Just finished up an interview with Jamie Burroughs who was a survivor in my novel, The Maze. And yes, I realize that interviewing one of your own characters is a little meta (since it's like interviewing a part of your own subconscious), but indulge me a little.
Interview with Jamie Burroughs, Survivor of The Maze: Part 1
Q. You were trapped inside a strange labyrinth filled with snares, puzzles, and threats waiting at every turn. How would you describe your time inside The Maze?
Jamie: First of all, becoming a prisoner in that place was my own fault. Mistakes aren't free. You don't get to make them without consequence, and I had to learn that the hard way. The time I spent inside that maze was the most frightened I've ever been in my life. It was also the most disgusted with myself I've ever been. Imagine being stuck inside a place filled with riddles and tests that are designed to make you take a long, hard look at all your biggest flaws. Wandering inside that maze was like looking into a mirror that only reflected those parts of myself that were damaged and broken. Not only was I fighting for my life inside that dark place, but I was also being forced to realize that I wasn't at all the man I thought I was...or the man I wanted to be.
Q. What was the most frightening thing you faced in The Maze?
Jamie: That's like asking someone if they'd rather die by drowning, asphyxiation, or fire. Everything I faced in those shadow-filled hallways was frightening. I spent time in places like The Hall of the Crucified Thief and The Hall of Digital Eden. I fought my way through a garden filled with razor-blade flowers. And let's not forget about the minotaur that roams the corridors of the maze. He's a real peach. None of that sounds like a trip at one of those four-star vacation resorts that give you those drinks with the poofy little umbrellas, now does it? Yet, if I had to name the most frightening thing I faced in the maze it was myself. I saw myself at my absolute lowest, at rock bottom. I was made to see myself as I truly was, mired in transgression, lost in a hopeless place, unable to find the exit. It wasn't a pleasant feeling, I can assure you.
Q. What is the most important lesson you learned in The Maze?
Jamie: No one has ever fallen so far that they can't be forgiven. Also, to the man that has deluded himself into thinking that his life is good and has excused himself for all of the little sins he's let creep into his life-I would tell him to spend some time in that labyrinth. Walking through that maze is like walking through the corridors of your own soul. Nothing stays hidden there. All is revealed. Of course, as I eventually learned, that's the whole point of the labyrinth's existence.
Q. How did you finally escape?
Jamie: That prison was one of my own making, but I didn't understand that at first. Every man is the keeper of the doorway to his own personal maze. We can choose to open it so that the darkness of the world can seep in like water into a ship's hull, gradually filling the corridors with bleak darkness, which is what I did. Or we can choose to open that door and let hope and beauty in. I was my own personal jailer, but it took me a very long time to realize that I had control of the doorway. I had slammed the door shut behind me once inside, and it took some dark moments of self-examination to convince me to open it so that The Architect could enter in and show me how to escape from everything that was chasing me, everything I was running from. I made the choice to be lost in that place, but I also made the choice to be rescued from it too.
So what is The Maze?
In a nutshell, The Maze is the kind of book I wanted to read but could never find on shelves. It is a book that combines my love for dark fantasy/suspense and my belief in Christ. Sounds like a tough sell, I know! At one point in my life I wanted to be a horror writer. I was going to be the next Stephen King or Dean Koontz. Yet, time and time again my upbringing in a Southern Baptist Church inevitably crept into my writing, and morals tiptoed their way into my stories without me even realizing it. At some point in the journey I began to discover writers like Ted Dekker and Frank Peretti and realized that my tastes in fiction and my beliefs didn't have to be mutually exclusive. Maybe there was a way to marry the two and in the process use my gifts to give back to God. Other writers had figured out a way to write those Twilight Zone-styled tales in a way that wasn't offensive and in a form that spoke to me as a Christian. Why couldn't I? The short answer was I could...and did!
Thus, The Maze was born.
Here's the lowdown: A near death experience transports Jamie Burroughs into The Maze, a realm built by angels and demons and filled with traps and riddles for those haunted by their mistakes.
For Jamie, The Maze becomes a terrifying journey through a world of darkness where his soul and the lives of those he loves hangs in the balance. With his family in danger and his soul in peril, Jamie is forced to reevaluate the kind of man he truly is as he struggles to escape The Maze before it’s too late.
Fun Fact #1: The Maze is the first book in The Lost Labyrinth Series. The second book, The Piper's Song, has been completed although there is no date for its release at the moment.