Saturday, April 13, 2013

Writing Dreams

by  J.J. DiBenedetto’m grateful to Mary for giving me a spot on her blog.  It’s also an excuse to procrastinate from working on my next book for a few minutes!  I’m not quite a quarter of the way into the fifth book in the Dream series, and it’s been slow going so far.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how to keep things both fresh and familiar as this series has gone on.  I imagine that’s a challenge for all authors who write series.  You want to give your readers what they expect and want (and you've also become very attached to the characters yourself!), but you don’t want to just write the same thing with the names and locations shuffled around.

One big challenge I’ve found is: how do I keep up the tension, and make the reader feel like Sara is facing a real threat?  Previously in the series, she’s dealt with a murderous secretary, a serial killer, a mobster and a corrupt Congressman, and that’s just the first three books!  In the fourth book, Dream Family, I decided to make the threat something both extremely personal to Sara, and yet completely impersonal.  She’s arrested (for a crime she didn’t commit), threatened with ten years in prison, and she’s violated during a hellish night and day in jail.  You can’t get much more personal than that, but at the same time, it’s being done to her by “the system” – there’s no one enemy to face down.  In the end, the real conflict is within Sara herself; can she recover from what happened to her and take her life back?
But I couldn’t do something like that twice, so in this new book, I needed something both new and somehow worse than anything else she’s dealt with before.  And I think I did it.  Sara’s got the ability to enter other people’s dreams, although she has very little control over it.  Her mother and daughter can do it, too, with the same lack of control.

In this new book, she’s going to discover that they’re not the only ones who have this ability – there’s another woman out there who’s entering people’s dreams.  And this mystery dreamer has the very control that Sara lacks.  Worse, she’s using it for her own selfish ends, unlike Sara, who’s only ever used her talent for good.  In every previous conflict, Sara’s had the advantage of being inside her adversary’s head, literally.  But now she’s facing someone who can do the same thing, only better.

I hope that challenge will keep Sara on her toes, and keep readers turning the page.


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.

Click here to check out his blog, Writing Dreams.

J.J.'s books are available on Amazon. would you do if you could see other people's dreams? If you could watch their hidden fantasies and uncover their deepest, darkest secrets...without them ever knowing?

Sara Barnes is about to find out. She thought that all she had to worry about was final exams, Christmas shopping and deciding whether she likes the cute freshman in the next dorm who's got a crush on her.

But when she starts seeing dreams that aren't hers, she learns more than she ever wanted to know about her friends, her classmates...and a strange, terrifying man whose dreams could get Sara killed.

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