The Jane Barnaby Adventures Book 1
by J.J. DiBenedetto
Genre: Light Suspense Thriller 230 pages
All archaeology student Jane Barnaby had to do was deliver a box of pottery shards to her professor at his dig site, along with his new car. Yes, his office was in Oxfordshire, and his dig site was in Spain, a trip of 1,400 miles across three countries and two bodies of water. Still, it should have been simple.
That is, until everything went wrong.
Now, Jane has the wrong box and is being chased by thieves who want it and aren't particular about how they get what they want.
Add to that, she's picked up a pair of passengers who both claim they can help her get her professor's pottery back and return the artifacts to their rightful owner. If only she knew who was working with the thieves and who she can trust in this high-stakes game of finders keepers.
“You know that expression ‘if looks could kill’ really is just an expression, right? You can stare at me like that all night if you want, but I’m not changing my mind.”
When she’d told him her new plan, Jane had worried, just for a moment or two, that Tom might try to grab the wheel or do something else equally drastic. She wasn’t sure what would have happened if he had; fighting for control of the car with a hostile passenger had not come up in her Driver’s Ed classes back in high school.
Forgoing violence, he’d settled for stunned disbelief, followed by an extended string of what Jane had to admit was pretty creative cursing. She’d smiled through all of it, and she kept smiling when he changed tactics to a one-sided staring contest. But it was starting to become tiresome. His response to her words, though, was equally annoying.
“You are insane. You understand that, don’t you? You are committing a crime. You are making me a party to crimes. Do you honestly not realize that?”
The smile fell from her face, and Jane sighed. “What crime?” Really, she thought, she shouldn’t have to explain this. It wasn’t that complicated. “I was told to pick up a box in the basement of the Institute, and drive it to Professor Welldon in Mallorca. That’s still what I’m doing.”
Jane glanced over, mainly out of curiosity. She wondered precisely what color his face was. It appeared to have passed straight through the usual visual spectrum and was well on its way towards ultraviolet. With great effort, he managed to keep his voice almost under control, though. “It’s the wrong box! It’s our artifacts, not your pottery pieces!”
“Yes,” she agreed. “But I only have your word on that. You don’t have a badge, or a warrant or even a nasty letter to prove it.”
The Jane Barnaby Adventures Book 2 226 pages
Jane Barnaby had everything going her way: a prestigious internship at the Museum of Natural History, a fantastic Upper West Side sublet apartment, and helping plan her newly-engaged college friend's wedding.
Until a casual lunch with her friend’s fiancé set off alarm bells, and sent her digging into the rabbit hole that is his past.
When that rabbit hole leads Jane and her on-again, off-again boyfriend to the English countryside, uncovering secrets dating back to World War 2, searching for priceless art treasures looted by the Nazis, and fighting off the thieves who will kill to get those treasures for themselves, will they discover the truth, or lose their lives?
I don’t have much time to write. Mark is in the shower right now, so I have to make this quick. And, no, I don’t mean it like that! Get your mind out of the gutter!
Anyway, let me get right to the question: Am I an adrenaline junkie?
Never mind, don’t answer that. I know what you’ll say, and you’re right, and I don’t want to hear it.
On second thought, tell me the truth. Do I really look for trouble? Do I seek out danger? Do I have some deep psychological need to get involved in things that are absolutely none of my business, and that any sane person would back off from the first chance they got?
I never thought I was like that, but now I’m starting to wonder.
Her Brother's Keeper
The Jane Barnaby Adventures Book 3 175 pages
Jane Barnaby has planned the perfect Christmas vacation. Her father and his fiancé are joining her in Spain at her archaeological dig. They'll see her work, meet her mentor, and they'll all enjoy a few days of sunny Mediterranean beaches in the dead of winter.
But it all falls apart when Jane's annoying brother tags along and lands in jail for a crime he didn't commit.
To clear her brother's name, all Jane has to do is chase a wily female con-artist across Europe, catch her, and confront the woman and her accomplices. Oh, and outwit an ex-KGB agent and his personal goon squad along the way.
The man standing in front of her had her father’s face, but his hair – it wasn’t graying anymore. And his clothes – they were new. And pressed. And actually fashionable. She couldn’t recall the last time you could say even one of those things about her father’s wardrobe, let alone all three at the same time. She looked down, and, even half expecting to see new shoes, she couldn’t help but gasp at the sight.
“Jane? What’s wrong?”
She shook her head in hopes of clearing it, trying to make sense of her father’s makeover. “I’m sorry,” she said. “I just – wow, Daddy, you look fantastic.” She went the last few feet, threw her arms around him and hugged him close. If he wanted to look better, that was a good thing, right? If it was Cassie’s influence, or if he just wanted to impress her on vacation, good for him. If he was happy, she was happy.
