Author Spotlight: J.J. DiBenedetto

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Introducing J.J. DiBenedetto, author of the Dream series. (I’ve reviewed the first two books, Dream Student and Dream Doctor.)

1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a native New Yorker (although I live in the Washington DC area these days), full blooded Italian (three of my four grandparents came off the boat), a fundraising professional by day, married to my beautiful wife and owner of (or maybe owned by) a tortoiseshell cat.

2. When did you start writing, and why?
I started in high school; I’ve always had the urge to write.  It was always science fiction then, and through college and afterwards.  About 10 years ago, I finally finished something – the first draft of what would become “Dream Student”.  It was a contemporary story rather than far future, starships and aliens sci-fi, and…well, it wasn’t very good.  So it sat for several years, until last year when a friend of mine sold a novel.  I decided, “why not me,” dusted off that first drat, rewrote it from the first word, and here I am now!

3. What do you write, and why? What do you enjoy about what you write?
I guess I’d call my books Paranormal Romance or Paranormal Suspense, but they really cross genres.  There is some romance, and suspense, and mystery and the paranormal twist (the heroine can see other people’s dreams), but it’s difficult for me to really pin down the genre exactly.

I enjoy these books because I’ve come to love these characters (I’d have to, to write five books about them!).  That’s the main thing.  And I like that (I think) I’ve been able to balance the mystery and the paranormal with everyday life and the difficulties we all face.

4. What is your latest book or series? Any forthcoming books?
My series is the Dream Series.  It follows Sara, who we meet in the first book as a college student hoping to go to medical school when her supernatural dreams begin.  The books follow her from there to med school, residency and becoming a doctor (as well as falling in love, getting married and becoming a parent).  They also follow her from confronting a serial killer to figuring out who’s trying to kill one of her teachers, to stopping a mobster and a corrupt politician.

The latest book in the series will be released later this month.  It’s called “Waking Dream” and it introduces something Sara’s never dealt with before – a nemesis.  She meets someone else (outside of her immediate family) who has the same talent for dreaming that she does…but not the same moral sense of what to do with it.

5. “Welcome To My Worlds”: Tell us a little about the world of your latest book or series.
The world of the Dream Series is our world.  I try to keep it as real as I can.  The one difference is the time.  The first book takes place in 1989-90 (not at all coincidentally, the same time I was in college), and each book jumps ahead as Sara’s life progresses.  The latest book takes place in January of 2001.

6. Introduce us to some of your characters. What do you like about them?
The heroine of the series is Sara Barnes.  When we first meet her, she’s a fairly typical bookworm.  She’s very shy and focused on her schoolwork.  She’s got a big heart, though, and a best friend who won’t let her stay in her shell.

Her boyfriend (later husband) is Brian Alderson, who’s even shier than Sara at first.  But he’s also very smart, extremely devoted to her, and he’s got a very goofy sense of humor that comes out over time.  He’s also ready to defend Sara and the rest of his family against anything that threatens them.

In the third book, “Dream Child”, we meet Lizzie, Sara’s daughter.  She’s about to turn four, and she’s incredibly precocious.  She’s very bright, friendly, bubbly, compassionate, and as Sara notes “doesn’t pay much attention to the line between good behavior and brattiness.”

7. A fun fact you would like your readers to know about you or your book.
A fun fact about me?  I was a DJ in college (5 to 7 AM Friday mornings!), and to this day I still have my FCC Class III Radio Operator’s License, and it’s still valid.

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8. Blog/site link, and where your book is available.
My blog is Writing Dreams (http://www.wrtingdreams.net)The books are available at Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/author/jjdibenedetto).  The first book, “Dream Student,” is also available at Audible.com and on iTunes as an audiobook.

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About kyrahalland

Kyra Halland has always loved fantasy. She has also always loved a good love story. Years ago, as a new stay-at-home mom, she decided to combine those two loves - like chocolate and peanut butter! - by writing the kinds of romantic fantasy novels she wanted to read. Complicated, honorable heroes; strong, smart, feminine heroines; magic, romance, and adventure; deep emotion mixed with a dash of offbeat humor - all of these make up Kyra Halland's worlds. She loves sharing those worlds with readers and hopes they will enjoy her stories and characters as much as she does. Kyra Halland lives in southern Arizona. She has a very patient husband, two less-patient cats, two young adult sons, a lovely daughter-in-law, and an adorable granddaughter. Besides writing, she enjoys scrapbooking and anime, and she wants to be a crazy cat lady when she grows up. View all posts by kyrahalland

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