Please help me welcome James DiBenedetto as he shares with us on our occasional Monday series on “Adventurous Heroines.” Enjoy!
Sara, the heroine of my Dream Series, wouldn’t call herself adventurous. She’d probably say that adventure has been thrust upon her – starting one night in college when she began stepping into other people’s dreams. Before that night, she was a pretty ordinary person. Her main worries were getting through final exams, starting on her application to medical school and getting her Christmas shopping done.
Everything changed with the dreams. Thanks to them, over the course of the books she’s hunted down a serial killer, saved one of her teachers from a would-be murderer, uncovered a blackmail plot between a mobster and a corrupt Congressman, and a lot more. She’s nearly been killed three times, wound up in the hospital six times, nearly gone to prison twice and performed emergency surgery on two different family members. That’s adventurous enough for anyone!
Sara hasn’t travelled as much as she’d like to – medical school, residency and life as a doctor keep her busy, and so do her five kids! But in the eighth book of the series, Dream Vacation, she finally does get to go on, well, a dream vacation, to Paris. Except it turns into a nightmare when her teenage daughter is seduced by a Parisian boy and runs away.
Sara’s trip to Paris was inspired partly by my own visit there. It’s a gorgeous city, and I intend to go back, because the 4 days I spent there were nowhere near enough to see even a fraction of the things I want to visit! There are other places I want to go (Bayreuth, Germany, for the annual Wagner festival; Rome, to visit my relatives who still live in the “old country”), but Paris is on the top of my list.
That trip helped to inspire one of Sara’s adventures, but what inspires me to write about her in general is Sara herself – over the course of nine books, she’s become a living, breathing person, and she demands that her stories be told. She’s grown from a shy, single 21-year-old student to a wife, mother of five, and an accomplished doctor who runs her own hospital. I think that’s pretty impressive!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
As for me, all I do is put her adventures down on paper by night. By day, I’m a marketing professional, married to my own lovely wife, well-trained by my cat, Danny, and I love the opera, fondue and my original hometown New York Giants.
You can follow me and my books at my website: http://www.writingdreams.net. You can also find me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/jjdibenedetto and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/DreamSeriesBooks. And all my books are on Amazon at http://viewauthor.at/JJDiBenedetto.
You can find Dream Vacation, the book I mentioned, at http://getBook.at/DreamVacation.
Ben walks right up to the artist – a young woman, maybe twenty, maybe not. She’s wearing a smock that’s got paint all over it, but beneath that is a skirt that’s cut somewhere above her knees, and her shoes are more stylish than anything I’ve ever owned. She grins at Ben. “My young monsieur. I shall make a picture for you, oui?” Ben looks to me. Obviously this is going to cost us money, but we’re on vacation, right?
I nod, and he answers, “Oui,” in a passable accent.
“Bon,” the girl says. “You will pose. You and your – what is the word? Sister, oui? She gets up from her easel, takes Ben and then Steffy by the hand, and positions them near the Metro sign. “You will stay. I will be rapide. Fast, yes? Is that how you say?” Ben nods, grinning himself from ear to ear. Steffy isn’t quite as thrilled, but she puts something close to a smile on her face and goes along with it.
Our artist – Helene, we quickly learn – is indeed rapide. She takes maybe twenty minutes, and she produces a very cute portrait of the twins. And on closer inspection, she really captured their personalities. Ben is all wide-eyed innocence, while eyes a lot older than eight and a half peer out from Steffy’s face. She hands the picture to me – she used acrylic paint, so it’s already pretty much dry – and I hand it around to everyone in turn. After much ooh-ing and aah-ing, Helene looks to Brian and me expectantly.
I knew this part was coming, and she definitely earned something. Before I can say or do anything, Brian reaches into his pocket and emerges with a hundred euros, all of which he hands to the girl. I start to say something – the words make it all the way from my brain nearly to my lips before I catch myself. We’re on vacation. And how many people have a sort-of-professionally painted portrait of their children?
She wasn’t expecting quite that much, but she covers her reaction quickly; her wide eyes narrow, and she affects a bored almost-sneer as she says, “Merci, monsieur,” and stuffs the money somewhere underneath her smock. I’m guessing we just paid for a very nice evening out for Helene and a couple of her friends.