news reviews interviews


Vicki Liston
Book Review by Vicki Liston

Picking up where "Bullet in the Chamber" left off, "Fake" pushes its protagonist harder, further, and faster than ever before. Still reeling from recent events in the last novel, Lark Chadwick presses forward in her true-to-form way only to find herself fighting against the ugly side of modern journalism. Unfortunately for her, it's only the beginning as the career field she's loved and thrived in for so long suddenly becomes fraught with falsities, fiction, and frenemies. Why bother reporting the truth when fake news leads in the viral headlines?

DeDakis brilliantly combines the hot subject of fake news - one we can't seem to get away from any more - with a high intensity plot full of scandals, secrets, and international incidents (...or are they fake?) that we've come to expect from his Lark Chadwick series. While his previous novels have concluded with the subtle insinuation that more would be coming, this one leaves the reader SCREAMING for what's potentially unfolding in the next book. "Fake" is exhaustingly suspenseful - I had to walk away from it a few times just to breathe, and the ending left me shell-shocked. I hope to hell the next novel is already well on its way.

There is a facet of DeDakis' writing style that I especially enjoy when he combines a real world topic and a fictional narrative. In "Fake," he chronicles the disastrous effects of fake news on Lark's life. However, he's also discreetly highlighting the very serious, real-world implications of fake news on our society and its conditioning of future generations. For someone like me who stopped watching the news because I don't know what to believe anymore, a reevaluation of that stance is in order. Even if ignored by a portion of the population, fake news ruins real lives, real careers, and can have irreversible effects on real people. It's a complicated problem, yes, but it needs to be taken much more seriously by our culture which feeds on information-overload 24/7. While "Fake" is a work of fiction, it isn't purely for entertainment purposes only. It's smart writing and it makes you think long after you've finished the last page.

"Fake" is a must-read for thriller fans as well as those who love political fiction. I'd also recommend it for those looking for diversity and inclusion in the story line as the novel tips its hat to the #MeToo and LGBTQ communities. Finally, I'd highly encourage those looking to read and follow a strong female protagonist to pick up any of the Lark Chadwick novels. It's refreshing to find that healthy balance of “confident,” “smart,” “not sexualized,” and “not a man-hater” in her. She's relatable, believable, and just vulnerable enough to make female readers completely empathize with her. Years ago, I was overly skeptical (and yes, maybe even a bit offended) when I read the Acknowledgments section at the beginning of "Troubled Water" and realized its male author was writing in the first person as a woman. But skepticism and offense quickly dissipated with each gripping page turn. The struggle is real and in "Fake," DeDakis still gets it. Very well done.

BOOK REVIEW - The Feathered Quill - by Gina Montanha
From the review:
"FAKE is a timely story of media deception and propaganda, raising questions and eyebrows about politics, journalism and integrity.... Quill says: FAKE is engaging and stimulating, an excellent recommendation for mystery lovers."
To read the entire review, click here.

BOOK REVIEW - WriteKnit - by Laura Hartman
From the review:
"DeDakis brilliantly combines the current trend of the general population’s personal feelings about public figures as well as the personal side from the accused point of view. The real consequences to the lies that have been published change lives.....The characters in Fake are brought to life in the realistic setting DeDakis creates..... I love a book that is current and relevant in addition to telling an interesting story. Fake makes the reader think about the nightly news in a different, more personal way.... Hopefully we will see more of Lark Chadwick in the future."
To read the entire review, click here.

Reviewed by: Anne Corey
From the review:
"The author provides much inside information about what it means to be a correspondent assigned to cover the White House and the President.... Besides referring to our on-going battles between real and fake news, as well as the distrust of journalists, this book addresses the #MeToo movement, gender-change issues and women’s right to choose. FAKE is a compelling read and the ending, although it resolves the current situation, leaves us with much to look forward to in the next Lark Chadwick adventure."
To read the entire review, click here.

Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth
From the review:
"Fake is well worth a read. At times I felt as though I might be reading a work of non-fiction." Read the entire review here:

July 25, 2019
Crime Beat Interview
Thanks to my publisher Ron Chepesiuk at Strategic Media Books for a fun interview on his "Crime Beat" internet radio show. Novelist Laura Lippman was on just before me. Scroll down to the July 25 show.
5:30-32:00 Laura Lippman My interview starts at 32:00

35:00 -- The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer
36:00 -- My new novel, "Fake"
37:00 -- The Joys of Marketing the novel
38:45 -- Social Media: Blessing, or Curse?
41:30 -- Journalism: is it "fake news"?
43:13 -- Writing as a woman
46:13 -- Lark Chadwick, my protagonist
48:00 -- Switching from journalist to novelist
49:00 -- Does writing ever get easier?
52:07 -- Writing as a way to heal from grief
54:00 -- Advice for wannabe writers

KIRKUS Book Review of "Fake" "A gripping, topical tale about the difficulties of discerning the truth in the new world of fake news." ~Kirkus Reviews;t=author


May 7, 2019
Podcast Interview
"It Was a Dark and Stormy Book Club"
Total Running Time: 20:00

0:00-3:41 How I chose to write in the mystery genre
3:41-4:13 Where I get my inspiration
4:13-7:25 My time at CNN and working with Wolf Blitzer
7:25-10:36 How and why I write as a woman
10:36-11:40 The writers who inspire me
11:40-12:45 What comes first, the story or the title?
12:45-13:40 Am I a Planner or a Seat-of-the-Pantser?
13:40-16:38 The Writer's Center in Bethesda, MD and other writing resources
16:38 - 19:07 Upcoming events including Write by the Lake in Madison, Wisconsin and the Himalayan Writing Workshop in Nepal

On Youtube
YouTube Interview
Conducted at the Creatures, Crime, and Creativity (C3) Con in Columbia, Maryland
Watch here:

March 2019
The Lifelong Learner
News from the University of Wisconsin Department of Continuing Studies

John DeDakis: In my stories, I try to give people a glimpse into what it’s really like for a reporter behind the scenes.
Novelist and veteran journalist John DeDakis writes to heal. After losing his sister in 1980 and his youngest son in 2011, DeDakis poured his grief into books. The author of four mystery-suspense novels, he has found catharsis and a calling.
“In my experience, healing comes when we face our pain rather than trying to anesthetize it,” he said.
He’ll share lessons and insights at the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s 21st annual Write-by-the-Lake Writer’s Workshop & Retreat on June 17-21. Writers of all levels will meet in a professional, friendly, creative atmosphere. Leading educators and writers from UW–Madison and across the country will teach a variety of sessions in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.

Former CNN Journalist to Speak on Facing Fear

By Lisa Bauer


DeDakis started his journalism career in 1969 as a reporter, joining CNN as a writer in 1988 and ending as an editor for CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.” He retired from journalism in 2013 to write full time while editing manuscripts and conducting writing workshops around the country and abroad.

His fourth novel, Bullet in the Chamber, published in 2016, follows White House correspondent Lark Chadwick as the president goes missing and the first lady’s life is at risk.

“Covering presidential campaigns and the White House during the last three years of Reagan’s presidency was a critical experience that informed Bullet in the Chamber, as well as my upcoming novel, Fake,” he said. “In my stories, I try to give people a glimpse into what it’s really like for a reporter behind the scenes.”

DeDakis with CNN journalist Wolf Blitzer.
Like many writers, DeDakis had to face down fears of failure as he started to write fiction. At Write-by-the-Lake, he’ll help participants overcome their fears and demystify the novel-writing process.

“I made a lot of mistakes on the way to getting published, so my class is designed to help students learn what I learned the hard way,” he said. “One key to overcoming fear is to learn from your experience, then make improvements, but keep trying. Fear is a normal part of the process.”

DeDakis said his session at Write-by-the-Lake will have plenty of opportunities to ask questions and get practical, hands-on writing experience.

“I look at the novel-writing process from an elevation of 30,000 feet, so that all the moving parts of the process can be seen from beginning to end. Then, we dig deeper into some of the more important aspects of novel writing, especially character creation,” he said. “My goal is to encourage people and show them that much of their creativity is already inside. They’ll learn how to tap into it.”


DeDakis is committed to his craft, journaling every morning.

“For me, writing is a way to gain inner clarity. Writing fiction has also been a catharsis and a way to explore issues of suicide, loss, and grief,” he said.

He reflected his sister’s suicide in 1980 in the opening scenes of his first novel, Fast Track. In Bullet in the Chamber, DeDakis used the death of his 22-year-old son from a heroin overdose as a subplot, but also as another way to cope with grief.

“I’ve found that you don’t have to scratch hard to find pain and loss inside someone,” he said. “My willingness to write and talk about my experiences has helped to destigmatize the issues of suicide and addiction so that people are less likely to suffer in silence and isolation.”

A La Crosse, Wis., native and graduate of UW–Madison, DeDakis lives in Baltimore. He’s taught journalism at the University of Maryland-College Park, and regularly teaches novel writing at a writers’ center and bookstore.

“I love Madison and try to get back every chance I get,” he said of the writing retreat. “I’m really looking forward to being in town and getting to know and work with writers who are serious about honing their craft.”

See the Write-by-the-Lake website or contact retreat director Christine DeSmet at 608-262-3447 or for more information.


Monday, December 10, 2018

Radio Interview with Nora Firestone
"Truth, Clarity, and Wisdom"
WKQA (AM 1110) - Norfolk, Virginia
Facebook live stream:

John Nora


Readers meet author John Dedakis

August 8, 2018

"Readers Meet Their Mysterious Favorites"
By Kellie Adamson
Suffolk [Virginia] News-Herald

From the article:"...[T]he workshop 'From Novice to Novelist: How to Write A Novel' [was] led by John DeDakis, a writing workshop leader at The Writer’s Center in Bethesda, MD and a former CNN senior copy editor for 'The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.'
'I think the most important step is just to take stock of who you are as a person and what you’re interested in, and if there is a desire to write you’ll find a way because you can teach yourself,' [DeDakis] said. He believes that everybody has at least one story to write because everybody tells stories each and every day. 'It’s just a matter of tapping into your subconscious and finding out what’s lurking in there,' he said."

August 8, 2018

"Don't Overthink it, Just Write It"
By Alex Perry
Suffolk [Virginia] News-Herald

July 16, 2018

One Thing Led to Another Podcast banner

Podcast Interview - "One Thing Led to Another" - Host: Noah Finco
Noah invited me to be his first guest for the debut of his new podcast.
Click here to listen:


Sunday, May 6, 2018
Sermon - "Lessons Learned From Grief"
Episcopal Cathedral of St. Paul - Burlington, Vermont

Lessons Learned From Grief

I talk about the suicide of my sister Georgia; the heroin overdose of my son Stephen; and the fatal car-train collision I witnessed in Chadwick, Illinois when I was a kid that killed three people, including a boy who was about my age at the time. Here's hoping you'll find encouragement to see you through whatever traumas that have happened in your life.

Youngest son Stephen

My youngest son Stephen.
Steve was a fun and funny guy.
Sadly, his life was cut short by a heroin overdose in August 2011.
He was 22.


My sister Georgia. She could have been a concert pianist or a surgeon.
Instead, she took her life in 1980 at the age of 38.

Sign of Chadwick

This is the railroad crossing in Chadwick, Illinois where I witnessed a car-train collision in 1959.
The crash killed three people, including Raymond Stage, 11, a boy about my age at the time.
I named my protagonist Lark Chadwick after the town, beginning with my first novel Fast Track.

Friday, February 23, 2018
Interview - Aspen Public Radio - Claire Woodcock

Thursday, February 22, 2018
Aspen Times - Andrew Travers

From fact to fiction with novelist John DeDakis, who is making swing through Aspen

After a long career in journalism, John DeDakis turned to writing fiction. But he hasn't given up on covering the most pressing issues of our times.

A White House correspondent for CBN News during the Reagan era, DeDakis then spent 25 years behind the scenes at CNN, closing out his journalism career as an editor for "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer."

He's writing fiction full time these days, bringing real-world relevance to page-turning mystery novels. His latest is "Bullet in the Chamber," the fourth book in his series of Lark Chadwick mysteries. The book follows Chadwick, a White House reporter for The Associated Press, as she navigates the aftermath of an attack on 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

The novel also touches on the opioid epidemic that's tearing through the country, in a subplot inspired by the heroin overdose death of DeDakis's 22-year-old son in 2011.

DeDakis is currently on a Rocky Mountain book tour with stops in Montana, Wyoming and events here in Aspen today and Saturday.

"Life doesn't always turn out the way you expect," he said in a phone interview from Bozeman, Montana. "In real life we call it a crisis. In journalism we call it a story. And in fiction we call it a plot twist."

DeDakis will discuss the new book and the arc of his career this evening at Explore Booksellers. On Saturday at the Pitkin County Library, he will give a writing workshop covering the creative side of writing a novel — voice and character and such — along with the business aspect of getting an agent and marketing.

"One of the things I teach people is to write what you know and to be as self-aware as possible because there's a lot of grist in your personal story that can inform whatever story you create," he said.

After his son's death, for instance, DeDakis knew he had to fold the experience into his work.

"Fiction is meant to be entertaining and page-turning," he said, "and I felt that it would be a catharsis to be able to explore that without it being painfully personal. It was still pretty painful, of course, but it was a catharsis to be able to write about it."

He has also been considering collaborating with a psychologist on a book about grief.

Like many fiction writers before him, DeDakis found invaluable training in journalism.

"The best preparation was that journalism, in order to be effective, has to be clear and concise," he said. "Whether it's newspapers or a nonfiction book, each sentence has to be clear. It doesn't have to be flowery or convoluted or complex. The best communication is clear and succinct. And especially broadcast journalism teaches you that."

For his next Lark Chadwick mystery, DeDakis said, he is working on a book tentatively titled "Fake" that jumps off from the current debate about so-called "fake news."

"I'm not looking to make a political statement," he said. "The importance of truth and authenticity transcends politics."

That said, DeDakis is flabbergasted by the current White House administration's attacks on the free press and by President Donald Trump's vendetta against DeDakis's former colleagues at CNN.

"It's really troubling," DeDakis said. "He says journalists are 'the enemy of the American people.' Really? That is astounding. And it's frightening when the president is trying to undermine the trusted entities in our society."


Wednesday, February 14, 2018
Jackson Hole News and Guide - Tibby Plasse

CNN journalist-turned-novelist will visit

A reporter once, a reporter for 40 years, even when writing fiction.

It’s no surprise that reporter John DeDakis has found his niche and second career in writing fiction from the perspective of a Washington D.C., correspondent. DeDakis was a CNN senior copy editor for the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning show “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.” DeDakis’ journalism career stretches nearly four and a half decades and includes interviews with high-profile personalities such as Alfred Hitchcock, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.

DeDakis said he began writing on the side while working for CNN.

“I became an editor in ’89 at CNN, and that’s not very creative,” he said. “By the early ’90s, for a creative outlet, I started a biographical project about a friend’s murder. I ended up selling the project for various reasons. It was complicated knowing so much, more than the family knew. That’s when I tried fiction.”

His fiction work includes a series of books about White House correspondent Lark Chadwick.

DeDakis’ fictional White House correspondent, unlike the author, is a woman. According to Associated Press White House reporter Josh Lederman, “Lark Chadwick stands out as a protagonist who is at once compelling and compulsively true to form. John DeDakis gets inside the head of a modern-day White House journalist.”

DeDakis chose a woman character for his mystery-thriller-suspense plots, he said, because “a friend once told me to write in a way that stretches yourself. So I chose the female voice.”

“We’re not that different, men and women, but women are more nuanced about emotions,” he said. “Women have a lot to say.”

DeDakis is humble about his heroine. Though he said doesn’t consider his four books a series but as stand-alone stories, “Fast Track,” ” “Bluff,” “Troubled Water” and “Bullet in the Chamber” were partly inspired by DeDakis’ life.

“I am most inspired by subplots,” he said. “My life is peppered everywhere. My first novel was prompted by my sister’s suicide in 1980. It was a cathartic to write it. In my fourth novel, the major subplot of events surround my son’s death in 2011.

“In journalism, it’s a story. In fiction it’s a plot twist. And in real life the event is a crisis.”

DeDakis occupies several roles as a modern writer. He’s been a reporter, an editor, a professor of journalism, a lecturer and a writing coach. But he doesn’t miss journalism.

“I didn’t feel the need to go back even while watching a great story break,” he said. “The Boston Marathon was the first big story to break after I left. I’ve made a great second career writing, editing, teaching — everything has prepared me for now.

“When you think about it, and the main thing I teach is write what you know. Anything is grist, even if it’s fiction. It can be tied to a universal theme in the real world. Peek behind the curtain of how journalism is done — it’s messy. The emphasis for professionals is informative, not persuasive.”

DeDakis also finds grist in the social media arena. A longtime friend and colleague of his, David Aikman, a conservative Christian journalist and former senior reporter at Time Magazine, has been involved with DeDakis in an online discussion about evangelical Christian support of President Trump. DeDakis and Aikman first met in 1985 as young journalists attending a regular breakfast for Christian reporters in Washington, D.C.

“I have become disillusioned with evangelicalism and responded with a #notmypresident post after the new year, and David responded,” he said. “I hadn’t seen David since my son’s funeral. And I figured if anyone could explain how you can back Trump as an evangelical, David could.”

The interchange has blossomed between the Baltimore-based DeDakis and the Dublin-based Aikman into a discussion about where religion and politics intersect. DeDakis still considers Aikman one of his mentors despite the difference in opinion. The conversation is public on DeDakis’ Facebook page.

DeDakis will be at Jackson Hole Book Trader from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday for a book signing and meet and greet. It will be the first author event at the book store since it reopened. DeDakis said he is looking forward to returning to town.

“The last time I was in town, it was part of a monthlong tour from Wisconsin, where I grew up, to Seattle for the 1962 World Fair.” 

Contact Tibby Plasse via


Monday, February 12, 2018
Radio Interview with Brennan Hussey, KHOL 89.1, Jackson, Wyoming

Saturday, February 10, 2018
Interview with Alan Bourgeois of and
Discussing my novel Bullet in the Chamber:


December 2017
Magazine profile piece
The Catalyst
The literary journal of the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse (my hometown).

November 7, 2017 - Radio Interview
"The Good Morning Show" with Priscilla Mac - KRGN (FM 98.5) - Killeen, Texas

Facebook clip:
Entire Interview:

The highlights:
:00-1:45 Introduction and my background
1:45-3:30 Writing as a woman
3:30-4:45 "Fake News"
13:00-26:00 Gun control in the wake of the church massacre in Sutherland Springs, Texas
26:00-30:00 The importance of finding common ground in political discussions

October 19, 2017 - Radio Interview
"The Nora Firestone Show" - WKQA Radio (AM 1110) - Norfolk, Virginia

Here's a link to the Live Stream version on Facebook:
Here's a link to the way it sounded on the radio:

Here's how it breaks down juuust in case you don't want to listen to the full hour:
:00-6:37 - Before-show chit-chat + Intro
6:37-10:00 Key life decisions including shifting away from Hugh Hefner's Playboy philosophy
10:00-23:33 journalism
23:33-30:00 working with Wolf Blitzer
30:00-35:00 Nora and I yak during the break. You'll only see/hear it on the Facebook edition
35:00-37:00 leadership qualities
37:40-42:00 You'll only be able to hear the caller on the radio version. He asks me to compare the Tea Party movement with the Occupy Wall Street movement. In a follow-up question he shares an anecdote in which he (a Tea Partier) discovered that on at least one issue there was agreement between him and an Occupy Wall Streeter
43:00-56:52 A discussion of Writing, Fear, Grief, and Drugs
57:00-1:00 final thoughts
1:00-1:06 After the show, for the benefit(?) of Facebook viewers only, we discuss the Tea Party movement.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE        Contact: Maryglenn McCombs        (615) 297-9875


An intensely personal novel prompted by son’s fatal heroin overdose, Bullet in the Chamber recognized among winners in three prestigious awards competitions

BALTIMORE, Maryland - John DeDakis has earned three national book awards for his latest mystery-thriller novel, Bullet in the Chamber. DeDakis, a former editor for CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer,” was prompted to pen Bullet in the Chamber following his 22-year-old son Stephen’s fatal heroin overdose in 2011.

Published by Strategic Media Books, Bullet in the Chamber won three national awards:

  • First Place - Reader Views Reviewers Choice Award for 2016/2017 (Mystery/Thriller category)
  • Silver Medal - Foreword INDIES Book Award (Thriller/Suspense category). Bullet in the Chamber was a finalist in the competition’s Best Mystery category.
  • Bronze Medalist - 2017 Feathered Quill Book Award (Best Mystery/Thriller category)

Prestigious national book awards celebrating excellence in independent publishing, the Reader Views Literary Awards, Feathered Quill Book Awards, and Foreword INDIES Awards receive thousands of entries each year. The Foreword INDIES alone boasted over 2,000 submissions with a panel of over 150 librarians and booksellers acting as judges to pick the winners.

Howard Lovy, Foreword Reviews’ executive editor, commented: “Awarding the INDIES is always the highlight of our year, when we get to honor talented authors and great books that are ordinarily overlooked by mainstream publications.”

Ellen Feld, Editor at Feathered Quill commented: “We were overwhelmed by the sheer volume and exemplary quality of entries for this year’s awards program. With so many worthy books to consider, it was difficult for our judges to pick among the many excellent contenders. Bullet in the Chamber by John DeDakis was certainly a standout. A gripping and engaging story, Bullet in the Chamber teems with authenticity. It is a true honor to recognize John DeDakis among this year’s winners.”

