James DiBenedetto is the author of of “The Dream Series”. AlliesOpinions has reviewed the fist two books of this series with more to come. To see the reviews, click the titles. “Dream Student” “Dream Doctor”
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.
Q: The “Dream Series” is definitely unique. What gave you the idea to begin writing it?
The idea came from a question: in mystery stories, why do average people try to solve crimes themselves instead of going to the police like any normal person would do? And my answer was, what if the only evidence of the crime was in their head, if they saw the crimes through the eyes of the criminal. Or, even better, in the dreams of the criminal. Then you’d have to investigate yourself, because what could you possibly tell the police? The idea came from that, and the character of Sara was born right along with the basic idea.
Q: What made you decide to make Sara a doctor?
Right from the beginning, the setting for the idea was college, and Sara was always a pre-med student. I’m not sure where that came from, she was just “born” that way. When I finished the first book, I felt like I had some momentum still going and I wanted to continue, so it just seemed logical to follow her to medical school. And when that book was done and I still wanted to continue Sara’s story, the obvious choice was to see what life was like for her as a practicing doctor.
Q: Do you believe that the ability to tap into someone’s dreams is possible?
I do. There’s so much we don’t know about how our minds work, and so many unexplained things out there. I think a lot more is possible than we imagine.
Q: If you found that you had the abilities that Sara has, would you use them the way she does?
I’d like to think so. But you never really know until you’re in that situation. And she struggles with doing the right thing herself, especially as she gets more control over her ability and learns how much she can really do with it. I don’t know that I would trust myself with the full range of things Sara can do by the end of the series. I’m not sure I’d trust anyone with that kind of power!
Q: Do you have any writing quirks?
Not really, as far as my writing process. In my actual writing, I tend to digress a lot, and I probably overuse parentheses (although I’ve gotten better about it in my actual books!)
Q: What kind of music do you listen to when looking for inspiration?
Mostly classical and opera – that’s what I listen to the majority of the time anyway. Although the first Dream Series book, DREAM STUDENT, is influenced by 80’s music – it does take place in 1989-90, after all!
Allie: I actually really enjoy listening to Opera. Most people look at me like I’m crazy when I say that.
Q: Other than writing, what other hobbies do you enjoy?
Reading, movies, cooking, the opera and trying to keep our cat out of trouble (that last one is more of a constant job than a hobby, I guess!)
Allie: I spend a fair amount of time trying to keep my pack of animals out of trouble too. Full time job.
Just For Fun Questions:
Q: If you could time travel, where would you go and what would you do?
October 14, 1930. I’d go to the premiere of “Girl Crazy.” It’s my favorite of the old George Gershwin musicals. He conducted the orchestra himself, and Benny Goodman, Jimmy Dorsey and Glenn Miller were all in the orchestra that night. And, it was the debut of Ethel Merman, and also the show that made Ginger Rogers a star. Can you imagine all that talent on one stage?
The boring answer is, I’d go back to 1986 and invest a few thousand dollars in Microsoft when it went public. That’d be worth three million dollars today.
Q: Imagine you are stranded on an island. What three things would you most want with you? (other than people, food, shelter and necessities for life)
My iPad (and something to charge it with). That would take care of music, video and reading needs.
A whole lot of Legos. Yes, I’m a child at heart!
My cat, Danny.
Q: If you could shape-shift into anything, what would you pick?
If I could change back and forth, I’d pick a bird of some kind. It’d make getting to and from work a lot easier!
If it was permanent, I think I’d just pick my own body from twenty years ago (a lot more hair, a lot fewer pounds!)
About The Series
College junior Sara Barnes thought her life was totally under control. All she had to worry about was her final exams, Christmas shopping, applying to medical school – and what to do about the cute freshman in the next dorm with a crush on her. Everything was going according to plan, until the night she started seeing other people’s dreams.
It’s bad enough that Sara is learning more than she ever needed to know about her friends and classmates, watching their most secret fantasies whether she wants to or not. Much worse are the other dreams, the ones she sees nearly every night, featuring a strange, terrifying man who commits unspeakable crimes. Now Sara wonders if she’s the only witness to a serial killer – and the only one who knows when and where he’s going to strike next.
Dream Student is the first book of the Dream Series.
Other Books By JJ Dibenedetto:
This Author has earned the AlliesOpinions official stamp of approval.