March 17, 2014

Character Interview Sara Barnes from Dream Student @jjdibenedetto #RLFblog #paranormal #suspense

Dream Student 
Dream Student (Dream Series, book one)
Genre Paranormal Romance/Suspense
Author Name J.J. DiBenedetto
Book heat level (based on movie ratings): PG
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.

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Interview with Sara Barnes

Tell us about yourself, please.
I guess I should start with my name. I'm Sara Barnes. I'm twenty-one years old, as of last month. I'm in my junior year of college, at Crewe University. I'm in the pre-med program – I've wanted to be a doctor for years – as long as I can remember.
Most people would probably say I'm kind of shy. They might even say I'm a nerd, although I dispute that. Yes, I like studying – what's so weird about that? Biology is fun, and so is chemistry. What's not to like?
I have one brother, Bob, who's three years younger than me, and he's also a huge pain in the rear end. I have a best friend – my roommate, Beth – who might as well be a sister. I'm not jealous at all of her, even though she's tall and has perfect blonde hair and all of that, and I'm nothing like that.
What is it that you want, but cannot have? Authors call this the conflict of the story.
I want my weird dreams to stop. I've been seeing other people's dreams for a month- I don't know why it started, or why I can even do it in the first place, but I wish it would just stop already.
What's your internal limitation? Meaning, what is it about you that makes it so you cannot do what it is you need to do during this story?
I'm not always great at navigating relationships and "reading between the lines" with what other people say and do. I can be pretty slow sometimes, when it comes to that.
What inner doubt causes you the most difficulty?
I'm terrified of not being able to live up to my responsibilities. I know I'm having these dreams for a reason – I'm the one who has to deal with them. I'm the only one who knows what's going on in them, and what if I'm wrong about what I see, or what I think it means? People could die, and it would be my fault.
What's your external complication? In the story world your author created, explain what it is you fear most.
It has to do with the dreams. There's a man who's – I don't even want to say it out loud, what he's doing in the dreams. He takes girls, teenage girls, and – I'll leave it to your imagination. But it's real, too. I've seen two of the girls in the newspaper, their pictures, and their – their obituaries. And they were in my dreams.
I'm the only one who knows what's going on, or who's doing all this, and that means I have to stop him. And that scares me to death.
Tell us about your significant other, that person who makes living worthwhile.
Oh, God. I love Brian so much. I've only known him a month, but it's like we've been together all our lives. I never believed in love at first sight, or soulmates, or any of that, but I was wrong, because I've experienced that with him.
He's younger than me – just a freshman. But he's so strong, so supportive of me. And he's just beautiful – he has the most browny brown eyes I've ever seen.
What would that person say about you?
Can I not be modest for a minute? He'd say that I'm his soulmate, just like he's mine. He'd say that I brought him out of his shell, and made his life worth living. And – even though it's not true, it still IS true, because he believes it – he'd say I'm beautiful, too.
What is your family like?
My parents are wonderful – they've always given me plenty of responsibility and trusted me. And they're totally in love, even after twenty-some years – I can see it. They're pretty young, too – Dad's only 44 years old, and Mom is 45.
I already mentioned my brother, Bob, so I don't need to say anything more about him. I've only got one grandparent – Mom's mother, Grandma Lucy. And there's my godmother, Kat – she's not related, but she's still family.
What special skills do you rely on?
Besides the dreams? Just my brains, I guess. It's not bragging – I am pretty smart. That makes up for my total lack of athletic, artistic and musical skill.
If someone from your past showed up, who would you NOT want it to be, and why?
Richard – my boyfriend back in high school. I lost my – well, you can figure that out for yourself. It was the worst – God, I hated myself so much after that night. I only ever spoke to him once more, to break up with him.
Are you happy with the way your story ended? Why or why not?
Yes – I got through it in one piece (well, except for a broken leg!), I'm probably going to have my choice of medical schools to go to, and I found my Brian. AND, I have a feeling that before too long, he's going to ask me to marry him! What more could I ask for?

About the Writer

Why did you choose to write about this character?
Sara pretty much emerged at the same time as the initial story idea. I wanted to come up with an explanation for why a civilian/amateur would find themselves pursuing a killer, rather than the police. That's where the dreams came from – if you could see other people's dreams, what if you saw a crime? You'd be the only witness, but it's not something you could bring to the police or anyone else. You'd have to investigate yourself, if you wanted to stop it.
And Sara just was there – right from the start, she was always the person having the dreams.
Why do you write?
Because I love these characters – not just Sara, but her family and friends, too. They're very real to me, and I want to get their stories down. If readers enjoy them, too, I'm thrilled.
What other character from this book do you want to write about? Care to tell us why?
I definitely want to give Sara's best friend, Beth, a story of her own. She's been a supporting character for going on seven books now, and she deserves her turn in the spotlight!
Are any sequels planned for this book?
I've already written five sequels, and I'm working on number six right now. I think there'll be probably ten books in all before I'm finished.
Is there anything you'd like to say to your readers?
Really, there's only one thing: THANK YOU!

Author Bio

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.

Author Social Media


  1. Thanks for having me here!

  2. Wow, Love the premise!
    Looks like I need to study this one more closely!


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