Exclusive Interview With James Dashner on THE EYE OF MINDS, Part 2

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Attention Dashner Army!  It is November 26 today, which means it’s James’ birthday today!

Happy Birthday James!

You can tweet him your birthday greeting at @jamesdashner, but before you do that, you can read part 2 of the exclusive interview we had with him about his latest book, The Eye of Minds.  We’ve waited to post it to give you readers time to actually read the book, because this part of the interview contains **spoilers**!

With that said, if you haven’t read The Eye of Minds yet, then you might want to skip out on this interview until you have.

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James Dashner Tells Us Where He’d Rather Live

So, would James Dashner rather live in the world of The Maze Runner or in the world of The Eye of Minds?  Here’s his answer:

Frankly, as much as I love The Maze Runner series, I don’t think I’d want to live there either!

 

James Dashner’s Essay on THE EYE OF MINDS

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Read more about what inspired author James Dashner to write his new book, The Eye of Minds, book one of The Mortality Doctrine.

It’s easy for me to pinpoint the very first glimmer of inspiration I had for The Eye of Minds. I love movies, and there are two movies that easily fall into my Top Ten Movies of All Time list, which is more of a concept than an actual list. (I think it currently has about 20 movies on it and it isn’t written down anywhere other than in my mind.)  Those two movies are Inception, directed by Christopher Nolan, and The Matrix, directed by the Wachowskis.  These are what I call “event” movies—films that blew me away and stayed with me, still to this day. Some of the concepts presented in those films stuck in my mind, and definitely inspired my thought process as I came up with the story for The Eye of Minds.

To read the rest of the essay, click here.

Exclusive Interview With James Dashner on THE EYE OF MINDS, Part 1

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Hello Dashner fans!

I got a chance to read an ARC of James Dashner‘s new book, The Eye of Minds, and posed several questions for him to answer about it.  No worries, there are no spoilers for this part of the interview.

1) Describe The Eye of Minds in 3 words

James Dashner:  Twisty. Fast. Fear.

2) There were some pretty interesting riddles in the story.  Was it difficult to come up with the riddles?

JD:  I’ve always been fascinated with riddles. In fact, every series I’ve ever written has had some type of riddle embedded within it. The funny thing is, I grew up so impressed with authors who did that and it was something about which I had very little confidence in myself. But I keep trying, and it seems to keep working.

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3) You said this book was inspired by certain movies.  Were there any video games that also inspired the story?

JD:  The first video game that truly struck me and stayed with me was The Legend of Zelda. That sense of going on a mission and meeting different challenges definitely inspired The Path in my book.

4) You gave almost all your characters from The Maze Runner a first name only.  And it seems you’re keeping that trend for this book as well.  Any reason for that?

JD:  I usually don’t find much point in telling you what someone’s last name is. They rarely come up in casual conversation, especially amongst friends. It just seems info-dumpy. Plus, it makes the character a little more open to your interpretation the less you know specifically.

5) What was the most challenging part about writing this novel?

JD:  Crafting it to build to the end I wanted. I’ve never planned and crafted this much.

6) You have three major characters in this first book of the series, one of them being female.  Will there be any romantic development between any of them, minor or major?

JD:  I’m not a big romance guy, as my readers can attest. If something develops naturally, it will, but it will never be a main aspect of my works.

7) What are your favorite video games to play?

JD:  Skyrim is awesome. But, honestly, I like physical gaming more than video gaming. Everything from Magic to Ticket to Ride!

The Eye of Minds comes out Tuesday, October 8, 2013.  Check out my short, non-spoiler review of The Eye of Minds.

James Dashner’s THE EYE OF MINDS Book Tour

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James Dashner will be touring a good many places during October and November for book one of The Mortality Doctrine series, The Eye of Minds.  Check out the places and dates below:

DATE

TIME

LOCATION


10/8/2013

7:00pm

Official launch party,
sponsored by The King’s English
Rowland Fall High School
843 Lincoln St.
SALT LAKE CITY, UT 84102


