J.J. DiBenedetto
That’s kind of personal, isn’t it? Just kidding – 44 years old.
Where are you from
I was born in the Bronx, NY and grew up in Yonkers. I ended up in the Washington, DC area almost twenty years ago, got a job, and I’ve been here ever since.
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
I’ve got a graduate degree in political management (campaigns, etc) that I don’t actually use. It did help me get my first job, though, so that’s something. That’s what brought me to the DC area originally. Besides my wife and our cat, Daisy, my mother lives just a mile away from me, my mother-in-law lives five floors below us, and I’ve got several cousins in the area, too.
I come from a pretty big extended family, although I’m an only child myself.




Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
My newest novel, “Dream Home” is coming out on May 23rd. It’s the seventh book in my Dream Series, and I’m very excited about it. The audiobook edition of the fourth book in the series, “Dream Family”, just came out last week, as well – and book number five is being recorded right now.


Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
In junior high school. I’ve always been creative, or at least daydreamed a lot! I wrote the first draft of what would become “Dream Student” in the late 1990’s, as well as quite a bit of fanfiction (some of it even almost readable!), and lots of page 1’s that never made it to page 2.
About 2 years ago, a friend of mine sold her first novel (Jennifer Povey, “Transspecial”), and I thought, “why can’t I do that, too?” So I dusted off the old draft of “Dream Student” (it wasn’t called that yet), rewrote if from page one, and a year later, I published it on Kindle.


Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I got the first positive reviews from people I didn’t know. That told me it was a real book, that people who didn’t have to tell me they liked it, actually thought it was worth reading – and paying for.


Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
The idea for “Dream Student” came from trying to figure out why characters in a story who witnessed a crime would try to solve it themselves, instead of going to the police, like most people in real life would do.
And I came up with the concept of visiting other people’s dreams, and seeing their secrets – and, in this case, a terrible crime they were planning (or maybe had already committed). You couldn’t go to the police with that – first, they wouldn’t believe you, and second, what would you even say anyway? You’d have to gather physical evidence yourself to take to the police.


Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I don’t think so. I just write as the story comes to me. The only thing I can say is that each story has its own style that it “needs” to have. The Dream Series books are all told in the first person from Sara’s point of view, and that’s the only way I can write them. But I have other story ideas that I don’t think would work that way at all.


Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
That took a while. The original title for “Dream Student” was “Dreamchaser” which I never really liked. I didn’t think of “Dream Student” until the book was already finished and I’d started working on the next book. Once I thought of using “Dream” as the common word, it became obvious.


Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I didn’t set out to preach a message, but if there is one, it’s about the importance of being responsible, following your conscience and not abusing the power that’s entrusted to you. Which I think are pretty important things for everyone to know, anyway.


Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
Aside from the dream element, the more mundane everyday life aspects of the books are pretty realistic.




Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The main plots of the books aren’t, but many of the little details, the locations and some of the secondary characters are taken straight from my life, with the names changed to protect the innocent.



Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Jalpa Williby and Fran Veal are two independent authors who’ve done fantastic work, and I’d definitely take a look at them.


Fiona: What are your current projects?
I’ve just started work on book #8 in the Dream Series, as well as a book of short pieces set in the series that I plan to release around Christmastime. After that, I have book #9 in the Dream Series already planned out.



Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
There are lots of them – I’ve made so many friends within the independent author community on Facebook and on Goodreads, and they’ve been very supportive.


Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I would like to, but I’m not there quite yet.




Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Not really. Maybe details here and there – and whenever I read through my work, I always see words I could change, sentences I could do a better job with, etc. But overall, I’m very happy with the book.


Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
No – it’s always been there, really.



Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?


Here’s a very brief snippet…
“Joshua, relax,” I say, when he tries and fails to sit up. “You’re in the hospital. You fell and hit your head.”


I give him a bright smile. “You remembered what to call me. That’s a very good sign. But I need to examine you. I’m going to take off your gloves and unzip your coat so I can get a better look at you.”

“I haven’t had a woman try to take my clothes off since 1969,” he says, and I can’t tell from his expression whether that’s a joke or not. He shrugs after a moment.

