“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.
I am LOVING this series! It is like reading a message from an old friend. DiBenedetto writes in such a natural way that it makes it a joy to read... aside from the not so nice parts. While the first book seemed more of a shocker to me, this book has several parts that tug at your emotions - good and bad.
This book picks up smoothly from the first book as we follow Sara into medical school. While I've never gone to medical school, the feeling comes across as authentic. I have a hard time remembering that the author did NOT go to school for medical! I can't wait to jump into book 3!! It's great that we are learning more about some of the other characters also, especially Sara's younger brother, Robert.
The dynamics of the interactions seem true to life in these well developed personalities. While Sara puts herself into other people's shoes, I find myself doing the same. Many of the people Sara meets along the way are easy to relate to... or easy to hate. DiBenedetto doesn't give us the horror of the nightmares as in Dream Student, but we still have the mysterious dreams and danger to keep us digging for answers.
Amazon: · Dream Student · Dream Doctor
· Dream Child · Dream Family · Waking Dream
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.
Here's a 10 minute Audio sample each from book 1 and book 2
Another Audiobook tidbit » Writing Dreams - That's a 4 minute additional sample from book 2 of one of DiBenedetto's favorite scenes from any of the books (Sara's first-ever jealous freak-out episode)
Oh, one more link... the narrator: http://www.heatherjanehogan.com - got to give her credit!
Interview Continued from book 1!!!
Since you went to college and majored in history... what made you decide to write about a medical student?
Good question! Sara was always a pre-med student, from the very first draft of the story. A lot of my friends in college were science/engineering majors (and I started out as one, too - until I discovered it just wasn't for me!) so I knew enough about the classes and the pressures of it that I could write about it believably. When I finished the first book, I realized that actually following Sara to medical school was the obvious next thing to do, and there I had to do a lot of research because I knew nothing about what medical school was really like.
So how long did you work on collecting information before you were satisfied enough to write book 2?
I'm a fast reader, so it didn't take that long to have enough that I felt comfortable starting out. I had two main sources for general medical student life: The movie "Gross Anatomy" (I took the close relationship among the students who worked together in a dissection group from the movie), and a book called "A Not Entirely Benign Procedure" by Perri Klaas. That's a memoir of the author's experiences at medical school in the late 1980's. I got most of the "feel" of med student life, and how it changes the students, from that. I did more research as I wrote and things came up. All the details of Sara's dissection class came from the actual textbook that's used today in most medical schools, Grant's Dissector. The "look inside the book" feature on Amazon really is invaluable!
Wow! Now, that reminds me... I'm not always quick on the uptake (kinda' like Sara). I didn't realize how you titled your chapters until book 2. What inspired the idea of using those references? Was it difficult to maintain them that way?
Originally, I wanted to use song lyrics for the chapter titles (80's songs, naturally, for the first book). For example, chapter 2 of Dream Student, where Sara goes to the nightclub, was titled "She could dance all night, shake the paint off the walls" ("And We Danced", The Hooters). But my excellent critique partner told me that I'd need to get permission from the rights holders for every single line of lyrics I used. Obviously that wasn't going to happen, so I went to movie/TV titles instead (that chapter became "Footloose" instead, for example). For the first book, I kept it to all 80's movies/shows. I thought it would help to reinforce the setting of the book. In "Dream Doctor" I kept it to the 80's mostly as well, until chapter 15 ("Wife vs. Secretary", which was too perfect not to use even though it's actually a 1930's movie!). It got tricky a couple of times to come up with appropriate titles that weren't too obscure, but I think I managed it.
Once I realized what you'd done, I went back over it and was amazed at how well they matched. So, I think you did a great job at managing too!
You’re Welcome! Your books are really interesting. I also love how well you are able to write in the present tense... I have a horrible time with that.
It's usually pretty easy, but there have been a few spots where I had some trouble with it. It just "felt" like the right voice for this story.
It works well! Very natural... which brings up another question that I don't know if I'll add to book 2's interview or add it to book 3... What made you decide to write from a female's perspective? I know many authors prefer one gender over the other and it doesn't always matter if it's the same gender as the writer or not.
Sara was always the main character of the story, from the very first glimmer of an idea. She just came with the premise, more-or-less as you see her in the books now. But the first couple of drafts were written in the third person, and I also showed the POVs of Beth, Brian and some minor characters as well. It wasn't until much later that I realized the story really worked much better being told entirely from Sara's perspective. I did worry about capturing a woman's "voice" and feelings, but from what most readers have told me, I think I got it down pretty well.
You did! :D
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