In this extraordinary thriller about drugs, drones and journalism, author John DeDakis draws on his own personal pain to create an unforgettable page-turner that teems with authenticity.

About Bullet in the Chamber: Gutsy White House Correspondent Lark Chadwick is front-row center when the executive mansion is suddenly attacked. The president is missing, the first lady’s life is at risk, and Lark is forced to hit the ground running in her new job as White House correspondent for the Associated Press. Her career may be in high gear, but when the man she loves disappears, Lark’s personal life starts to fall apart in this deadline-a-minute thriller.

What Others Are Saying about Bullet in the Chamber:
Henry Schuster, CBS News “60 Minutes” Producer

“Will keep you turning the pages.”
Susan Page, Washington Bureau Chief, USA TODAY and Past President, White House Correspondents’ Association

Bullet in the Chamber is available wherever fine books are sold in a trade paper (ISBN: 978-1939-5216-3-7, Trade Paper, 351 pages, $18.95), eBook and audio book editions.

About the Author: After a 45-year career in journalism which included 25 years at CNN, DeDakis retired in 2013 to write full time. He also edits people’s book-length manuscripts and leads writing workshops around the country and abroad. DeDakis is currently at work on his fifth novel, tentatively titled Fake (as in “fake news”). DeDakis lives in Baltimore. Visit his website at:

Members of the news media wishing to interview John DeDakis or learn more about Bullet in the Chamber are asked to contact Maryglenn McCombs by phone: (615) 297-9875, or by email:



September 10, 2017
Profile piece on the Hampton Roads Writers Conference where I'll be one of the keynoters:

June 2017
Skype Interview -- Crime Fiction Fix
I'm interviewed by Sarah Williams, Publisher of Crime Fiction Fix, an online U.K. writing magazine

June 2017
The Back Story - Crime Fiction Fix
A piece I wrote showing how the writing of a key scene evolved.


Monday, May 22, 2017
Television Interview
"Live at Four" 4 p.m. Central Time
Madison, Wisconsin

Saturday, May 20, 2017
Television News Story
WXOW - Mackenzie Amundsen
La Crosse, Wisconsin

May 18, 2017
Radio Interview
WIZM (AM 1410, FM 92.3) with Mark Meier
La Crosse, Wisconsin

WINTER 2016-17

Newspaper Feature - Loudoun Now - March 2017 - by Jan Mercker
"Novelist John DeDakis Headlines Leesburg's Writers Project Runway

Book Review - Bullet in the Chamber - Reader Views - Carol Hoyer
"DeDakis provides a gripping, realistic, and can’t-put-down read. I highly recommend this book."

Radio Interview - John Raab - Suspense Radio Inside Edition - January 28, 2017
We cover a lot of ground in this 30-minute interview:
2:45-5:45 -- A discussion of Bullet in the Chamber
6:00-10:00 -- The difficulty of writing about the death of my youngest son Stephen
11:00-13:00 -- The challenge of writing a series in which each book stands alone
14:00-18:00 -- The power of the subconscious when it comes to writing my protagonist Lark Chadwick
19:00-22:00 -- The writing process: planning vs. seat-of-the-pantsing
22:00-29:00 -- The changing face of journalism following the election of Donald Trump as president

Book Talk - Hellenic Writers' Group of Washington, D.C. - Dec. 18, 2016

Book Review - "Bullet in the Chamber" - Readers' Favorite - Lucinda E. Clarke
"Bullet in the Chamber by John DeDakis screams authenticity."

Book Review - "Bullet in the Chamber"
"With "Bullet in the Chamber," author John DeDakis proves to be a gifted and original novelist who is a master of the political thriller. A consistently compelling read from beginning to end, "Bullet in the Chamber" is very highly recommended, especially for community library collections."
~Midwest Book Review

"Bullet in the Chamber" is featured in the Winter issue of Big Blend Magazine.
Also...... click here for the interview with me that goes with it. It's long, so take it with you on your run or walk:

FALL 2016

October 26, 2016 - Keynote Address - "Healing From Grief"
Four Seasons Hotel - Georgetown - Washington, D.C.