10/9/2013 7:00pm TATTERED COVER BOOKSTORE
9315 DORCHESTER ST
HIGHLANDS RANCH, CO 80129-2521

10/10/2013 6:30pm BOULDER BOOKSTORE
1107 PEARL ST
BOULDER, CO 80302-5103

10/11/2013 7:00pm Ramsey County Library
2180 Hamline Ave N
Roseville, MN 55113

10/12/2013 1:00pm WILD RUMPUS
2720 W 43RD ST
MINNEAPOLIS, MN 55410-1643

10/12/2013 7:00pm BARNES & NOBLE #2967
3940 DIVISION ST
SAINT CLOUD, MN 56301-3790

10/21/2013 7:00pm ANDERSON BOOK SHOP
123 W JEFFERSON AVE
NAPERVILLE, IL 60540-5310

10/22/2013 7:00pm BARNES & NOBLE #2622
55 OLD ORCHARD CENTER
SKOKIE, IL 60077

10/23/2013 6:00pm SCHULER BOOKS INC
2820 TOWNE CENTRE BLVD
LANSING, MI 48912-5614

10/24/2013 6:30pm NICOLA’S BOOKS
2513 JACKSON AVE
ANN ARBOR, MI 48103-3818

10/25/2013 6:30pm BARNES & NOBLE #2701
1701 MALLORY LN
BRENTWOOD, TN 37027-2800

10/26/2013 2:00pm PARNASSUS BOOKS, LLC.
3900 HILLSBORO PIKE
NASHVILLE, TN 37215-2724

10/27/2013 2:00pm BOOKS-A-MILLION #530
8507 KINGSTON PIKE
KNOXVILLE, TN 37919-5354

11/5/2013 7:00pm BARNES & NOBLE #2647
760 SE MAYNARD RD
CARY, NC 27511-5720

11/6/2013 7:00pm QUAIL RIDGE BOOKS
3522 WADE AVE
RALEIGH, NC 27607-4048

11/7/2013 5:00pm Bethesda Library
7400 Arlington Rd
Bethesda, MD 20814

11/8/2013 7:00pm BARNES & NOBLE BOOKSTORE
2516 SOLOMONS ISLAND RD
ANNAPOLIS, MD 21401-3710

11/9/2013 2:00pm BOOKS-A-MILLION #378
137 SPOTSYLVANIA MALL
FREDERICKSBURG, VA 22407-1126

11/16/2013 3:30pm 92nd Street Y
1395 Lexington Ave
New York, NY 10128

11/17/2013 4:00pm R.J. JULIA BOOKSELLERS LTD.
768 BOSTON POST RD
MADISON, CT 06443-3047

11/18/2013 6:00pm OBLONG BOOKS & MUSIC
6420 MONTGOMERY ST
RHINEBECK, NY 12572-1356

11/19/2013 7:00pm BARNES & NOBLE #2216
91 OLD COUNTRY RD
CARLE PLACE, NY 11514-1812

11/20/2013 7:00pm THE DOYLESTOWN BOOKSHOP
16 S MAIN ST
DOYLESTOWN, PA 18901-4698

11/21/2013 7:00pm CHILDREN’S BOOK WORLD X103136
17 HAVERFORD STATION RD
HAVERFORD, PA 19041-1506

11/22/2013 7:00pm Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
4400 Forbes Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Check on the links to confirm the date and time and if possible tickets are needed.

James Dashner Interview with MTV Geek on THE EYE OF MINDS

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We’re still anticipating the release of a trailer for The Maze Runner movie, but in the meantime, check out this interview with James Dashner on his upcoming book, The Eye of Minds.

MTV Geek: I must admit, I was really surprised at some of the twists and turns this story took.  I’d seen it publicized as a virtual reality/cyberpunk thriller, but it seems like you used the premise as a launchpad to spin off in all kinds of directions, and break down barriers between genres.  Was that your original intent, or did that evolve as the story developed?

James Dashner: My main intent from the start was to do something that felt different from Maze Runner. Other than that, I just wanted to take my readers on a trip that would constantly surprise them while having a good time along the way. It was a lot of fun for me to have the backdrop of a virtual reality world because the possibilities are endless. The challenge was to keep it grounded in reality somehow, where the real terror can come to life.

Geek: Did this story come about as a reaction to the wide-open feel of your Maze Runner series, where tech didn’t play as much of a part in the story?

Dashner: I specifically wanted to avoid this book being called a dystopian or post-apocalyptic tale, even though it was set in the future. It was important to me for the new series to feel different. And yes, it was liberating to be in an entirely different world where I could flex those creative muscles like crazy. I had way too much fun writing this book.

Geek: Given that this new book envisions all sorts of advanced tech, where do you go for information and inspiration on that front? Are you a gamer yourself? Do you keep up with Wired/BoingBoing/tech journals/etc?

Dashner: I’m the type of person who stays very dialed-in with the latest advancements in gaming and technology because it fascinates me. If you’d shown me as a kid what we have today, I would’ve died of shock and excitement. That’s why I think the world of the VirtNet is not even remotely implausible. I think it’s 20 to 30 years away at most.

Geek: This is the first of a planned series of novels…  Do you have a specific end in mind, or are you just seeing where the characters take you, and leaving it open-ended?

Dashner: I’ve already mapped this particular story arc as a trilogy, and not just because that’s a popular length for a series. It just really worked out well for what I want to happen overall. I do think this series would have a better chance of having a sequel than The Maze Runner did. That trilogy pretty much had an end with no story left to tell (except for prequels).

