Title: Waking Dream
Author: J.J. DiBenedetto
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, YA
Print Length: 292 pages
- “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.
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.
I really didn’t set out to write a series of novels. All I wanted to do was finish one.
I completed the (more or less) final draft of “Dream Student” in the fall of 2012, and I had no plans to do anything more with the story or the characters. But I didn’t want to stop writing; having finished one novel, I didn’t want to lose my momentum. But what to write? I had several ideas, but none of them grabbed my by the throat and forced me to write them.
So I thought about “Dream Student” again. From one perspective, it didn’t need a sequel. Everything was wrapped up. Sara caught the serial killer, saved his next victim, came to terms with her unasked-for ability to see other people’s dreams, and her boyfriend was about to propose to her. That’s pretty much the definition of “tying things up with a bow.”
But from another perspective, there was endless room for more stories. Throughout “Dream Student” Sara talks about her ambition to become a doctor. And her ability to visit dreams clearly isn’t going away. Why not follow her to medical school?
The one thing I needed was a twist on the first book. The mystery in that book was identifying and tracking down the killer. So I reversed that idea: what if there were several people, all of whom Sara knew, and she had to figure out which one was the (potential) killer. In other words, much more of a traditional murder mystery.
And so “Dream Doctor” was born. Some characters made the jump from the first book, and some new ones were introduced, and everything came together really well. The research for the medical school scenes of the book also led straight to the idea that became “Dream Child.” My main research was a memoir by a woman who attended Harvard Medical School in the late 80’s (around the same time “Dream Doctor” takes place). One of the things described in the memoir was that the author had a baby during her time in medical school – and I thought, that’s something that could happen to Sara. And the next logical thought was: what if Sara’s child inherits her dreaming ability?
So now I had a third book, and I couldn’t stop. There was still more story to tell. Besides Sara and her husband and children, there was now a whole family, friends and co-workers – an entire world to play around in. Which is both good and bad. It’s a lot of fun, and I think/hope readers like these people enough to want to keep coming back to visit them.
But it’s also a lot to keep track of. I’ve got a spreadsheet with all manner of details: the entire population of Sara’s floor in her college dorm and every class she took in college; the week-by-week breakdown of her medical school anatomy class; the birthdays of all the major and minor characters; all the patients Sara was responsible for when working at a hospital in “Dream Child,” what room they were in and what was wrong with them, and so on. But I still find myself going back to the earlier books for other details that come up when characters return after a long absence (what was the name of Sara’s brother-in-law’s baby again? What temp agency did Sara call to replace her office manager in “Dream Family”?).
And I find myself having to juggle all these characters, and sometimes to explain why they’re not around (especially in holiday-set scenes). It’s a lot to keep track of! But it’s definitely worth it, and I’m looking forward to the day when these books become so popular that readers will pay for a guidebook to the series (hey, an author can dream, can’t he?).
Other Books in the Series:
Dream Student (Book 1 in the Dream Series)
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 in the Dream Series)
“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 in the Dream Series)
"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 in the Dream Series)
"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.