Welcome to J.J. DiBenedetto
Please tell us a little about yourself. I’m originally a New York City boy (born in the Bronx), grew up there and eventually ended up in the Washington, DC area where I work as a marketing and fundraising professional during the day, and a writer by night.
I’m married to my beautiful wife, I’m well-trained by my very spoiled cat, I love to go to the opera, I’m a big sports fan and I hope to be able to indulge another love – travel – if I can sell enough books to pay for it!
Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc. I’m the author of a four (five later this month) book series of paranormal romance/suspense novels, the Dream Series. They follow the adventures of Sara, a young woman who’s quite ordinary – until she discovers she has the ability to see into other people’s dreams.
Where can readers find your book? The books are on Amazon (both Kindle and paperback), Barnes & Noble and Smashwords. All over, basically! The first book, “Dream Student” has also been produced as an audiobook and it’s available at Amazon, on Audible.com and on iTunes.
How long have you been writing and what made you choose the genre in which you write? I’ve been writing since high school, but it was always page 1s that never made it as far as page 2. And that was mostly more traditional science fiction. I didn’t set out to write in a different genre consciously – this story just came to me, and I had to write it.
Who or what are your inspirations/influences? One big inspiration was a friend of mine, Jennifer Povey, who just sold her first novel last year. That got me to thinking, “why can’t I do it, too?” and I dusted off the first draft of the one thing I had ever finished, which was the original draft of “Dream Student,” and I rewrote it from the ground up. And now, there are four published books and a fifth on the way!
Can you name a positive experience from your writing and a negative one? Just seeing my books as actual physical books was a huge positive experience, and so was the first good review from someone who didn’t know me and had no reason to care about my feelings – they just genuinely liked the books and thought they were as good as anything else out there.
The negative experience is just the difficulty of marketing and selling the books. It’s slow and patience is not my strongest quality.
With the rise of e-books do you still publish in print as well? Is this medium important and why? Yes, I do – my books are all available in print as well as ebooks. Lots of people still like print, or just don’t have an e-reader and it’s important not to just dismiss them. And with print-on-demand, so there’s no cost up front for me to make the books available in print, there’s no reason not to do it.
Do you listen to music or watch TV whilst you write? Music, yes. I usually have opera or classical music on, and usually something I’m very familiar with, so I notice it but I’m not distracted so much that it pulls me out of the writing.
What experiences can a book provide that a movie or video game cannot? A book lets you really get into the minds of the characters in a way that movies and TV don’t. Also, books allow the reader to picture the characters and the world that’s being created, rather than having it shown to them concretely. With a book, the reader becomes part of the story.
What advice would you give new writers? Your work isn’t done when the book is finished. It isn’t even started, really – selling your work, whether it’s to an agent/publisher or directly to readers as a self-published author, is a full-time, very difficult job!
Most authors also like to read, what books do you enjoy? I’m a big science fiction fan. My favorite new author that I’ve discovered relatively recently is Alastair Reynolds. I’m also a huge fan of Stephen R. Donaldson.
My favorite book of all time, though (and also the best book I’ve ever read – those two things aren’t necessarily always the same, but in my case they are) is “Winter’s Tale” by Mark Helprin.
Can you give us a silly fact about yourself? I used to be a DJ on my college radio station, and to this day I still have my FCC Class III Radio Operator’s License in my wallet (and, I think, it’s still valid!). I also know the “official” seven dirty words, because I had to learn exactly which ones they were for the test to get my license. I won’t repeat them, though…
If you are having a sale, new book release do please mention it. My latest book, “Waking Dream” will be released the last week in August. It’s the 5th book in the Dream Series.
Also, my first book, “Dream Student” is already a professional produced and narrated audiobook, and the second book, “Dream Doctor” is currently in production.
I’ve got 10 minute samples from both audiobooks at my website:
Also mention your own blog/website if you like.