Featured Author: James DiBenedetto
- Please introduce yourself. Tell us a little about the person behind the pen.
I’m a pretty average guy (at least, I think so). I’m originally from Yonkers, NY (literally on the street that bordered New York City – walk 10 feet and I’m in the Bronx), and I’ve lived in the Washington, DC area for 17 years or so. I came here for graduate school and just stayed afterwards.
I work in fundraising/marketing during the day (someone has to do it!), and I write my novels by night.
I’m married to a wonderful woman who’s also working on a novel of her own, and we’re both well-trained by our tortoise-shell cat who runs the household.
2. What made you decide to write a paranormal romance? Were there any influencing factors, or were any of the stories based on true events.
That’s just the story that came to me. I had an idea about someone with the ability to step into other people’s dreams, and the book grew from that.
The stories in the Dream Series are in no way whatsoever based on real events, but some of the incidental characters are modeled on real people to fill out the world. And the books are set in the “real world” so real-life events are mentioned (the book I’m working on now, #6 in the series, takes place in October, 2001, so the events of 9/11 come up in the course of the book, for example).
3. How do you promote your book, and do you find that difficult or just par for the course.
Incredibly difficult! I’m not a natural self-promoter, and there’s just so much to learn. And, on top of that, it seems as though the world of indie publishing and marketing changes daily. Techniques and websites that were effective even a couple of months ago stop working, and you have to find new approaches constantly. And NOBODY really knows the rules, as far as I can tell.
I’ve been doing everything I can think of – blog tours, FB, word of mouth, paid advertising, recording the books as audiobooks, etc.
4 Do you remember your first review and how it made you feel? (If it was a bad one, also tell about your good one too).
Oh, yes. Nearly all the reviews for the series have been very positive. The review from the Paranormal Romance Guild, as a professional-type organization with “real” reviewers, was especially exciting. It wasn’t a complete rave, but just the fact that the book compared favorably to other works, and that I could put it next to anybody else’s books and not be ashamed, was a huge lift for me.
5. Tell us about your book and if it’s a series and how the public is reacting to this book.
There are five books so far in the Dream Series. They all follow Sara, who we first meet in college in the winter of 1989/90. She’s pretty ordinary, until she starts having dreams that aren’t hers. She realizes pretty quickly what’s going on, that she actually is stepping into the dreams of other people, and that causes major problems for her, because one of the dreamers she’s seeing might be a serial killer.
As the series goes on, she has to try and figure out who wants to poison the least popular teacher in her medical school; she discovers that her daughter has inherited her “gift” and she needs to figure out how to help a 4-year-old girl cope with these strange dreams, and she finally meets someone outside her family who can do what she does, but who’s using their talent for evil rather than good.
I’ve gotten excellent response from the public; I’ve sold nearly 1,400 copies of the five books, and gotten almost uniformly positive reviews.
6. Can you share any and all links that are important to you as a person and the book? (You can relate more to a book if you know more about the author).
Well, the first book is set where I went to college – www.case.edu
I’m a huge opera lover, and I go regularly to the Kennedy Center here in DC – www.kennedy-center.org
My favorite author is Stephen r. Donaldson – www.stephenrdonaldson.com
The narrator for my audiobooks is just amazing. Her site is http://www.heatherjanehogan.com
7. I’ll wrap it up with this question since “7” is a lucky numberJ. Can you share an excerpt from your book, and I’d like to thank you so much for taking time to share your book with me. Please share as much as you’d like.
OK, here’s an excerpt from the first book, “Dream Student”. Sara has just told her best brined and her boyfriend about a series of dreams she’s had, and they’re discussing things over dinner:
Another thought goes through my mind just now, and it throws me off track. “If I’ve got a power, right? I’m psychic, or whatever you want to call this, right? Well, where’s my wise mentor? In every story I can think of, people who suddenly find they have a special power or something always have one. King Arthur had Merlin. Luke Skywalker had Obi-Wan. The Scottish guy in that stupid movie Ron likes, where they’re all cutting each other’s heads off…”
“Connor MacLeod,” Brian pipes in. “And the movie is ‘Highlander.’”
Beth snorts. “All you guys like that movie. I’ll never understand it.”
“Anyway,” I say, trying to get back on track. “Connor whatever, he had Sean Connery to mentor him, right? So where’s the old wise master to tell me how to deal with all this?” Brian’s amused by the thought, but Beth has a different reaction.
“I’d let Sean Connery tell me what to do,” she sighs. “Anytime.”
So would I, although not that way. He’s old enough to be my grandfather, after all. Besides, I’m taken! And I will definitely have to tell Brian that that was my first thought, once we’re alone of course. But I definitely wouldn’t say no to Sean Connery’s advice. I bet he’d know exactly what to do about the nightmares.