interview, James. Good luck with the Tour, and come home safely!
Thanks, Marsha!


  1. Great interview, Marsha! It's always so interesting to find out how other writers write. Everyone is so different. Like snowflakes! :-)

  2. I'm so impressed with people who work full time and still write. And do a good job. I'm pleased with both of you.


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