Geek: And as a motion picture adaptation of Maze Runner is now in production, has there been similar interest in this new series?  It certainly seems that there’s pretty great cinematic potential…

Dashner: There’s definitely been interest, but nothing is a done deal as of yet. But when I write, I always envision my scenes cinematically before they hit the page, so I really would love to see this one on the big screen some day.

The Eye of Minds will be released on Tuesday, October 8, 2013.

Read the full interview at MTV Geek.

THE MAZE RUNNER Interview Continues with Wes Ball, Wyck Godfrey, Dylan O’Brien, and James Dashner

We posted part 1 of the interview with director Wes Ball, executive producer Wyck Godfrey, actor Dylan O’Brien, and author James Dashner, back in August, and here are highlights from the rest of that interview, done by Kimmy at Page to Premiere.

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At the panel yesterday, we saw the clip of you coming up in the box. You were saying that you had a very specific idea of how you wanted that to look. Can you talk about how you decided how that was going to work?

Wes Ball: Well you didn’t get to see it in the box, so wait til you see the trip up. The trip up is going to be very cool. It’s the first thing I ever pre-­vized. It’s an experience; it’s like a ride. It’s like a ride at Disney World or something. The lights go off, and suddenly, “Boom!” It comes on, and the thing comes to life, and you find yourself in this crazy world. He suddenly wakes up, like, “What the hell? Where am I?” I don’t explain anything at all, there’s just this crazy sound; it’s going faster and faster and faster. It’s rising, like, “Where the hell is it taking me?” So finally, it just hits this buzzer, and then it hits its stop, and then, “Boom!” The doors open up, and we are in the movie. It’s gonna be a very cool experience. I don’t even want credits up front. I just want them to start, and then, “Boom!” We’re in the box with Thomas as the audience, and experiencing it through his eyes.

James Dashner: Which perfectly captured the vision of the book and how the books go. I mean, he was the perfect choice to direct this movie. I think this is historic that we’re talking about this, because like six or seven months before they even started filming, he sent me his concept video for that scene he just described, and I knew that he was the best.

Wes Ball: It’s very dark, you know, it’s rattly and rusty. It’s cool, it’s neat. I’m really excited to get into that. But obviously we couldn’t build a 500 foot tall elevator shaft, so there was a lot of CG. But Dylan got beat up pretty good in that elevator cage.

Wyck Godfrey: Yeah, unfortunately, we built the cage out of like real rusty metal. So Dylan’s shooting over and over again, like trying to get out of this thing, and literally his hands are bleeding. We’re like, “Oh yeah, maybe we should have probably treated this. That’s all right, it’s just Dylan. Don’t worry about it.”

Wes Ball: Fortunately, by that point, that was like day 40 of 43. Suck it up man, let’s go.

Dylan O’Brien: At that point we were all the way in, I didn’t care.

Wes Ball: [points at a scar on Dylan’s arm] That’s probably from Maze Runner!

Dylan O’Brien: Yeah, my moles got ripped off! I have these two signature moles ­ not signature, like [laughs] as if anyone else would know them! Like I always remember seeing these two moles here. They were very much a part of my arm, right here. They just got ripped off, one day!

James Dashner: It’s in a baggie, I’ll sell it on Ebay. [laughs]

Wes Ball: I did a proper job of beating up Dylan O’Brien in this movie.

Dylan O’Brien: I wish my back was actually still all the way bad from the last day of shooting, because it would have been the funniest to just come here and lift my shirt…and…

Wyck Godfrey: “Look at what they did to me!”

Wes Ball: He always did it with a smile.

James Dashner: You did see those incredible images of him in the box, and I love that. Gally jumping down! That’s just going to be such a cool scene.

Dylan O’Brien: Day 1, Greenie.

James Dashner: You were probably watching the screen and not me, but my eyes were all moist.

Wes Ball: We only showed like 10%, man. A lot of the big stuff I can’t show because it’s all the effects.

Read the rest of Part 2 of the interview here.

Can you talk about the hero’s journey or the writing structure of your book?

James Dashner: Sometimes it’s hard for me to articulate the process going into writing. Normally, I just
follow my instincts. But I have loved movies and have loved books my whole life, so I think it’s just in my brain. But Thomas definitely goes through the hero’s journey, and I wanted the reader to experience that with him, which is why the first 30 or 40 pages are kind of disoriented; you don’t know what’s going on.

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Wyck Godfrey: You should talk about how you view the movie as an extended metaphor.

