About Dream Family:
"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.
Research in the Dream Series (a Guest Post from JJ DiBenedetto):
Research! I’ve been asked quite often how much research went into the Dream Series books, and the answer is, quite a lot.
Probably the least amount of research went into the first book, “Dream Student.” It takes place in 1989-90, at a college that’s basically my alma mater with the names changed. I mainly had to mine my memories to fill out the world that Sara and her friends inhabited. I used other details from my life to help paint the world: Sara’s parents’ house is my Aunt’s house; the home of her boyfriend’s parents is my cousin’s old house up in Pennsylvania. Most of the research I did need to do was confirming little details: what movies were out at the time and so forth.
The next book, “Dream Doctor,” required a lot more work on that front. Sara begins medical school, and I didn’t know a thing about it. I turned to a memoir written by a woman about her experiences at medical school in the late 1980’s, and that became the basis for most of what Sara experienced. I found the standard dissection textbook used across the country on Amazon.com and used that to come up with Sara’s anatomy classes that I describe in the book, and I cobbled together the rest of her schedule from looking at the websites of several medical schools. The work paid off; I was asked by one beta reader, who worked in the health care field, if I was a doctor!
Book #3, “Dream Child,” led me to research various childhood illnesses (since Sara is a resident at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in the book). I also had to look into various geographic details of Philadelphia and its suburbs, check out what movies and shows were popular in 1996, and find out which statues represent Pennsylvania in the U.S. Capitol rotunda.
The fourth book, “Dream Family,” presented me with another challenge: Sara is (mistakenly) arrested, booked into jail and has a hellish experience that follows her through the rest of the book. I’ve never been arrested or to jail (even as a visitor), so I had to research that experience. I found a lot of information, some of it specific to Arlington, Virginia (where Sara lives in this book), and that helped make her experience real (although what she goes through is a lot worse than what actually happens to most people who are arrested here; call it dramatic license). There were the usual small details to investigate as well, but the jail scenes were the biggest thing I needed to learn about (I did also learn that “handcuff neuropathy” – nerve damage from being restrained too long, is a real thing, and Sara has to deal with that in the course of the book as well).
Finally, in book #5, “Waking Dream,” I didn’t have any major issues to learn about, but a lot of small details, including the school district boundaries in Arlington, the average age at which officers are promoted to colonel in the Air Force, the layout of the Army Navy Country club, etc.
All in all, I’ve had to do a lot of research for the Dream Series – almost all of it quite mundane, especially for a series that falls into the Paranormal Romance category!
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.
You can find James here: