Wednesday, September 17, 2014

5 Secrets (What No One Knows About My Book)

Our guest author today is James DiBenedetto, who is going to share some tidbits about the writing of her book that no one knows--until today.

J.J. (James) DiBenedetto’s fans would swear he’s got 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. 
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.

Dream Student


1. I had two reasons for setting the book in 1989-90 (which might seem like kind of a random choice).  First, it’s when I was in college, and as the book is set at a very thinly veiled version of my alma mater, it seemed like a logical thing to do (“write what you know” and all that).  Second, setting it then meant that I didn’t need to deal with my characters having cell phones, Google and all the other technological goodies that would have made solving the mystery a trivial matter.

2. A totally random coincidence.  Midway through the book, Sara and Brian go out to dinner on New Year’s Eve, and I made up a fancy restaurant called the Blue Duck Inn, which I modelled after a DC-area legend, the Inn at Little Washington.  But I discovered shortly after I released the book that there actually IS a Blue Duck Tavern in downtown D.C., maybe ten minutes drive from my home.  I had no idea!

3. I’m still not sure what genre the book fits in, even though it’s been out

for eighteen months.  It’s got romance, mystery, suspense and a paranormal aspect (Sara’s ability to step into other people’s dreams).  But no one aspect is really dominant, so when you ask me what kind of book it is, my answer changes based on the time of day or phase of the moon. 

4. As far as being a mystery, I’m not even sure if that’s accurate.  If I had to pick a story to compare DREAM STUDENT to, as far as the way the plot is structured (but in no other respect!), I’d have to say “The Silence of the Lambs.”  Why?  Because, like in “Silence,” we know early on who the killer is, but that’s not really the problem.  The difficulty is in using what the characters know about him (or can dig up) to figure out where he is and stop him before he can strike again.

The second book in the series, DREAM DOCTOR, is much more of a traditional mystery: in that book there are several suspects, all of whom want one particular person dead, and the challenge is figuring out which one it is, before they can do the job.

5. The cover you see here isn’t the original one.  The first cover was hand painted by a local artist, working from my direction (and my truly horrible initial sketch).  The result was beautiful…but not at all what readers expected, and so a change was needed.  I was lucky enough to connect with Emma Michaels (, who did an amazing job on the new cover.

Blurb from Dream Student

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.

To Buy Dream Student go to these links: (Audible audiobook)

You can find James on these links:

Thanks for checking out James and his secrets. If you have any comments
or questions, James will be around to answer them today.

And don’t forget to check back next Thursday to find out even more author secrets about their book. 


  1. Congratulations on your book, James. I like Blue Duck Inn name and shall be looking for it.

  2. What a pretty cover! Congrats on the book release! I wish you all the best!