Friday, May 23, 2014

WRITING A SERIES by James DiBenedetto || DREAM HOME (#7 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.

Available for purchase:

Dream Home

I didn’t set out to write a series, so it’s kind of surprising to me that my Dream Series is up to seven books as of today, with at least three more still to come.

I only began writing the first book in the series two years ago, and only then because a friend had just sold her first novel to a small publisher, and I said, “why not me?”  I had a draft of a novel I’d finished a decade before, which wasn’t all that good, and I dusted it off and rewrote it from the first page.  It went from not-very-good to (I like to think) pretty darn good, and when it was finished, I didn’t really plan on writing a sequel, but I had a lot of writing momentum, and when I stepped back and thought about it, I saw that there was a perfect opportunity for one.

That first book, “Dream Student,” ends with our heroine, Sara, planning to go to medical school and about to get engaged to her boyfriend.  So I had two things to explore: her life as a newlywed, and coping with her first few months of med school.  And, of course, there were her dreams, too.  In the first book, Sara kept visiting the dreams of a serial killer, and she had to use the clues in those dreams to figure out who he was in real life, and then track him down.  I didn’t want to repeat that formula, so I had to come up with some other problem that would arise in her supernatural dreams.  I reversed the idea from the first book: instead of knowing what the crime was, but not the perpetrator, this time she would see the dreams of several people, all of whom wanted someone (Sara’s least favorite teacher at the medical school) dead.  If the first book was (plotwise) more like “Silence of the Lambs” (in that book, the FBI knows who Buffalo Bill is and what he’s up to, but not how to find him), the second book, “Dream Doctor,” was more like an Agatha Christie mystery.

Again, I didn’t plan to write another book, but once I got to the end, I found that I’d left myself a golden opportunity.  The second book ends with Sara learning that she’s pregnant, and that brought up two wonderful issues to explore in a new book.  First, parenthood, and, second, what if Sara’s “gift” is genetic, and her child inherits it?  The idea of Sara having to interpret the dreams of a four-year-old to try and figure out a mystery was too good to pass up, and so “Dream Child” was born.  And this time, I came up with another kind of problem: a corrupt politician. 

As I wrote “Dream Child,” I knew there’d be a fourth book, and I had the perfect idea: someone outside Sara’s family with the same dream-visiting power she has, but who uses it for selfish, evil purposes.  AS I began the fourth book, “Dream Family,” though, the story changed on me.  I intended to have Sara be arrested and spend a night in jail midway through the book.  It was meant to be a minor plot roadblock, and possibly something that would be laughed off afterwards.  But as I wrote the arrest and jail scenes, they became something very different, and far more serious.  And I realized I was writing the wrong book.  The book I needed to write was about Sara going through a traumatic experience, one she was totally unprepared for, and which would break her – and how – or if – she would recover from it.

The idea of a rival dreamer was still there, though, and it became the plot for book #5, “Waking Dream.”  The weeds of the following book were sown there, as well.  Sara learned, in fighting her rival, that she had the power not just to visit other people’s dreams, but to affect them.  She also saw firsthand the cost of doing It, and swore never to attempt it herself.  So, in book #6, “Dream Reunion,” I had to challenge that – her problem in that book is an old college friend who’s been driven to desperate measures to save his business, and Sara is sorely tempted to go into his dreams to help him, or save him from the consequences of his plans.

That gets us to the book that’s out today, “Dream Home.”  I had to come up with another new challenge for Sara, and I went back to something I remember from high school English class: there are only three basic plots.  Man vs. Man (covered in books 1-3, and 5), Man vs. Himself (covered in books 4 and 6) and Man vs. Nature – which obviously had to be the story of “Dream Home.”  And so it is…please take a look at it, I think you’ll really enjoy it, and the rest of the Dream Series books!  

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.

Social Media Links:

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…
Purchase Links:

 Dream Student (Book 1) 

Dream Doctor (Book 2)

Dream Child (Book 3)

Dream Family (Book 4)

Waking Dream (Book 5)

Dream Reunion (Book 6)

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


  1. Replies
    1. James, welcome to the Snarkology. I enjoyed reading about how your Dream series grew and evolved. How many more books do you have planned?