“I don’t look that different!” Her father wasn’t really annoyed; it was that mock-impatient tone he sometimes liked to use. “I buy one new outfit and everyone loses their minds!”
“It was more than one new outfit, Joe,” Cassie said. Jane pulled back from her father to get a good look at her. She was grinning, but there were the beginnings of circles under her eyes. Clearly she hadn’t followed instructions and slept on the trans-Atlantic portion of their flight. “But, yeah, I do kind of lose my mind over you.”
Jane had never thought of her father – or, really, any man his age, as somebody that a woman might lose her mind over. Well, maybe Harrison Ford – he had to be somewhere around her father’s age. If Indiana Jones wanted to marry her, Jane had to admit she might be rendered incapable of rational thought. But the list of desirable older men began and ended with him.
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.
If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
When I first came up with the character (long before I actually wrote the book), I pictured Amy Acker (she’s been in pretty much every Joss Whedon show and movie, but I remember her best as poor, doomed Fred on “Angel”) as Jane, but that was more than a decade ago, and I’m not sure I could get away with her playing someone just out of college these days.
So if I have to pick someone who’s a little better fit, age-wise, maybe Jenna Coleman of Doctor Who fame. I figure she can probably do a perfectly good American accent, and she’s certainly used to being chased by people who are trying to kill her!
What kind of world ruler would you be?
I have to admit, I’d be a pretty terrible ruler. I’d start out with the best intentions, but we all know what the road to hell is paved with. About the only thing I can say for myself is that at least I know myself well enough to know that I shouldn’t have that kind of power.
There’s a great quote from the actor Terence Stamp, who played the villainous General Zod in the Christopher Reeve Superman movies. He said, “We all like to think we’d be Superman, but in the end we’d all become General Zod.” I think, sadly, he’s probably right.
Tell us about your main characters- what makes them tick?
Jane is such a fun character. The main thing about her is that she’s got a big heart. Unfortunately, it takes her head a while to catch up with her heart. She’ll always try to do the right thing, even when she isn’t really sure what that might be, so she ends up acting without really thinking things through – always with the best of intentions, but more often than not, she ends up causing even more trouble for herself.
As for the two main men in Finders Keepers, well, when I first started the book, I used the movie “Romancing the Stone” as a model for the tone and feel of the story I wanted to write. And it ended up that the two men – Tom, the awkward guy who works at the Bodliean Lobrary, and Alex, the suave con artist – basically filled the roles played by Michael Douglas and Danny DeVito in the movie – except reversed. Imagine the heroic (if reluctant) adventurer in “Romancing the Stone” portrayed by DeVito, and the sneaky, sleazy jewel thief portrayed by Douglas, and you’ll have the idea!
What are your top 10 favorite books/authors?
Top ten authors? Let’s see – in no particular order:
Stephen R. Donaldson
Stephen King (but only counting his books up until the mid 1980’s or so)
Top ten books? I’m going to count series as one book here…again in no particular order…
Mordant’s Need by Stephen R. Donaldson
Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin
The Saga of Pliocene Exile by Julian May
Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
The Dune series by Frank Herbert (but definitely NOT any of the sequels or prequels written by his son!)
The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever & the Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant by Stephen R. Donaldson
Revelation Space trilogy by Alastair Reytnolds
The Venetian’s Wife by Nick Bantock
Barrow’s Boys by Fergus Fleming
The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write?
Generally the main character and their immediate supporting cast are there right from the start. For the Jane Barnaby Adventures, Jane was there and pretty much fully formed from page one, and so was her family, her best friend and her mentor.
The secondary characters came more slowly, and some of them changed quite a bit as the story went on and they told me who they were. Tom, whom Jane meets up with on her journey from England to Spain, ended up a lot different than he started out – he really surprised me.
Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie?
I can picture any of my books being made into a movie. In fact, it’s something I think about almost every day!
The Jane Barnaby Adventures would all be pretty easy to adapt into movies. Nothing would really have to change, and they’ve already got plenty of twists and turns in the plot to keep the audience on the edge of their seats.
My other series, the Dream Series novels, would also make great movies, but there’d have to be some changes. Those books are all about Sara, a woman who can step into other people’s dreams, and all the trouble that causes for her. But they’re all written in the first person, and if they were adapted for movies, the story would have to be “opened up” and told from a different perspective. There are also quite a few plot details that wouldn’t work as well visually as they do in prose, but I’d love the chance to try and see how they’d look in film!
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