Mystery writer J.J. DiBenedetto is my interview guest today. He's talking about his newest release in the Jane Barnaby Adventures series. Take it away, J.J.!
Do you work on more than one book at a time?
I can’t. My brain is very much a one-track setup. I can’t do more than think in the most vague terms about a different story while a book is still unfinished.
What comes first for you – plot or character? And why?
Definitely character. I need to know exactly who my characters are, what they’re like, really get inside their heads. Once I do that, they tell me what happens to them. Which leads nicely into the next question…
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Totally a pantser. I didn’t know what my villain was after, or even who he really was, until halfway through my new book. Honestly, it often feels more like retelling stories that my characters have told me, than me creating something.
What book for you has been the easiest to write? The hardest? The most fun?
I think the first book of this series, FINDERS KEEPERS, has been the most fun, just because it was such a departure from my previous series, and Jane is such an entertaining character to write.
What’s your least favorite thing about being a writer?
The sales/marketing side of things. It’s not my strong suit, and everything is changing so fast, it’s difficult to keep up with the latest techniques and channels and approaches and all the rest of it.
If writing is your first passion, what is your second?
Travel, or at least it would be if I had the money to do more of it!
Do you have another occupation, other than writer? If so, what is it? Does it help you with your writing?
Yes, I have a day job, and considering how much I don’t enjoy the marketing side of writing, it’s ironic that my job is in marketing.
Do you have any pets? Are you cat person or a dog person? Or are you into totally different pets, like goldfish? What do you like best about your pet?
We have a white cat named Danny. I’m not sure it’s really right to call him a pet, though, since he sets the schedule for the household, and me and my wife are the ones being trained to adapt to it.
If money were not an object, where would you most like to live? Why?
Paris! Although that’s only going from a 3 day visit there. I might not feel that way after a couple of months – but I’d love the chance to find out!
What do you like best about your heroine in HER BROTHER'S KEEPER?
Jane is just so much fun to write. Her heart’s always in the right place, but she doesn’t really think anything through, she just pushes ahead and often ends up making decisions that are somewhat less than wise.
How do you choose the names and physical characteristics of your characters? Do you base them on real people?
For my main characters, usually the name just comes along with the character. Jane was always Jane from the moment I created her. As for physical characteristics, usually I have one or two in mind very clearly, and then I look for an actor/actress who seems like a good fit, and then I work backwards from that.
How can readers reach you or find you online?
Lots of places!
My website – http://www.writingdreams.net
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/JJDiBenedettoauthor
Twitter – https://twitter.com/JJDiBenedetto
Amazon – http://viewAuthor.at/JJDiBenedetto
Tell us a little about your current work in progress.
I literally just wrote the first page of the next Jane Barnaby Adventure. It’ll be called SHIP OF FOOLS, and it takes place on a cruise ship.
If I was a first time reader of your books, which one would you recommend I start with and why?
I’d start with the first Jane book, FINDERS KEEPERS. It’s a quick, fun read, and I think you’ll be hooked right away.
Tell us about your next release.
HER BROTHER’S KEEPER is the third Jane Barnaby Adventure, and it’s out on January 31st. Jane has decided to bring her family together for what she hopes will be a peaceful vacation, but that goes out the window when her brother gets seduced by a Russian jewel thief and ends up in jail…
Blurb for HER BROTHER’S KEEPER:
Jane Barnaby thought she’d planned the perfect Christmas vacation. She’d invited her father and his fiancé to join her in Spain at her archaeological dig. They’d see her work, meet her mentor and enjoy a few days of sunny Mediterranean beaches in the dead of winter. What could go wrong?
Her annoying brother tagging along, and then landing in jail for a crime he didn’t commit, for one thing.
To clear her brother’s name and make her vacation perfect again, all Jane has to do is chase the mystery woman who set her brother up across Europe, find her in a dangerous and unfamiliar city and deal with her accomplices. Oh, and outwit an ex-KGB agent and his personal goon squad, too.
It’s going to be an exciting and action-packed Christmas for Jane, whether she wants it or not!
J.J. DiBenedetto is author of the Dream Series and the Jane Barnaby Adventures and lives in Arlington, Virginia with the love of his life and a white cat who rules the roost.
His passions are photography, travel, the opera, the New York Giants, and of course writing.
Mr. DiBenedetto is devoted to writing books with a sense of mysticism to entertain and perhaps invite his readers to suspend belief in a way they might never have.
Since he was very young , he has always been intrigued with the supernatural and things that can't be explained rationally.
By always asking way too many questions, it piqued his interest to the point of setting his writing off and running when he grew up! All the curiosity building up all those years were finally getting put into words to captivate readers. And it hasn't ended. His main goal is to share all the stories he has inside, putting pen to paper. And that's how the Dream Series was born.
Mr. DiBenedetto welcomes queries and feedback from his loyal readers. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or at his website www.writingdreams.net .
The next Jane Barnaby Adventure will be ready soon and he's anxious to hear what you think!
Excerpt from HER BROTHER'S KEEPER:
Cassie came downstairs expecting to have her breakfast waiting for her, as Joe had promised.
It was not. Instead, the only thing waiting for her was Sheryl and Jon, both of whom were wearing nervous expressions. Sheryl – already dressed, in a dress, and who wore a dress to come down to breakfast on vacation anyway? – tried to force a smile.
“Your fiancé had to – well, there’s no easy way to say this – I mean, I don’t know what I’d want to hear.”
Jon sighed. He seemed to do that a lot. “Joe and Jane had to leave suddenly. Apparently, George landed himself in jail last night.”
Jail? George? The quiet, socially awkward one? Maybe even, if she was being brutally honest, the boring one, in jail? In a foreign country? How was that possible?
Sheryl was talking, interrupting Cassie’s thoughts, such as they were. “Very nice. Way to just rip off the band-aid. Can’t you see how upset she is? What kind of bedside manner is that, anyway?”
Cassie shook her head. “No, it’s fine. It’s just – that’s not what I was expecting to hear.”
If one of Joe’s kids was going to be calling from jail, she would have put all her money on Jane. She’d told Cassie all about her crazy chase halfway across Europe a couple of years ago, and the girl had broken at least a dozen major laws. It had all been in a good cause, and it had all worked out in the end, but there was no question Jane acted first and thought about the consequences later. Or sometimes, not at all.