“Woodstock.” For one ridiculous moment, I wonder, assuming he’s serious, if Aunt Kat was that woman. She went to Woodstock, too. Whenever I would ask her about it, she’d tell me that she had plenty of stories, but that I wasn’t old enough to hear them.
But that’s just silly. Kat was in her early twenties, and Joshua would have been forty-six. Besides, there were, what, a million people there? “Really?”

“Really,” he says. “I had to see Jefferson Airplane. I had a thing for Grace Slick, what can I say?”

I have no idea how to respond to that.


Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Mark Helprin. His prose is just so beautiful – it’s amazing. “Winter’s Tale” is the best book I’ve ever read, hands down. I re-read it once a year, and I always find something new in it.



Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Nope. It’s all in my memory (or on Google!)



Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Emma Michaels, who’s a fantastic cover designer ( has re-designed all my covers. A friend and local artist, Ami Low (no website, unfortunately) hand-painted the original covers, which I loved, but they didn’t suit the genre of the books or what readers expected (my fault – she gave me exactly what I asked for…which turned out to be completely wrong)



Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Nothing in particular in this book. In book 4, when Sara goes through a traumatic experience (she’s wrongfully arrested and abused while she’s in jail), I lost sleep while I was working on those chapters. It was really difficult to do that to her.


Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Keep writing! If you don’t do that, no other advice can help. I have to remember that myself, from time to time.



Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you! Really, that’s pretty much the most important thing.



Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Not the first, but I remember as a child (7 or 8) there was a mystery book about this brother and sister whose father disappeared, and they set out in search of him. I don’t remember the title, but I do remember that the father’s name was Leon, and when they finally discovered him in his new identity (he was hiding out from some bad people for some reason that I don’t recall), he was using the name Noel. If that rings a bell, tell me, please!
Also, “The Phantom Tollbooth”


Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Current shows? Mostly movies (either old, on Turner Classic Movies, or new, on the regular movie channels). Doctor Who, when it’s on.
Older shows? Farscape and Pushing Daisies are two of my favorite all-time shows.



Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Food? Anything chocolate. Pizza. Fondue is always fun, too.
Color? Green.
Music: Opera! I’m a Wagnerian (but I’ve got a soft spot for Donizetti, too)



Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Make movies. I think that would be fun, don’t you?



Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?






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.
About the Dream Series
What if you could see everyone else’s dreams? That’s the question Sara has to wrestle with in the Dream Series. We first meet her as a shy, bookish college student who doesn’t think there’s anything extraordinary about herself. And then the dreams start…
Over the course of the series, Sara learns to live with these supernatural dreams and all the trouble they plunge her into. At the same time, she grows from a student to a practicing doctor; and from a single girl to a wife and mother. But every time she thinks she’s got everything figured out, life – and her extraordinary dreams – teach her that she’s always got more to learn…

Social Media Links:
My Website

Audiobook Samples






Amazon Author Page
Purchase Links:

Dream Home
Amazon (Kindle or Paperback)

Dream Student (Book 1)
Amazon (Kindle or Paperback)
Amazon (audiobook)

Dream Doctor (Book 2)
Amazon (Kindle or Paperback)
Amazon (audiobook)

Dream Child (Book 3)
Amazon (audiobook)
Amazon (audiobook)

Dream Family (Book 4)
Amazon (Kindle or Paperback)
Amazon (audiobook)

Waking Dream (Book 5)
Amazon (Kindle or Paperback)

Dream Reunion (Book 6)
Amazon (Kindle or Paperback)

A Box of Dreams (Books 1-5 in one Box Set)


Blurb for Dream Home (book 7 in the Dream Series)

“Oh, my God, I’m not even starting the job for four months! How can I have an enemy already?”

Sara thought she had found the perfect job, the perfect new house and the perfect place to build a bright future for herself and her family.

But her new life is not quite perfect. Her husband and her children are fitting right in, but before Sara even shows up for her first day of work, her coworkers are dreaming about getting rid of her.

