Here are the first five books of the Dream Series, along with bonus material created especially for this collection. Included in this set are DREAM STUDENT, DREAM DOCTOR, DREAM CHILD, DREAM FAMILY and WAKING DREAM. In addition, you’ll find the short story BETTY & HOWARD’S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE starring Sara’s parents. But most of all, when you open this box of dreams, you’ll find romance, suspense, humor and plenty of heart…
Now welcome J.J. DiBenedetto for some interview questions, then hang around for blurbs and buy links for each of his novels.
1) What genre(s) do you write in? Why?
I’d call my books paranormal romance/suspense. It’s hard to pin down, because there’s a balance of romance to go along with the mystery/suspense plots, and the “paranormal” is one particular twist (Sara, my heroine, can see other people’s dreams)
2) What/Who inspired you to start writing?
I’ve always written, ever since high school. I wrote the first draft of what would become “Dream Student” 10+ years ago, and it just sat on my hard drive until a year or so ago, when a good friend of mine sold a novel. I decided, if she can do it, so can I, and here I am!
3) Is there a book or two that you wrote and love that’s not published? If so, tell us more. Or tells us about your current WIP.
I have about 100 pages of something that I’m not sure how to describe. There’s some good writing in there (at least, I think so!), and three or four really interesting ideas, but it got out of control, and it’s a big, incoherent mess. At some point, I want to go back and untangle it and see if I can do something with it, because I like the characters, and there is definitely a good story there, if I can figure out what it actually is!
4) Who would play your characters in a movie?
That’s a tough one, because my Dream Series books move forward in time – the first book takes place in 1990, and Sara is 21, and the book I’m working on, #7 in the series, is set in 2003 and she’s 35. I kind of like Emily Browning to play her – she’s right in the middle of that range, so I think she could play both the college girl and the adult, married Sara. For her husband, I think Lee Pace (from Pushing Daisies, and also he’s King Thranduil of the Mirkwood Elves in the new “Hobbit” movie) would be absolutely perfect for the adult Brian, but he’s too old to play the college version. I’m not sure who I’d want for that.
I know for sure that Nicola Bryant (of Doctor Who fame) should play Sara’s mother, and Kelly Bishop (Lorelei’s mother on “Gilmore Girls”) is Sara’s mother-in-law, Helen.
5) What writers/books inspired you?
My friend Jenna Povey directly inspired me to try and get my books out there, when she got her first novel, “Transpecial”, published earlier this year.
As far as books that inspire me, I’d say Mark Helprin’s “Winter’s Tale” – mainly as something to shoot for in terms of writing quality. If I can even write a sentence or two that measures up to his work, I’ll know I’ve accomplished something!
6) When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always wanted to be one, but it’s only in the last year that I realized I actually could do it.
7) Any suggestions for would be writers?
Keep writing! And understand that the job isn’t finished when the book is – it’s only starting. And selling the books (whether to a publisher, or to readers directly) is much harder than writing them in the first place.
8) What makes a good story to you?
Believable characters, who are also compelling in some way – people that you can care about and that you want to know what happens to. And they need to be in a world that makes sense. That can be a fantasy world with magic everywhere, or a science-fiction world with starships and aliens, or anything else – it just needs to be believable, so that I can imagine myself there in the character’s shoes.
9) Do you believe writers are born or made or both?
Both. I think that anyone can write at least a decent story, if they just sit down and do the work, and listen to feedback to make it better. But I also think that you can’t teach talent – really great writers are born (they still need to work hard to harness their gifts, though!)
10) Besides getting published, what was your awe moment?
Getting the first objective feedback on my first book, from someone I didn’t know, who had no reason to care about my feelings, and they really liked the book. That’s when I knew I’d written something that I could send out into the world with pride and confidence.
J.J. (James) DiBenedetto was born in Yonkers, New York. He attended Case Western Reserve University, where as his classmates can attest, he was a complete nerd. Very little has changed since then.
He currently lives in Arlington, Virginia with his beautiful wife and their cat (who has thoroughly trained them both). When he’s not writing, James works in the direct marketing field, enjoys the opera, photography and the New York Giants, among other interests.
The “Dreams” series is James’ first published work.
What would you do if you could see other people’s dreams? If you could watch their hidden fantasies and uncover their deepest, darkest secrets…without them ever knowing?
Sara Barnes is about to find out. She thought that all she had to worry about was final exams, Christmas shopping and deciding whether she likes the cute freshman in the next dorm who’s got a crush on her.
But when she starts seeing dreams that aren’t hers, she learns more than she ever wanted to know about her friends, her classmates…and a strange, terrifying man whose dreams could get Sara killed.
“Dream Student” is the thrilling first installment of the Dreams series.
“I didn’t expect to be woken up by someone I don’t know dreaming about killing somebody. I thought I was done with that once and for all…”
But Sara’s not done with it. As if adjusting to life as a newlywed and starting medical school weren’t difficult enough, she’s started seeing the dreams of everyone around her, again. Before everything is said and done, those dreams might destroy Sara’s hopes of becoming a doctor, wreck her marriage and even end her life…
“Dream Doctor” is the thrilling second novel in the Dreams series.
“I would give anything to take this away from her. I would gladly go back to having the nightmares myself – the very worst ones, the ones that had me waking up screaming in a pool of my own vomit – rather than see Lizzie go through this…”
As a resident at Children’s Hospital, Sara can handle ninety hour workweeks, fighting to save her young patients from deadly childhood diseases. But she’s about to be faced with a challenge that all her training and experience haven’t prepared her for: her four-year-old daughter has inherited her ability to see other people’s dreams…
“Dream Child” is the suspenseful third novel in the “Dreams” series.
“Why is this so hard for me? Why am I having so much trouble? Why do I feel so helpless, so hopeless? What the hell is wrong with me?”
After tangling with murders and mobsters, not to mention medical school and three years of residency, Sara thought she could handle anything. And then the police show up without warning at her new office and arrest her for a crime she can’t possibly have committed. Sara’s confidence, and her grip on reality, is shattered during one terrifying night in jail.
Now, the very dreams that have endangered her life and driven her to the edge of madness may be the only thing that can help Sara find herself again…
“Dream Family” is the powerful fourth novel in the “Dreams” series.
“Oh, God! We can hurt each other. Whatever we do to each other in the dream, we’ll do it to ourselves for real…”
When her own dreams are visited by a mysterious woman in a red dress, Sara realizes she has something she never expected: a counterpart, someone outside her family who shares her talent to see other people’s dreams.
When the woman in red keeps showing up in other dreams as well, leaving ruined lives in her wake, Sara knows she has something she never imagined: a nemesis.
Now, Sara must track the woman in red down in the waking world, before she’s forced to fight for her life in her dreams…
“Waking Dream” is the exciting fifth novel in the “Dreams” series.
“I wish someone – my mother, my husband, anybody – would really let me have it, instead of telling me everything’s not my fault when it obviously is…”
Sara’s seen the cost of interfering in other people’s dreams firsthand; it’s measured in ruined lives and cemetery plots.
When her supernatural dreams start up again, Sara is faced with problem after problem. And the only solution she can see is the one she’s sworn never to attempt – changing the minds of the dreamers from the inside-out.
Sara thought that fighting against serial killers, mobsters and crooked politicians was difficult, but she’s about to come up against the most difficult foe she’s ever faced: her own conscience.
Dream Reunion is the emotional sixth book in the Dream Series.
A Box of Dreams
What if you could see everyone else’s dreams?
Sara Barnes has just discovered that she can. And this gift – or curse – will lead her on an extraordinary journey.
Follow Sara as her newfound ability leads her into adventures she never imagined. She will hunt down a serial killer, investigate a plot to murder one of her teachers, unravel a conspiracy between a mobster and a corrupt politician and face off against her nemesis: a woman who shares her talent, but uses it to destroy lives rather than save them. And Sara will have to manage all that while finishing college, becoming a doctor and falling in love, too.
A Box of Dreams (books 1-5 Kindle Box Set)
All the books are also available at:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DAav3NL_rkk&feature=youtu.be (book trailer)
http://www.writingdreams.net/?p=800 (10 minute audiobook sample)