Today I spotlight J.J. DiBenedetto, Author of Finders Keepers.
Hi, L.A., thanks for having me today. I’m probably dating myself, but when I started writing FINDERS KEEPERS, the first thing I thought of was the movie “Romancing the Stone.” I already had my heroine, a young archaeology student, who’s just arrived at the University of Oxford, but I didn’t know what would happen to her, until I made the connection to the movie.
The tone and feel of the movie was my guideline all through the book – fun, a fast ride, plenty of humor, and a man that the heroine doesn’t know if she should trust at her side throughout the story. I’ll leave it to you to decide whether I pulled it off or not…
Jane walked right past a black Mercedes on her way to the elevator, barely paying it any notice. Was it the same car that had been behind her all this way? Maybe, maybe not. It wasn’t such a big coincidence anyway; the driver was probably just taking a quick holiday in Paris. If he owned a Mercedes, surely a couple of days in Paris were no big deal for him. She put it completely out of her mind as she rode up the elevator, through a short hallway and then outside into the miserable English Channel weather.
She looked out at the waves, which seemed quite choppy. The ferry was rocking a little even now, tied securely to the pier. How rough would it be crossing the Channel? Jane’s boating experience was limited to a two hour fishing trip from City Island when she was ten years old, and canoeing during summer camp from third through sixth grade. She’d never been out on the water in bad conditions, and overhearing one of the ferry’s crew refer to the churning, turbulent water as being “smooth as glass today, innit?” did nothing to calm her nerves.
There was a map of the ferry, and Jane noted several places to eat and drink. If she didn’t have to get behind the wheel as soon as she was off the boat in France, she would have had a glass of wine…or five. But even without that worry, she wasn’t at all confident that she could keep wine – or anything else – down, if the ferry was bobbing up and down like crazy.
As the departure time approached, the deck became progressively more crowded despite the biting wind and spraying sea. Jane stared out into the Channel, losing herself in the rolling waves. She didn’t hear the footsteps approaching her; it wasn’t until the man approaching her was well within her personal space that she felt his presence looming behind her.
She turned, startled, and looked up. He had to be at least six feet tall, maybe six-one or six-two, Jane guessed, clean-shaven, with dark hair cut quite short. And a strong chin – a very strong chin. “’ello, Miss. Enjoying the lovely weather?” She heard the slightest hint of a lilt to his voice. Irish? She was just starting to feel confident in her ability to differentiate the many varieties of English accent with some measure of accuracy, but she wasn’t willing to risk annoying a complete stranger. Especially a potentially friendly one…with such a strong chin.
It should have been a simple job. All archaeology student Jane Barnaby had to do was pick up a box her professor needed and deliver it to him 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.
And it was, until Jane discovered she picked up the wrong box by mistake. Not the one with boring pottery samples, but instead the one with priceless ancient Egyptian artifacts. The one that a team of international art thieves is after.
Now she’s chasing – and being chased by – the thieves. And she’s picked up a pair of passengers who claim they can help her outwit them, get her professor’s pottery back and return the artifacts to their rightful owner. If only she could figure out which one of them is working with the thieves and which one she can trust in this high-stakes game of finders keepers.
J.J. DiBenedetto is the author of the Dream Series. He lives in Arlington, Virginia with his lovely wife and Danny, a white cat who’s trained them both. He’s originally from Yonkers, New York. He loves the New York Giants, fondue, photography, travel, the opera and he’s a huge science-fiction and fantasy geek.