EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: James Dashner on THE KILL ORDER *Spoilers*, Part 2

killorder-dashnerHere’s the conclusion to our EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with author James Dashner, in which we also ask him about The Maze Runner movie.  Remember, there are *MAJOR SPOILERS* about The Kill Order.  If you haven’t already done so, please read the book before continuing on with this interview.

What was the challenge to writing this book as compared to the Maze Runner trilogy? Or did the story come out fairly easily?

JD: It was actually easier. And a lot of fun. I always had to worry about the over-arcing story of the trilogy when writing the others, but this one was self-contained and I wrote it very quickly.

Did you think about making this prequel into its own trilogy or was it always the plan to have only the one book?

JD: No, the plan was always just to write one book. Always. Like I said earlier, there’s just not any more story to pull from this world.

Where did the idea of a Transvice come from? Star Trek?

JD: Not really Star Trek. It’s just the one scientific achievement that I daydream about the most. Instant travel to anywhere. I’d give anything to have that ability. I can’t think of anything that could change the world more than that development.

(NOTE: Yes, I do believe James is talking about the Flat Trans, not the Transvice, but I won’t hold it against him.  It’s hard even for the author to keep track of all the things he’s created.)

This book barely gave the reader time to breath, being that it was so action-packed as well as mentally tiring (not that I didn’t love it, though). Why was it necessary to make their journey so bleak and ultimately tragic?

JD: Well, the trilogy was bleak, as you know. And this book’s purpose was to set that up, to show how the world got into the mess that made the story of The Maze Runner necessary in the first place. It was just a dark story from the get-go.

tmrcoverIn regards to the Maze Runner movie, are you going to have any involvement in the development or pre-production of it? 

JD: I’ve had a conversation with the director, and there’s a chance I could get involved a little bit later down the road. But it’s still very early in the process.

Were you able to give any suggestions as to who they should cast for any of the characters? 

JD: Not yet. They haven’t reached the casting stage as of yet.

As with many movies based on books, not everything that the book has will be included in the movie. Are there any scenes that you think are essential to have in the movie?

JD: That’s such a hard one. I know that movies represent a very different form of storytelling, and that changes are always necessary. But it makes me sad to think of any scene being cut or altered too much. But I’ll leave it in the hands of the experts and hope for the best.

There you have it, folks!  We hope you enjoyed all the insights from James about The Kill Order.  Might I suggest this book as a Christmas gift for your reader friends and family.  Click on the link the sidebar to order The Kill Order now!  

Read Part 1 of our exclusive interview with James here.


EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: James Dashner on THE KILL ORDER *Spoilers*, Part 1


James Dashner has been touring internationally lately, however, he was able to spend a little bit of his time in answering my questions.  Just to let you know, there are *MAJOR SPOILERS* about The Kill Order.  So, if you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend that you do before you read on in this interview.  Now let’s get on with it.

To refresh your memory, The Kill Order (TKO) takes place 13 years prior to the events in The Maze Runner.  This time the story is seen through the point of view of Mark as he deals with trying to survive along with a group of other survivors after the sun flares hit the earth , including his schoolmate Trina.

The relationship between Mark and Trina seems like what could’ve been the relationship between Thomas and Teresa before they were in the maze. Did you mean to make that similarity or is it just my imagination?

JD: I’m not sure it was intentional, to be honest. Although I can say that the relationship, and its lost potential, for Thomas and Teresa is always prevalent in my head, so it very possibly affected me as I wrote TKO.

Virus VC321xb47 was a vicious killer. Is there any significance to the name of the virus?

JD: Only in that we did our research and wanted it to sound legitimate. Plus, I love it that something so deadly has such an emotionless, scientific name.

The way that the sun flare happened is horrifying.  Do you mean to put fear into every kid’s heart about the sun exploding on us?  Or did you just want them to understand one different end-of-the-earth possibility?

JD: Oh, my goal is always to terrify kids and give them nightmares! Maybe haunt them for life. 🙂 I just wanted an apocalyptic scenario that hadn’t been used too much already. It was fun to research.

Darnell’s death from the virus was pretty gruesome.  Did you come up with a detailed explanation as to what the virus exactly does to the brain?

JD: Yes. Basically it eats away at the parts of the brain that run our mental abilities and conscience, driving a person utterly and truly insane. That concept terrifies me.

solar flareHow much research did you do in regards to sun flares and the earth’s reaction to it? 

JD: A lot, actually. I had to take some liberties for the story, but I tried to stay as true as possible to what scientists believe might happen in such a disaster. Most people think about the heat, but radiation is actually the bigger problem.

