His novel Dream Student traces the life of Sara Barnes when she starts seeing other people’s dreams. Unfortunately, those dreams come from a serial killer. Dream Student in the first book in his popular Dream Series of paranormal novels.
Hi, J.J. It’s nice to have you back on Author Wednesday. Have you ever felt as if a subject chose you rather than the other way around?
My entire Dream Series basically chose me. I got the initial idea from asking a question. Why do people in mystery stories try to solve the crime themselves, instead of calling the police like any sensible person would? My answer was: If they only saw the crime in their heads, through the eyes of the criminal, they’d have to investigate themselves. The characters were born fully-grown from that idea, and I’ve never looked back.
That’s so true about wondering why folks do what they do in the movies when we know they’re headed for trouble. I like that you were able to build on that–in quite a large way! So what’s going on with you now? Anymore books in this series ready for release?
I’m publishing the ninth book of the Dream Series (Fever Dream) later this month, and I’m working on the tenth and (I think) final book right now as well.
We’ll see. You’re on a roll and popular with your fans, so you might be persuaded to continue. Do all of these books in the series have common threads?
The series follows the same characters, specifically Sara and her family. Sara’s a seemingly ordinary woman, except for her special gift: She can step into other people’s dreams. When we meet her in the first book, she’s in college. In the newest book, coming out later this month, she’s in her late thirties, and she’s in charge of a hospital.
What’s your one sentence pitch for the Dream series?
“What if you could see everyone else’s dreams?”
How did you choose the title?
It took a long time to come up with “Dream Student” for the first book. I had several working titles I didn’t like before I finally happened on that title, and it ended up creating a common theme with “Dream” in all the titles. I’ve carried it through the rest of the books.
How long does the process take for you from the idea for a novel to a finished, published book?
The first book took fifteen years – from the time I wrote the first (not very good) draft, to when I picked it back up two years ago and rewrote it from page one. For the rest of the books, it’s taken from three to five months to write each additional one and release it.
You really picked up speed, but once you had the original concept, it probably helped all the other ideas fall into place. What type of research is required to write a book in the paranormal genre?
I’ve done so much research into all sorts of weird things. Not so much for the first book, because it’s set where (and when) I went to college, so memory got me though that. But the second book is set during Sara’s first month of medical school, and I knew absolutely nothing about that. So I had to do a lot of research into what med school is like. In the later books, I’ve had to dig into criminal law, the history of West Point, common childhood poisons, the procedure for an appendectomy, and a lot of other offbeat things.
Research sounds about the same as it would be for any other genre. Still need those facts about history and subjects to be accurate even though it’s fiction. Great talking to you today, J.J. I wish you great success with your new release. I know readers are waiting!
About J.J.: J.J. (James) Dibenedetto’s fans would swear he’s got a sixth sense when it comes to seeing into the minds of others and often wonder if his stories could possibly be fiction. He enjoys suspending disbelief with suspenseful paranormal tales that are a perfect blend of reality meets fantasy. His popular Dream Series continues to delight readers with each and every exciting installment.
Born in Yonkers, New York, he currently resides in Arlington Virginia with his beautiful wife and a cat he is sure has taken full advantage of its nine lives. When it comes to the cat, he often wonders, but then again it might just be his imagination.
Click below for links to J.J. and his books