I’m pleased to have J.J. “James” DiBenedetto as my guest. Book 9 of the Dream Series, Fever Dream, is now available, and I’m sure you’ll find the author just as interesting as his book.
James, did your dream series literally begin with a dream? How did the idea come about?
The idea came from asking a question. Why do people in mystery stories always try to solve a crime themselves, when most sane people would just go to the police? The answer I came up with was: if the only evidence they had was in their head. If they were seeing the crimes from inside the mind of the criminal. What could you tell the police then? If you wanted to stop the crimes, you’d have to investigate yourself, at least to find some physical proof you could then go to the authorities with. And the main characters – Sara, the heroine, and Brian, her boyfriend (and husband as the series goes on), sprung fully-formed from that idea. The setting of the first book (a very thinly veiled version of where I went to school) also came to life right away with the initial idea.
Men aren’t normally known for romance adventures. To what do you credit being able to write good romance?
I don’t know, honestly. I just try to be true to the characters. Writing in first person, I’ve had to try and get into Sara’s head, and after nine books, I know her better than I know myself (which is sort of frightening, but I’m sure my fellow authors can relate to that!).
When did you first know you wanted to write?
Ever since junior high school. But I didn’t finish the first really long thing (the initial draft of Dream Student) until after college, and then it sat on my computer for years because I didn’t know what to do with it. In 2012, a friend sold her first novel to a small publisher, and I thought, “why can’t I do it, too?” and I dusted off that draft, rewrote it from the beginning, and all of a sudden I’ve got nine books now!
What is your writing process? Do you have a special place to write, are you alone, do you have a favorite drink by your side?
I don’t have any special process. Basically, since I have a full-time job, I write whenever I can find a free moment (this is being written while my wife is getting ready for church, for example!) I write on my desktop PC – I’d love to use my iPad, but I can’t work for any length of time on the virtual keyboard. And I know some writers use a notebook and write ideas down longhand, but that would be pointless for me – I can’t read my own writing! I usually have music (classical, so it’s familiar and not distracting) and if I have any drink, it’s water.
What are your preferred methods for promoting and marketing your books?
Writing more books! That’s the first thing – keeping the series going and providing new material for people who’ve discovered it. I’m on social media (mainly FB and Twitter – I still have yet to really understand Pinterest), I advertise regularly, and just anything else I can think of. I’ve had the books recorded for Audible audiobooks, I’m having them translated (so far there’s an Italian version of Dream Student, and there are Portugese, French, German and Spanish versions in the works, too).
Thank you, James, for visiting my blog!
James has quite a collection of adventures in the Dream Series that start with the question: What if you could see everyone else’s dreams?
Dr. Sara Alderson can. And her gift–or curse–will lead her on an extraordinary journey. Follow Sara as her newfo und ability leads her into adventures she never imagined while she finishes college, becomes a doctor and falls in love.
In book 9, Sara isn’t used to her patients dying for no reason. She refuses to accept that her young patient succumbs to a mysterious illness that defies all efforts to treat him. She probes into the boy’s background and soon discovers a greater threat to even her own life. Enemies she didn’t know she had, powerful people who don’t want their secrets uncovered, threaten her career, family and freedom. Time is running out as Sara must act fast before anyone else falls victim to the mysterious illness or before she falls victim to those who want to stop her.
Enjoy an excerpt from Fever Dream:
“Laurie, calm down. Just tell me. Whatever it is, it can’t be that bad.” I try and push calm thoughts through the line, across a few hundred miles to her down there in Washington. I don’t succeed.
“They were – he doesn’t know. There were two of them, a man and a woman. They showed him badges, and they threatened him. They wanted – he said they wanted all my financial records – everything for the practice, going back to when we first bought it. He said they told him to make copies of everything, give it to them, and not to say a word to anyone else about it.”
“Obviously he didn’t.” I see why she’s upset. What happened to Craig is illegal. It has to be. If whoever came to his house – if they do have real badges, if they are police – they have to have a warrant. And there’s nothing to find in the records anyway. At least, I know for sure there’s nothing as of the spring of 2002 when I left the practice. And I can’t believe Laurie would ever do anything illegal or even slightly questionable.
“That’s not all,” she says. “He said they were asking about legal problems we’ve had. Criminal matters.”
I pinch my arm as hard as I can; I don’t want to drift back to what happened almost a decade ago. That has to be what she means – what these mysterious people, whoever they were, meant. I ask, in a small, faraway voice, “Did he get their names?” but I already know the answer.
The Dream Series by J.J. DiBenedetto! Book #9, FEVER DREAM, is available now at these retailers: