The first book of my Dream Series, DREAM STUDENT, takes place in 1989-90, and my heroine, Sara Barnes, is twenty-one years old. She’d have been sixteen in 1984, when “Romancing the Stone” came out, and Sara would definitely have seen the movie, and she would have loved it. But what would the movie’s heroine, world-renowned, best-selling romance author Joan Wilder, think of Sara and her story? Let’s ask her!
J.J.: Hi, Joan! Let’s get right to it. Tell us what you thought about DREAM STUDENT, and Sara?
Joan Wilder: First off, I’m happy that she’s a fan of mine. When she describes herself as a “world-class hopeless romantic,” she must have stolen that from one of my interviews.
But aside from that, I have to say, I liked her. I know what it’s like to be thrown into a situation that you’re simply not prepared for, and you have to sink or swim, so I absolutely felt for her and all the trouble she had once she started jumping into other people’s dreams. I thought she handled herself really well. I don’t know if I would have done half as well at her age. And even knowing how difficult it was for her, I wouldn’t mind being able to do that myself. If I knew what Jack Colton was thinking…never mind, we’re not talking about me, are we?
J.J.: What did you think about her romance with Brian?
Joan Wilder: Well, I was very impressed by the way she took the initiative. Most of my heroines don’t do that. At least not until my last couple of books, anyway. She did go to bed with him pretty quickly, but I guess that’s what they do in college these days. I didn’t go to college all that long ago, but there would have been hell to pay if I’d ever brought a boy up to my room unescorted. And co-ed dorms? No chance!
I kept expecting there to be some challenge to the relationship – there always is in my books – but when I realized that wasn’t really Sara’s story, I just went along for the ride.
J.J.: Your heroines always seem to end up in life-or-death situations. How do you think Sara handled her own brush with death at the end of the book?
Joan Wilder: She did just fine! I especially liked that she had to face her final conflict alone, just like I did when Colonel Zolo came after me, and Jack couldn’t help because he was trying to catch that crocodile…oh, never mind. Ignore that, I’m just babbling. Anyway, I thought Sara was very brave, confronting a serial killer in his own lair, unarmed and injured. You don’t get much more heroic than that!
J.J.: So you’ll be reading Sara’s next story?
Joan Wilder: Definitely! I’m very curious to see what comes after her “happily ever after.” I can tell you from experience, sometimes that’s the biggest adventure of all!
Title: Dream Student
Publisher: Writing Dreams
Date Published: March, 2013
Genre: Paranormal Romance/Suspense
Word Count: 94,000
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.
So this is goodbye, for now. Who knows when or if we’ll be able to get together during the holiday? I am pretty sure we won’t be able to get together the way we were together last night until we’re back at school in January. I can’t believe I’ve known him less than three weeks; it feels like I’ve known him my whole life, and, yes, I do know how that sounds.
Anyway. We’re at the gate, and they start boarding his flight. I throw my arms around his neck, and I kiss him. I put everything I’m feeling into it. He does, too. It feels like the moment in one of those old movies where the girl is sending her guy off to war, and she kisses him like she knows it might be for the last time.
They call his row, and he breaks the kiss. He heads for the jetway, but he’s looking back at me the whole time. I stand there, exactly in that spot, until his plane is in the air and out of sight.
I can only imagine what Beth would think of all that. She’d say that it proves I really am a hopeless romantic. Maybe even a world-class hopeless romantic. You know what? She’s absolutely right. And I don’t care one bit.
Dream Student is currently FREE on Kindle and elsewhere!
J.J. (James) Dibenedetto's fans would swear he's got a 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.
His popular Dream Series continues to delight readers with each and every exciting installment.
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.