If that wasn’t bad enough, the one friend she’s made is dreaming nightly about a disaster that could wipe out the entire town…and Sara is beginning to think he might be right…

Dream Home is the exciting seventh book in the Dream Series.
Blurbs for the previous books in the series

Dream Student (Book 1)
What 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.
“Dream Student” is the thrilling first installment of the Dreams series.

Dream Doctor (Book 2)
“I didn’t expect to be woken up by someone I don’t know dreaming about killing somebody. I thought I was done with that once and for all…”
But Sara’s not done with it. As if adjusting to life as a newlywed and starting medical school weren’t difficult enough, she’s started seeing the dreams of everyone around her, again. Before everything is said and done, those dreams might destroy Sara’s hopes of becoming a doctor, wreck her marriage and even end her life…
“Dream Doctor” is the thrilling second novel in the Dreams series.

Dream Child (Book 3)
“I would give anything to take this away from her. I would gladly go back to having the nightmares myself – the very worst ones, the ones that had me waking up screaming in a pool of my own vomit – rather than see Lizzie go through this…”
As a resident at Children’s Hospital, Sara can handle ninety hour workweeks, fighting to save her young patients from deadly childhood diseases. But she’s about to be faced with a challenge that all her training and experience haven’t prepared her for: her four-year-old daughter has inherited her ability to see other people’s dreams…
“Dream Child” is the suspenseful third novel in the “Dreams” series.

Dream Family (Book 4)
“Why is this so hard for me? Why am I having so much trouble? Why do I feel so helpless, so hopeless? What the hell is wrong with me?”
After tangling with murders and mobsters, not to mention medical school and three years of residency, Sara thought she could handle anything. And then the police show up without warning at her new office and arrest her for a crime she can’t possibly have committed. Sara’s confidence, and her grip on reality, is shattered during one terrifying night in jail.
Now, the very dreams that have endangered her life and driven her to the edge of madness may be the only thing that can help Sara find herself again…
“Dream Family” is the powerful fourth novel in the “Dreams” series.

Waking Dream (Book 5)
“Oh, God! We can hurt each other. Whatever we do to each other in the dream, we’ll do it to ourselves for real…”

When her own dreams are visited by a mysterious woman in a red dress, Sara realizes she has something she never expected: a counterpart, someone outside her family who shares her talent to see other people’s dreams.

When the woman in red keeps showing up in other dreams as well, leaving ruined lives in her wake, Sara knows she has something she never imagined: a nemesis.

Now, Sara must track the woman in red down in the waking world, before she’s forced to fight for her life in her dreams…

“Waking Dream” is the exciting fifth novel in the “Dreams” series.

Dream Reunion (Book 6)
“I wish someone – my mother, my husband, anybody – would really let me have it, instead of telling me everything’s not my fault when it obviously is…”

Sara’s seen the cost of interfering in other people’s dreams firsthand; it’s measured in ruined lives and cemetery plots.

When her supernatural dreams start up again, Sara is faced with problem after problem. And the only solution she can see is the one she’s sworn never to attempt – changing the minds of the dreamers from the inside-out.

Sara thought that fighting against serial killers, mobsters and crooked politicians was difficult, but she’s about to come up against the most difficult foe she’s ever faced: her own conscience.

Dream Reunion is the emotional sixth book in the Dream Series.

A Box of Dreams (Books 1-5 collected into one Kindle Box Set)

What if you could see everyone else’s dreams?

Sara Barnes has just discovered that she can. And this gift – or curse – will lead her on an extraordinary journey.

Follow Sara as her newfound ability leads her into adventures she never imagined. She will hunt down a serial killer, investigate a plot to murder one of her teachers, unravel a conspiracy between a mobster and a corrupt politician and face off against her nemesis: a woman who shares her talent, but uses it to destroy lives rather than save them. And Sara will have to manage all that while finishing college, becoming a doctor and falling in love, too.

Here are the first five books of the Dream Series, along with bonus material created especially for this collection. Included in this set are DREAM STUDENT, DREAM DOCTOR, DREAM CHILD, DREAM FAMILY and WAKING DREAM. In addition, you’ll find the short story BETTY & HOWARD’S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE starring Sara’s parents. But most of all, when you open this box of dreams, you’ll find romance, suspense, humor and plenty of heart…