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’s first published work. He’s just released the fifth book in the series, Waking Dream. Here’s a brief look at the previous four.
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.
In this interview, James discusses the Dreams series as a whole and gives a little more information about the previous books in the series.
1. How would you describe your book to someone who has not yet read it?
My Dream Series books are a little bit of everything: romance, mystery, suspense, and humor, with a paranormal twist. And plenty of heart.
2. Is there a message in your book that you want your readers to grasp?
I didn’t set out to push a particular message, but I think there’s one there all the same. Basically, it’s the importance of following your conscience, and stepping up to do the right thing. And not taking advantage of other people or abusing whatever power you might have over them.
3. How much of the series is based on real life (either yours or someone you know)?
The setting for the first and second book is a (very) thinly-veiled version of where I went to college, and it’s set around the same time (1989-90 for the first book, 1991 for the second). Many of the secondary characters and locations are drawn from my life. But the main characters, and the story itself, are completely original.
4. Which came first, the title or the novel?
The novel! It took me a long time to finally come up with Dream Student as the title. The next couple of books, the title and the story came together. They were kind of obvious – the second book has Sara in medical school, so Dream Doctor was a natural choice. And the third book features Sara’s daughter and how she shares her mother’s ability to see dreams, so Dream Child was the only possible title for that.
5. What scene or bit of dialogue in the books are you most proud of, and why?
From Dream Student, I’m especially happy with a short scene between Sara and her father, when they talk about just how deep her feelings for Brian, her new boyfriend, are. It’s sentimental without being sappy, and it really defines the relationship between Sara and her father.
In Dream Family, the scenes with Sara in jail, and immediately after she’s bailed out, were very difficult to write, but they’re very powerful and probably my best writing.
6. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything about your book?
Other than tweaks here and there, I don’t think I would. I’m very happy with all the books in this series. They say what I want them to say, and they tell the story I wanted to tell.
7. Considering a book from the first word you write to the moment you see it on a bookstore shelf, what’s your favorite part of the process? What’s your least favorite?
My favorite part is when I’ve got a great idea for a scene and it just flows from my head straight to the keyboard. My least favorite part is the marketing and selling – it’s so much more difficult than I imagined it would be.
8. What book are you reading right now?
I just finished a fantastic indie novel called The Dream Jumper’s Promise by Kim Hornsby. Next up, it’s getting to be time for my yearly re-read of Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin (the best novel I’ve ever read or will ever read, hands down).
9. What’s up next for you?
The fifth book in the Dream Series is coming out this week, and I’m working on the next book right now, as well as an unrelated novel. And I’ve got the idea for the seventh Dream Series book already.
10. Is there anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I’d like to thank them for giving me a chance, and for embracing Sara and Brian and all the other characters that I’ve been living with in my head for the last year and a half!
Here’s where you can find the books:
All four books are also available at:
You can connect with James online:
his personal page.