Sunday, October 14, 2007

Meet James Dashner

By Liz Adair

Time has a way of scrambling things in my memory, so I can’t remember if it was the ANWA conference of 2005 or 2006, but James Dashner was one of the presenters at one of them, and I attended his class. I can’t tell you a single writing principle that he taught, and I can’t say that I left the room a better plotter or dialoger or editor. What I did leave the room with was the wish that I could know this sweet, funny, gregarious, generous person better.

After the conference, I bought his four-book Door in the Woods series, had him sign them to my grandson Vaughn, and, when I got home, I stuck them away for Christmas. Luckily, when the yuletide approached, I still remembered where I put them, so my chance to be a hero didn’t get dashed by a senior moment.

Vaughn loved the present and wrote me a thank you card to tell me so. He periodically hugged me spontaneously as he reported where he was and in which volume (always assuming that I had read them, which I hadn’t). He used the books as the subject of several book reports. And, he constantly asked when James Dashner was going to write another book.

Yesterday I talked to him about the Jimmy Fincher series and asked why he liked them so. He said because James Dashner gives a lot of detail and describes the landscape, and his characters are always very interesting.

I asked him who his favorite character was, and he said it was the hooded one. Jimmy calls him Hood, he said, and went on to explain that Hood couldn’t talk, but he wrote with his finger. You could never tell what he was thinking.

Vaughn said that his favorite bit of action was when they climbed down the Tower of Air in the middle of the ocean, because the structure was so complex. He thought it was exciting when it collapsed on them.

He said his favorite book was the last one, The War of the Black Curtain, because Jimmy had all of his powers then and got to use them to his full extent.

Now, I may have got some of the names or terms wrong. It’s been a while since Vaughn read the books, and I sprang the questions on him as he was taking care of my flower planters for me, pulling out all the petunias and planting tulip bulbs. He grinned ear-to-ear when I told him there was a new book coming out in March of 2008, and he trooped in after me, leaving his muddy shoes at the door, to check out James Dashner’s blog and see a picture of the awesome cover.

If you’d like to get to know this sweet, funny, gregarious, generous person better, this writer-of-books-that-appeal-to-boys, then go to James Dashner’s blog at http://jamesdashner.blogspot.com . I promise you it will make you smile.

4 comments:

  1. Thanks, Liz!
    I was trying to come up with some reading ideas for my son. I had forgotten about the Door in the Woods series.
    I also enjoyed meeting James Dashner. I visited his blog. thanks for the link. It was great fun.

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  2. I don't know James Dashner and have never read his books, but they sound delightfully imaginative! I'll have to take a trip to his website soon. :-)

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  3. Hey, Liz, thanks for the shout out! Tell Vaughn that he is a stud of the highest order.

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  4. I, roo, visited James Dashner's blogsite, and remember meeting him. However, I've still to red him. I will, though. Thanks. You're very persuasive.

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