Audiobook Interview With Romantic Suspense Author @jjdibenedetto

I welcome J.J. DiBenedetto to my blog today. J.J. 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.

What was it like hearing your books narrated as an audiobook?

I was absolutely thrilled. Right from the audition sample, I was blown away by what a good job my narrator, Heather Jane Hogan, did in bringing the book to life. She really caught on to what I was doing with my heroine (since the book is written in first person, from her perspective, that was vital) from the very beginning.

What was the most rewarding part of the production process? Was there anything surprising?
I was very fortunate to connect with a narrator who was both professional, and a pleasure to work with. Heather made the process so easy for me. I knew basically nothing about producing an audiobook, and she helped walk me through every step.

What would you tell someone who has never tried listening to an audiobook? Why are audiobooks a good alternative to print or e-books?

That’s a tough question, because until I got involved in turning my novels into audiobooks, I had never listened to one all the way through. I’m a very visual learner – I really need to see the written words first. But once I have, and I know the story, I find the audiobook very rewarding – it gives a whole new perspective on what I’ve read. That’s always been true for me – I learned more from textbooks than from lectures in school, too. I know that lots of other people are wired differently than I am, and do much better hearing a story rather than reading it.

There is a lot of writing involved before authors get to the point where their books are ready to be produced as audiobook. Here are a few questions about the writing process:

Do you outline your books or wing it? Describe your process.

I’m more on the “winging it” side, but I do have a loose outline in my head, and usually a very strong vision of exactly how the story will end (sometimes down to the precise details of the final scene). It’s just getting from page one to that ending sometimes results in side trips I didn’t expect!

What genre(s) do you write in? Why?

I’d call my books paranormal romance/suspense. I didn’t choose that genre – that’s just what the story ended up being, and I had to write the story that came to me, and that my characters got themselves involved in.

How much research was involved in writing your books? How did you go about it?

For Dream Student, the first book in my series, not very much. It takes place where I went to college (well, a very thinly veiled version of it, anyway), and at the same time I was there, so that whole world came from my memories. For the second book in the series, Dream Doctor, which follows my heroine to medical school, I had to do a lot of research, since I’ve never been to med school and knew absolutely nothing about it. I read a memoir by a woman who went to Harvard Medical School in the late 1980’s (right around when my book is set), and that gave me a lot to work with. I used actual class schedules taken from the websites of several real-life med schools, and I took the lessons that Sara has to go through (especially the dreaded Anatomy class) from the actual textbook used in most med schools.

How much of you is in the books you write? In what ways?

There’s a lot of me in the books – how could there not be? I set the first book in a familiar setting – my college – and populated the world with “extras” drawn from people I knew. And the main characters all have aspects of me in them – which I think is true of every author.

What is your latest audiobook about? Who is the narrator?

The latest audiobook release is the third book in the Dream Series, Dream Child. It continues Sara’s adventures. So far the first three books are all available as audiobooks. In the books, Sara discovers she has the ability to step into other people’s dreams, which leads her into lots of trouble. The first book follows her in college, where she learns about her new “gift,” finds love, and has to chase down a serial killer. The second book takes Sara to medical school, through life as a newlywed, and into a mystery – who is trying to kill one of her teachers? And the third book jumps ahead to Sara’s residency, coping with parenthood, and a plot to unravel between a mobster and a corrupt politician. All three books are narrated by the amazing Heather Jane Hogan.

Buy Book One on:

There’s also a short story set within the series and following Sara’s parents. That’s narrated by Doctor Who star Nicola Bryant (I picture her playing Sara’s mother, if Hollywood ever buys my books!). It’s called Betty & Howard’s Excellent Adventure and it’s available at
Finally, there are samples from all of these audiobooks at:

Tell us about your hero or heroine in this book. Give us one of his/her strengths and one of his/her weaknesses.
Sara Barnes is the heroine of the series. She starts out as a shy, bookish pre-med student, but when she discovers her talent for dreaming, her life changes. She’s forced to cope with things she never imagined, and she’s put into danger she never anticipated. But at the same time, she discovers a new confidence, and she also finds the love of her life. Her greatest strength is her compassion – that’s what leads her into becoming a doctor, and it also gets her involved in the many problems she sees when she visits other people’s dreams. Her biggest weakness is that, for all her intelligence, she can be very slow when it comes to figuring out other people and interpersonal relationships. And she’s very good at getting in her own way. “

For more about J.J. DiBenedetto, visit his website and follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

Stop by Stacy’s audiobook page to browse her audiobook reads for adults, teens and children, and visit her Audiobook Corner for links to narrator and author interviews.

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  1. Thanks for interviewing me!

Stacy Juba