James Smith Dashner was born in Austell, Georgia on November 26, 1972. He attended Brigham Young University where he studied accounting but decided to try his hand at writing, having been an avid reader since childhood. After several attempts, Dashner eventually created the character of Jimmy Fincher. Dashner would expand his story into an outline and eventually produced four books in a series, collectively known as The Jimmy Fincher Saga. After repeated rejections from publishers, Dashner's manuscript was well received by Cedar Fort and his writing career began to take form.
After completion of the four books in the Fincher series, Dashner began another planned trilogy: The Maze Runner. Like the previous saga, this series would again focus on a young boy in a perilous situation. Reviews of The Maze Runner were positive with many comparing the series to the wildly popular The Hunger Games series. Dashner has also completed a prequel to the series, The Kill Order. Dashner has stated that this series is heavily influenced by William Golding's The Lord of the Flies and Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game.