I spoke at the fundraising banquet for The Wendt Center for Loss and Healing
Here's the unedited version:

Radio Interview: Tony Kay - Artist First Radio Network

Feature in the Sept/Oct issue of THE BOOK BREEZE…

Interview -- Book Cover Junkie

Interview -- Blogcritics

Interview on the writing life -- Mom Bloggers Club

Interview - The Story Behind Bullet in the Chamber - The Review From Here

Interview with my protagonist, Lark Chadwick -- Beyond the Books

Interview - Blogger News

Bullet in the Chamber - Chapter One excerpt -- Book Marketing Network

Interview -- As the Page Turns

Interview -- Straight from the Author's Mouth

Excerpt - Bullet in the Chamber - My Bookish Pleasures

5-star Book Review - Bullet in the Chamber - Futures (Mostly) Mystery Magazine - Cynthia Lea Clark
"...a high caliber romp....An excellent political thriller. Highly enjoyable!"

Blog Post - "I'm Afraid to Write!" - The Writer's Life

Radio Interviews with Burl Barer - Outlaw Radio
Sept. 11, 2016:
We discuss my time as a White House correspondent and early career in journalism

Oct. 1, 2016:
We discuss the release of Bullet in the Chamber and how I'm able to write as a 20-something young woman.

Book Excerpt - Bullet in the Chamber - Omnimystery News

Vicki Liston reviews Bullet in the Chamber on multiple platforms.
"A kinetic, Russian roulette of a read!"
Amazon -

Barnes and Noble -

Alibris -

GoodReads -

LibraryThing -

Books a Million -

Powells Books -

FetchBook -

Google Books -

Monday, September 26, 2016
1:00 p.m. Eastern
Radio Interview with Cyrus Webb
Program will be live-streamed and archived at

Monday, September 26, 2016
1:00 p.m. Eastern
Radio Interview with Cyrus Webb
Program will be live-streamed and archived at

September 2016
Book Review - Bullet in the Chamber - Mary Ann Smyth -
"...exciting and full of suspense."

Saturday, October 1, 2016
5:00 p.m. Eastern
Radio Interview with Burl Barer on Outlaw Radio

Wednesday, October 5, 2016
8:30 p.m. Eastern
Radio Interview with Nancy J. Reid and Lisa D. Smith on Big Blend Radio

July 2016:
Book review of Troubled Water -- Cynthia Lea Clark, "Futures (mostly) Mystery Magazine"
"Fun, exhilarating read. Enjoyable and well written. Great way to pass the time with a good book. Exciting. On a scale of 1 to 5, I give it a 4.9."
~Dr. Cynthia Lea Clark, Psy.D., Ph.D., MHt., Diplomate Homeland Security

April 13, 2016:
Here’s a link to a short interview I did on WCAX, the CBS television affiliate in Burlington, Vermont about surviving the death of my son Stephen:

May 5, 2016:
Michael Hall, the Chief of Police in Manchester, Vermont, saw the WCAX interview (above) and invited me to come to his community to address the problem of heroin addiction. That led to this interview:

Friday, November 15, 2015
Radio Interview - Svetlana Kim - "To The Stars Through Adversity"
Topics covered: At 3:00 - Finding purpose; at 6:25 - Covering the White House; at 8:25 - Being afraid to write; at 11:41 - Discipline, inspiration, and persistence; at 14:30 - writing a memoir; at 17:13 - Writing as a woman (emotions); at 21:00 - The DeDakis name; at 23:00 My next novel, "Bullet in the Chamber."; at 25:00 - Grief and emotions.

Sunday, May 24, 2015
5 p.m. Eastern Time

Live Radio Interview with Sophia DiGonis (The Gypsy Poet)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014 4:30 p.m. 
Radio Interview - WLVS-FM, Washington, DC ("Radio You Can Watch") - The We B. Swangin Show
*The interview Begins at 13:30

August 20, 2014
Review of Troubled Water -- Vicki Liston -- Amazon
"DeDakis is not only able to write convincingly as a woman, but he writes in such a way that makes the reader completely forget he’s a man."

July 25, 2014
Radio Interview -- Host: Drew Schlosberg of the Union-Tribune in San Diego. The 30-minute interview is in two parts below the paragraph about me. Here's the link:

April 23, 2014
News Item - Class Notes - University of Wisconsin School of Journalism

April 16, 2014
Video of my appearance before the Annapolis, Maryland Writers' Group:
" From Journalist to Novelist (Or How I learned to Start Making it Up)"
Also includes Q&A and the writing workshop "Getting an Agent & Getting Noticed."
Includes a link to the PDF handout I used

April 14, 2014
Review of Troubled Water – Harriet Klausner -- Midwest Book
" Fabulous . . . a terrific mystery."

