Thursday, 9 May 2013

The Dream Series

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.
When did you start writing?
In high school.  I wrote a short story for the school’s literary magazine.  All through college and grad school I wrote lots of first pages of stories that never went anywhere and a couple of longer stories that I never did anything with.  I finally wrote a novel-length story (the original first draft of Dream Student) 10 years ago or so, and then it sat on my hard drive until last year when I finally got off my behind and did something with it.
How do you fit in writing around your job?
I mostly write at night, and on weekends.  Sometimes there’s an hour or two in the mornings when I get up before my wife, and that’s good writing time, too.
Where did you get your inspiration from?
It comes from everything I experience.  The basic premise of the Dream books just “came to me”, but the setting and some of the minor characters were taken from real life (Crewe University in the first book is a very-thinly disguised version of my college, for example). 
Do you need peace and quiet to write or music?
I usually have classical music on, or opera.  It’s relaxing and familiar.
Do you plan your stories or just start writing?
I just write.  I usually have a general idea where the story will go, but none of the specifics.  Those don’t come until later.  For example, in the second book, I knew there would be multiple suspects who could be trying to kill Sara’s professor, but I didn’t know who they were until “revealed themselves” to me as I was writing.
Did the Dream Series books take long to write? 
It’s taken about a year to write the four books so far.  Each one has taken two months or so, and I needed time in between each one to come up with ideas for the next.  Right now I’m working on a fifth book.  I’m not sure if there’ll be more after that or not.
Were there any surprises along the way?
Lots of them.  Sara’s father emerged as a much more interesting character than I had expected, in the first book.  One of the main subplots of the second book was a total surprise to me.  Sara’s daughter, Lizzie, really steals the third book, and I didn’t expect that at all.  And the entire plot of the fourth book changed completely as I was writing it.

What’s the best and worst thing about being a writer?
The best thing to me is when I hear from a reader that they truly enjoyed my work.  The worst thing, so far, is the business end of things.  Writing the books has been so much easier than trying to sell them.

Find out more about J.J on the link below which also has links to be able to purchase his books.

Thanks to James for being on my blog today


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