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The Maze Runner series author, James Dashner. Courtesy of Maria Wood

Maze Runner Series Author James Dashner Comes to the Alamo Drafthouse

Author James Dashner comes to town for a book talk and movie screening on January 30.

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The film adaptation of bestselling author James Dashner’s novel, Maze Runner: The Death Cure, is coming to theaters on January 26. Dashner himself will be at The Alamo Drafthouse Littleton, January 30, 6-9 p.m., in conjunction with the Tattered Cover.

Also a husband to Lynette and dad of four kids, ages 17, 15, 13, and 10, here’s what Dashner, a former accountant, has to say about his journey to becoming a writer and making a living doing what he loves.

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Colorado Parent:
Back when you were writing while working as an accountant, can you walk us through a typical day? When did you carve out time to write?
James Dashner:
It seems crazy now to think back on those days! My kids were all little and I was working full-time in a pretty demanding job. Most of the credit goes to my wife, Lynette, who was very supportive and helped me carve out time each week to write. For example, once a week or so I’d go straight from work to a library or bookstore and write for the evening. I’d also do this for a few hours on Saturdays. I’m so glad I don’t have to do that anymore! My whole family is very supportive of my career and they are my biggest cheerleaders.
Colorado Parent:
How long did it take you to finish your first book?
James Dashner:
I wrote my very first book while in college, working on and off and on for two or three years. Let’s just say it wasn’t a masterpiece, but I learned a lot from it and the book ended up being published by a very small press. This was back in 2003. The Maze Runner was a similar story, taking several years and various versions before it was good enough to get picked up in 2008.
Colorado Parent:
Were you involved at all in the making of the latest movie, The Death Cure?
James Dashner:
I was involved just enough to feel like I was part of the family. I read the script, gave some feedback, visited the set, answered any questions the writer or director had, etc. But mostly I realized they are the experts at making movies, not me, so I let them go at it!
Colorado Parent:
Was there anything that surprised you in the latest movie, that was different than how you imagined it?
James Dashner:
There are always differences between books and their adaptations. It bothers some people, but doesn’t bother me—at least not with these movies. I was a little surprised at how zombie-like the Cranks are in the movies, but I understand the need for it. Everything must be more visceral and in-your-face on the big screen.
Colorado Parent:
Does being a parent affect or influence your writing? If so, in what ways?
James Dashner:
It definitely does, mainly in that I’m trying to provide a living for them. I also look ahead, knowing that they’ll read the books eventually, and try to make them good enough for that inevitable judgment. Your own kids are your most honest critics!
Colorado Parent:
What advice do you have for other parents, who have a head full of writing ideas and a family to raise at the same time?
James Dashner:
I really feel like you have to be regimented, set goals, and stick to them. If you just say, “Oh, I’m going to write whenever I find the time,” then you’ll absolutely never find the time. Set a time or two aside each week and make it regular and sacred. Stick to it. I know it’s not easy, but you can do it. You might have to sacrifice some TV watching or eating, you know, whatever it takes.
Colorado Parent:
The Death Cure is rated PG-13. If parents choose to take younger children, of what should they be aware?
James Dashner:
It definitely has some pretty frightening images, mainly how you would imagine something in a zombie movie. There’s also a little bit of language and lots of action and violence. Doesn’t that sound fun?

Purchase tickets in advance to hear Dashner discuss The Death Cure and The Fever Code (Delacorte Press), newly released in paperback, along with a conversation featuring Tattered Cover owner and YA author, Len Vlahos. Ticket price includes a screening of The Death Cure following the book talk.

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