When did you decide to make Teresa a main character in TKO?  And why choose Teresa over, say, Thomas to be a part of TKO? 

JD: It all had to do with the backstory I’d created a long time ago. Thomas was discovered after the creation of WICKED, when they actively sought out those who were immune. Teresa was the first discovery that such people even existed.

Do you think the fact that Mark had sent Deedee through the Flat Trans, seeing that Mark and Trina were unwilling to go through it themselves for a possible cure and to avoid infecting anyone else, was the reason she became so loyal to Wicked?  Because she felt in her own way that it was her responsibility to save humankind?

JD: That is one of the most insightful questions I’ve ever received. If I’m honest, I don’t think I thought of it quite that way per se, but I definitely knew that Teresa’s memories of Mark and Trina and the horrors she saw would affect her deeply, leading to her eventual loyalty to finding a cure.

I know you’ve said that the Maze Runner trilogy and this prequel is the end of the whole series.  Are you absolutely certain about that?  

JD: As absolutely certain as I can possibly be at this time. I can’t imagine another story to squeeze out of it. There’d be no surprises left, and surprises are essential to my storytelling.

Please check back tomorrow for the conclusion of the interview and more insight about The Kill Order, plus a bit of information about The Maze Runner movie!

A Review of The Kill Order


I was lucky enough to get an ARC (advance reader’s copy) of the prequel to The Maze Runner series, The Kill Order.  The book comes out on August 14, 2012.  Well, this is a prequel to in every sense of the word, and the book focuses on pretty much a whole new set of people.

I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had just finished reading the Maze Runner series, so of course my first thoughts were that this was going to be how Thomas and Teresa were involved, maybe hoping for a deeper insight to what their relationship was like before they had the swipe done on them and went into the Maze themselves.

Instead, what we get is something very intriguing and more into how the whole Flare was started, which actually makes more sense to write about in the deeper scope of things. The Maze Runner series was never about a love triangle anyway, and James Dashner has made it so that we are keen to remember that with this story.

The story itself is amazing. We are taken back to when the sun flares hit earth and the recent events after. And we get to see it through the eyes of a teen named Mark.

Let me just say that I already thought James Dashner’s vision of the heat-scorched earth and the people infected with the Flare was bad enough in the original series. But in this book, it just seems much more visceral and unfortunately, realistically terrifying, especially when you realize the “how” and “why” things happened.

Even though the results of natural catastrophes are undeniably scary, the thought that, were such things as sun flares hitting earth were to happen to the extent described in this book, people’s instinct to survive would cause perverse rationalizations for their actions is the true terror that Dashner has us venture into.

It is something that the author had already revealed in the original series, but it has definitely been brought more into light in this book as well.

I wasn’t sure if I could feel for the characters as much as I felt for the ones in the original trilogy, but it seems that Dashner made it a point to condense the amount of people to focus on so you could understand them and feel for them – the anger, heartache, pain, frustration, confusion, fear, sadness – you feel it all.

The thing about this book is that it doesn’t stop. You really hardly have time to rest from one chapter to the next and you just wish it would. But I guess that’s Dashner’s goal, to allow you to really get an idea of what it’s like to experience Mark’s world. There were many times where I just wanted to hug Mark and let him laugh and play and just have fun.

Now, I guess it’s labeled for Young Adult readers probably because of the fact that it’s from a teen’s POV, but the story and the actions in here are very adult in its violence and its tone, more than I thought of in the original trilogy. Still, it’s a great read and definitely makes you think, teens and adults alike.

When it comes out, I highly recommend you getting your hands on a copy ASAP, but of course, only after you’ve read The Maze Runner series first.

If you haven’t pre-ordered The Kill Order yet, you can do so here.

“The Kill Order” Excerpt (!!!)

You can now read the prologue and first five chapters of the Maze Runner prequel on USA Today!!!

The prologue takes place hours to minutes before the original trilogy, but the actual story takes place 13 years before that, one year after the solar flares. In the first five chapters we meet seven new characters: Mark, Alec, Trina, Lana, Darnell, the Toad and Misty, all people trying to survive after the solar flares scorched most of the earth. These chapters take place near Asheville, North Carolina one year after these seven escape New York City and lose almost everybody they love.

I can tell already that this is going to be a great story and I can’t wait for August 14th. 82 days! Feel free to comment what you think about these first few chapters as well as how you would feel if you were in the same situation as Teresa in the prologue.