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Mitchell Reichler
James Dashner has two series going.

You may have seen him working in your nearby bookstore or perhaps at a local cafe, though now it's more likely author James Dashner can be found penning his latest novel in his South Jordan home office.

But the BYU graduate does occasionally poke his head into old haunts just for a change of scenery.

Dashner, who can now add New York Times best-selling author to his list of accomplishments, has been fairly busy as of late, finishing up the third novel in the "Maze Runner" trilogy and working on a fourth in his 13th Reality series.

Keeping everything straight has been a challenge, Dashner told the Deseret News. Especially since he's been splitting work on the two series between morning and afternoon writing sessions. "I really have to just pause and kind of change my mindset if I'm changing from one series to another," he said. "They're just very different, and it's hard not to mix them up with tone and style. But I' doing my best."

Writing, Dashner says, is the most stressful job he's ever had — and that's after having worked as an accountant. Dashner is quick to point out it's a good stress, though, saying anytime he gets frustrated, he just has to think back to his other job.

"I love it," Dashner said. "It's stressful and it's a lot of work. And I easily spend more time on this job than any other I've ever had, but I wouldn't trade it for anything."

Right now, Dashner's focus is on "The Scorch Trials," the second book in the "Maze Runner" trilogy, which goes on sale Oct. 12.

The trilogy's first book, "The Maze Runner," www.deseretnews.com is a young-adult adventure about Thomas, a teen who awakens amid other teens in a dystopian society. "The Scorch Trials" deseretbook.com picks up right where its predecessor left off and then takes an entirely new direction — the Scorch.

Changing course was a risky move, but it's one that Dashner is very excited about.

"I wanted ("The Scorch Trials") to be very different from Book 1, and yet be a direct sequel," he said. "I think it will be fun for people to see it come out into the real world, and I think it goes kind of a surprising direction."

And while readers will find out some answers, most come in Book 3, "The Death Cure," which is due out October 2011. "I think it gives enough that people will be satisfied," Dashner said, "but hopefully they'll leave very hungry for the third one."

If sales of "The Maze Runner" deseretbook.com — it made the New York Times best-seller list — are any indicator, Dashner shouldn't be too worried about fans' hunger for his books.

All the success has gone beyond anything Dashner could have hoped for — he's also in negotiations with Fox to bring "The Maze Runner" to the big screen. And yet from his point of view, a lot of the credit should go to Random House — Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers is one of its imprints— for its big promotions push and to a little series called "The Hunger Games."

"I've always had high ambitions and aspirations," Dashner said. "But I think I owe a lot to 'The Hunger Games.' … (My series) kind of has the same feel, it's sort of a similar type of story. And I think that paved the way for mine as well. I was in a good place at the right time."

When it comes to writing, Dashner doesn't see an end in sight. He's got two books left in his "13th Reality" series, and he's already in the planning stages for his next series, another one for young adults, which he hopes will be released sometime in 2012.

If you go:

Who: James Dashner

What: "The Scorch Trials" release party

When: Tuesday, 7 p.m.

Where: The King's English, 1511 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City

Phone: 801-484-9100

Web: www.kingsenglish.com

e-mail: jharrison@desnews.com