Author and Writing Coach John DeDakis is a former CNN Senior Copy Editor for the Emmy and Peabody-Award winning news program "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer."
DeDakis (pronounced deh-DAY-kiss) is the author of two mystery/suspense novels ("Fast Track" and "Bluff") published by ArcheBooks. His third novel, "Troubled Water," is to be published on February 21, 2014 by Strategic Media Books.
"Fast Track" is the story of a young woman's search for purpose as she solves the mystery surrounding the car-train collision which orphaned her as an infant. The novel deals redemptively with issues of suicide, journalistic integrity, anonymous sources, and mentoring relationships.
"Fast Track" grew out of two events in the author's life: a fatal car/train crash he witnessed as a youngster in 1959 and the suicide of his sister in 1980.
His second novel, "Bluff," a sequel to "Fast Track," is based on his four-day, 25-mile hike along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru.
Both novels are published in hardcover by ArcheBooks and are available on Amazon.com and as Kindle eBooks.
DeDakis is currently working with Pittsburgh psychologist Joyce Wilde on a self-help memoir about their mutual losses -- (working title: "Healing from Grief: A Conversation").
John DeDakis, a native of La Crosse, Wisconsin, began his journalism career in 1969 at a campus radio station at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he was tear gassed while covering an anti-Vietnam War riot in 1970. He earned a B.A. in Journalism from that university in 1977 following a stint in the U.S. Army where he worked from 1972-74 as a Special Events Reporter at The American Forces Network - Europe, based in Frankfurt, Germany. During that time he interviewed legendary film director Alfred Hitchcock.
From 1976 to 1983, DeDakis was a reporter at WMTV (NBC) in Madison, Wisconsin. From 1983 to 1988, he was a correspondent with CBN News in Virginia Beach, Virginia. DeDakis was CBN's White House Correspondent during the last three years of Ronald Reagan's presidency. In addition to interviewing Reagan, John also interviewed former president Jimmy Carter.
In March 2013, DeDakis retired from CNN after a 25-year career there that began in 1988 when he joined the network as a writer. From 2001 to 2005, he supervised the writing on CNN's "Daybreak," anchored by Carol Costello. He also copy edited newscasts anchored by Donna Kelley, Leon Harris, Bill Hemmer, and Daryn Kagan.
From 2006 to 2013, DeDakis led workshops in broadcast newswriting in CNN's Washington, D.C. bureau.
In addition to book signings and readings, DeDakis frequently speaks around the country on the topic "From Journalist to Novelist: (Or How I Learned to Start Making it Up)." He is also available as a one-on-one writing coach, a leader of day-long workshops for aspiring and/or struggling writers, and as an editor of book-length manuscripts.
DeDakis led a series of writing workshops aboard the Coral Princess on an 11-day cruise to the Panama Canal Oct. 24 - Nov. 4, 2013.
DeDakis is currently an adjunct journalism faculty member at the University of Maryland-College Park for the fall 2013 term.
Between April 7 and May 29, 2013, DeDakis was the Writer in Residence at the Callanwolde Fine Arts Center in Atlanta teaching fiction writing classes and holding one-on-one writing tutorials.
DeDakis taught a journalism and writing class for student interns during the summers of 2007/08 as a lecturer at American University, Washington, D.C. He was an on-line adjunct professor at Regent University where he taught newswriting to grad students in 2008 and led a seminar in June 2009 on how to write a novel.
In April 2010, DeDakis led writing workshops at The Writers' Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and was the keynote speaker in May 2010 at the Scribblers' Retreat writers conference on St. Simons Island, Georgia.
In recent years, DeDakis has been a popular workshop leader at the following writers' conferences: Sleuthfest (Florida), Pennwriters (Pennsylvania), Flathead River (Montana), Hampton Roads (Virginia), BooksAlive (Florida), Lakefly (Wisconsin).
DeDakis is currently working with agent Garry Dinnerman of Beverly Grant Associates to bring the screenplay adaptations of his novels to the attention of Hollywood. John's literary agent since 2004 is Barbara Casey.
DeDakis is a member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime.
In the 1960s, DeDakis was an actor and performed in several productions at the La Crosse [Wisconsin] Community Theater where he won a Dionysos Award for his portrayal of Fleet Foot, a decrepit Indian guide in the musical spoof "Little Mary Sunshine." He played the role of Grandma in a production of Edward Albee's "The Sandbox" which placed first in a state-wide one-act play competition in Wisconsin.
John's wife, Cynthia, a choral conductor, is the manager of the chorister program at National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. She is a former national President of The Royal School of Church Music (RSCM) in America.
John and Cindy live in Washington, D.C. They have two grown children: Emily recently earned her PhD in Creative Writing at Queen's University, Belfast, Northern Ireland; James is the drummer for the nationally-known bands "Wages" and "Arizona." Their youngest son, Stephen, 22, died unexpectedly August 21, 2011. He was a musician and cook in the Washington, D.C. area. A future novel in John's mystery/suspense series will deal, in fictionalized form, with the circumstances surrounding Stephen's death.
You're invited to send John DeDakis a friend request on Facebook, follow him on Twitter @johndedakis, and visit his website at www.johndedakis.com
Accomplishments: 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
-A UPI Wisconsin award for "The Cubans: Freedom and Frustration," a television documentary about the Cuban Boatlift of 1980.
-The U.S. military's Thomas Jefferson Award "for excellence in broadcasting" for the 1974 radio documentary "Telling it Like it Is in Pottsville, Pennsylvania" about the Army's Hometown Recruiting Program.