Several of the books in my Dream Series take place around Christmastime. Part of the reason is simple: the Christmas season is my favorite time of year, so it’s natural I’d gravitate towards that. But it’s also a great time of year, story-wise. The holidays are a perfect time for drama – family gatherings or office parties are a great excuse to throw together characters who otherwise would never be in the same room. And as we all know from real life, those occasions can often lead to emotional fireworks.
One of my Christmastime books is Dream Child, the third book of my series. It wasn’t a conscious decision to set the book at that time of year – when I began writing, that’s just when it took place. There are signs of the season all through the book: four-year-old Lizzie helping to decorate the Christmas tree, and picking out a present for her father; and the hospital Christmas party where our heroine, Sara, has her last chance to confront one of the villains of the book.
So what’s the book about?
Dr. Sara Alderson can deal with eighty-hour workweeks as a resident at Children’s Hospital. Dealing with crises in the Emergency Room or the OR is second nature to her. But now she faces a challenge that all of her training and experience hasn’t prepared her for: Lizzie, her four-year-old daughter, has inherited her ability to see other people’s dreams.
After Lizzie befriends a young boy on a trip to Washington, DC, and then wakes up in a panic that night because of a “bad funny dream,” Sara knows exactly what it means: her daughter is visiting the boy’s dreams. Complicating matters is the fact that the boy’s father is a Congressman, and he’s dreaming about a “scary man in a big black car” threatening his Daddy.
Unraveling a case of political corruption and blackmail would be hard enough for Sara under the best of circumstances. But when she has to view everything through the eyes of a toddler, it may be an impossible task.
Here’s a short excerpt, featuring Sara and Lizzie:
Helen isn’t up for anything more than dragging herself from the bathroom to her bed, but Lizzie is still bouncing off the walls so I take her for a walk around the neighborhood. It’s freezing out, but that might be for the best. Maybe it’ll help Lizzie burn off some of her excess energy a little faster.
As we leave the hotel, I briefly consider going into one of the shops I’ve seen in the neighborhood to look for something new to wear to the hospital Christmas party next Saturday night. But I doubt Lizzie will sit still for that, so I dismiss the idea. We’ll just wander around until, hopefully, she gets tired.
“Do you like Washington, honey?”
Lizzie nods repeatedly. “Yes, Mommy! But I miss Daddy. And Ben and Steffy.”
I squeeze her hand as we walk past the entrance to the zoo. “Me too. But Daddy will be here tomorrow, and then Sunday we’ll be home and you’ll see your brother and sister.”
That’s good enough for her, especially with so many things all around to distract her:
“No, we can’t go into the zoo now, they’re closed.”
“Yes, I’m sure the animals all have someplace nice and warm to sleep.”
“No, the zoo is still closed, just like it was five minutes ago.”
“Yes, I saw that dog. Yes, he was really big.”
“No, we can’t have ice cream now, we haven’t had dinner yet.”
“Yes, that’s a very big Christmas tree.”
“No. Because Thai food makes Mommy have an upset tummy, that’s why.”
“Yes, that looks like Billy’s daddy, you’re right.”
About the author:
Hello! I’m J.J. DiBenedetto, the author of the Dream Series. I live in Arlington, Virginia with my lovely wife and Danny, a white cat who’s trained us both. I’m originally from Yonkers, New York. I love the New York Giants, fondue, photography, travel, the opera and (this will be no surprise!) I’m a huge science-fiction and fantasy geek.
You can follow me at:
Right here at this website!