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September 2020 Notable Author: John DeDakis

“Don’t give up. The manuscript for my first novel went through 14 major revisions over 10 years and was rejected nearly 40 times until my current agent fell in love with it.” – John DeDakis

John DeDakis (deh-DAY-kiss) is a native of La Crosse, Wisconsin. He earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1977 following a stint in the U.S. Army. From 1972-74 he was a Special Events Reporter at The American Forces Network-Europe where he interviewed legendary film director Alfred Hitchcock. DeDakis then became a General Assignment Correspondent with CBN News and was their White House Correspondent during the last three years of the Reagan presidency. He interviewed both Reagan and Jimmy Carter. In 1988, DeDakis began a 25-year career with CNN, starting as a writer. From 2001 to 2005, he supervised the writing on CNN's "Daybreak," anchored by Carol Costello. He copy-edited newscasts anchored by Donna Kelley, Leon Harris, Bill Hemmer, Daryn Kagan, Kitty Pilgrim, and Martin Savidge. He was also a Senior Copy Editor for the Emmy and Peabody-Award winning news program "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.”

DeDakis has authored five Lark Chadwick mystery/suspense novels -- Fast Track, Bluff, Troubled Water, Bullet in the Chamber, and Fake. Each novel features strong-willed, strong-minded protagonist Lark Chadwick. The series begins in south central Wisconsin with a vexed, 20-something Lark trying to figure out what to do with her life. His most recent novel, Fake, has Lark thrust into a media-bashing frenzy at a time when facts are suspect, and reporters are targets. ("A gripping, topical tale about the difficulties of discerning the truth in the new world of fake news." ~Kirkus). Each story stands alone, but throughout feature the themes of journalistic integrity and mentoring relationships.

DeDakis' awards include an Emmy for his role in CNN's coverage of the 9/11 terror attacks; the American Bar Association’s Gavel Award for "Judges of the Facts," a television documentary on the jury system; and an UPI Wisconsin award for "The Cubans: Freedom and Frustration," a television documentary about the Cuban Boatlift of 1980.

John and his wife Cynthia met in 1977 at St. Andrews Episcopal church in Madison, Wisconsin. They married the next year and now live in Baltimore. Cindy is a former music consultant for the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland. From 2011-2015 she was the manager of the chorister program at National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. They have three adult children. Learn more at:

Genre: Mystery/Suspense

Mystery features a secret whose truth is figured out based on clues, psychology, or some mix of the two. The genre emphasizes the puzzle aspect of the plot. Suspense centers on not who did it, but whether the villain will be caught before committing another crime.

Sample Reading List: Fast Track, Bluff, Troubled Water, Bullet in the Chamber, and Fake

Writer's Prompt - Fun With Words

MWA invites you to have fun writing mystery/ suspense like John DeDakis. Use up to 100 words and write a mystery/suspense piece centered around journalism.

Submit your 100 words by the 25th of the month and receive an MWA Fun With Words Submission Certificate.  

Submit Your FUN WITH WORDS Prompt

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