Wes Ball: It’s kind of corny, but I always did think about it as… The way we approach Thomas arriving in this world, to come up almost naked and soaking wet and confused and disoriented and you don’t know where you are, it’s very much like being born. So they’re spit out into this world with no identity or who they are and all this stuff. There’s this idea that you’re born into this place ­ you can call it a house ­ surrounded by walls. They are your protection. They’re there to keep you in this place. Everything outside those walls is dangerous: don’t go out there. It’s like your parents telling you you can’t go outside the door and all that stuff. So I think this movie is very much around that period in your life when you’re ready to leave the nest, essentially, and face the dangers that are beyond this world: those monsters, the different paths you can possibly take outside the walls… So that kind of metaphor, I think, is an obvious one.

And then I think it’s movie two, where I always kind of saw it as essentially, you’re going into high school or you’re going to college. You’re kind of on your own and get into your own trouble now, but there’s still a little bit of that, if you know the stories at all, there’s still a little bit of that parental, sort of adult supervision over top of you. And then the third movie’s really about, you know, you’re on your own to figure out your own life, and all that stuff.

So, I kind of broke it up in my mind. That was kind of the journey, I guess, that we would take on this movie. We didn’t do anything heavy­handed with it, but it’s good to have in the back of your mind what you’re trying to tap into, you know. There’s a lot of stuff with like, when Thomas comes up, the classic things you go through when you first go into high school or whatever it is. There’s a lot of those sort of familiar emotions. It’s kind of obvious stuff.

Can you talk about the development process at all?

Wyck Godfrey: I came in even after Wes was on it, and he really should speak to the development, because he and his best friend from college ­ T.S. Nowlin ­ kind of rehashed the script, and then I was a part of it for the last 8 weeks or 3 months, really. But it was fun. We kind of took the script apart while we were on location and rebuilt it, and the studio was really great about giving us the power. I think the one thing that I tried to do when I came in was make Wes understand how important the source material was.

Wes Ball: Make sure, because you can kind of veer away and not know it. He would always be like, “Remember this, and remember this scene!” And you’re like, “Oh yeah, you’re right! Okay, we’ll put that back in.”

Wyck Godfrey: And that would be the thing, is just making sure… You can expand upon the book, but you also want to get those scenes that you know the audience loves and get them right. That was really what I tried to help with. But Wes deserves most of the credit in terms of really creating the script.

Read the rest of part 3 of the interview here.

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After you read the book, or after you read the script, is there a scene that stood out and you’re like, “I’m really excited to shoot that scene.”

Dylan O’Brien: Yeah, so many.

Wes Ball: There are some very, very cool scenes in the movie.

Dylan O’Brien: Yeah, so many cool scenes.

Wes Ball: It almost seems like at least every couple days, Dylan would say, “Oh, I’m so looking forward to this scene. I’ve been thinking about it since I first read it.” You can tell. There’s like an excitement, and Dylan wants to do a really good job on this one scene. And what surprised me is it wasn’t the physical stuff. The stuff you really liked was all the quiet little one-­on-­one with the actors scenes. They were some of the best scenes in the movie, I think, surprisingly.

James Dashner: I’ve got to say, that scene from where you literally did not say anything, and it was powerful. You don’t even know what scene I’m talking about. I don’t want to say what it is.

Wyck Godfrey: Dylan’s really great when he doesn’t speak. ­

Wes Ball: He’s best when he doesn’t talk, I’ll tell you that right now.

James Dashner: I think that when he speaks, he’s even better.

Wes Ball: There are just a lot of cool scenes in this movie. Especially the trip up! It’s a cool scene. You know, meeting Chuck for the first time, it’s a cool scene. Getting the tour by Alby, that moment of going through the walls and the doors close, all these little cool moments, and we really try to milk them for all they’re worth. It was a lot of fun. It’s really, really cool.

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The Glade was actually a place, but then the maze was on a blue screen. Can you talk about the experience of shooting both different parts?

Dylan O’Brien: Yeah, it was so funny because we started out in the Glade for four weeks, and we had this like crazy environment where everything was…

Wes Ball: Rustic.

Dylan O’Brien: Yeah, geographically… It was so real, and down and dirty, and sweaty, and gross, and snakey, and spiders, and forest flies, and everything. We were in the dirt. And we would have this huge blue screen that looked so tall all over the place, and we would just put that wherever we needed. And then we went to the stage, and all of a sudden, it’d just be like me in a land of blue. Maybe a wall or something. Or we’d be in a parking lot with just a giant blue screen on the side of the highway. That was awesome.

Wes Ball: It’s a weird exposition. Both the shifts and the location and worlds that we do in this movie. I don’t think I even really understood it when I first went into this thing. It’s like, we go from this rustic prairie, this environment of the Glade, ­to almost ancient stone walls and concrete to the WICKED labs. And then, out to the desert area…it’s weird. We just cross through these weird juxtapositions. It’s fun. It was like every day, we’re doing something crazy and new. It made for a good time.

Read the rest of part 4 of the interview here.

There’s more of the interview with Page to Premiere interview in part 2part 3, and part 4.