April 2, 2014
Review of Troubled Water - I Love a Mystery Newsletter - John Broussard
" . . . well-written, nicely-plotted . . ."

March 16, 2014
Troubled Water is the Book of the Week on Angie’s Diary:

March 13, 2014
Radio Interview with Cyrus Webb - Blog Talk Radio

March 9, 2014
Review of Troubled Water on the Mystery Maven Blog by Liz Nichols:
“ . . . an action-packed thriller with very human characters . . . ”

March 8, 2014
Troubled Water Book Launch - The Writer's Bloc by Anastasia Champ

March 6, 2014
Review of Troubled Water – Julia Hopkinson – Readers’ Favorite
“ . . . excellent story . . . ”

March 5, 2014
Review of Troubled Water – Jack Goodstein –
“ . . . a riveting . . . tightly wrought thriller . . . . ”

March 5, 2014
Radio Interview with Lisa Smith – Big Blend Radio
The 30-minute interview starts at 6:00.
Here are the times and the topics:
7:00 – My retirement from CNN
8:51 – A discussion on the state of journalism today
11:30 – My three books
15:40 – Lark’s love interest in Troubled Water and how journalism is depicted
18:00 – Why I write as a woman
19:36 – A discussion about grief following the death of my son Stephen
25:32 – Lark’s mentor and friend Lionel Stone
27:00 – A discussion about eBooks and self-publishing
30:00 – Other projects I’m working on
31:30 – Drinking with Jesus

March 3, 2014
Review of Troubled Water - Valerie Porter -

February 26, 2014
Radio Interview with Dr. Alvin Jones
This fast-paced 12-minute conversation covers a lot of ground. We talk about "Fast Track,"  "Bluff," and "Troubled Water."  We also talk about why I write as a woman and about the quirks  in some of the characters I've created. 

February 18, 2014:
Interview – Omnimystery News

February 17, 2014
Review of Troubled Water – Mary Ann Smyth –
“Wow! Good book.”

February 14, 2014
Review of Troubled Water – Kathleen Hennrikus – New York Journal of Books
“One of the joys of having a journalist write a book is that they really do know how to write.”

February 12, 2014:
The La Crosse Tribune – La Crosse, Wisconsin

February 7, 2014
Blog Interview – Marshal Zeringue – Campaign for the American Reader 

February 4, 2014:
Here's a fun interview I did with Tony Kay on his Authors-First radio show to promote my new novel Troubled Water. We cover some interesting ground including some of the wonderful women in my life. Click here then scroll to the Ds to find my name:
The conversation is a fast-paced 50 minutes, so consider downloading it and listening in your car, or when you're on the treadmill, out for a run (or walk), or doing stuff around the house. Thanks. I hope you enjoy it. ~JD

July 25, 2013
Journalists and InterVarsity Christian Fellowship by Gordon Govier

July 2, 2013
Blog Post – Tammy Kaehler – Poisoned Pen Press
Editing and querying advice, based on a panel discussion I was on at the California Crime Writers’ Conference 

April 13, 2012
Blog Interview – Daisy Hickman – Sunny Room Studio
We discuss grief following the death of my youngest son Stephen

Review/Interview -
“Fast Track is just that: the ultimate ride in Suspense!”

Here’s a link to all the interviews I’ve done (as of Feb. 19, 2014) for various programs on BlogTalk Radio:

March 5, 2012
Blog Interview – Amanda Brice – Ruby Slippered Sisterhood
We discuss how a man can write as a woman.

Radio Interview – Earth Angels Radio -
A fun discussion about how men can have meaningful relationships with women. 

March 22, 2011
Blog Interview – Norm Goldman –

March 21, 2011
Review of Bluff – Norm Goldman –
“I wasn’t disappointed . . . . His scenes are delicately rendered and crystal clear, permitting the reader to easily visualize the details. Moreover, his ability to cleverly and smoothly interweave two plots without losing focus is awesome!” 

July 25, 2010
Guest Blogger – Angie’s Diary
“Confessions of a Cross-gender Writer: 


February 25, 2008
Blog Interview – Marta Stephens – Murder by 4

November 2007
Review of Fast Track –
“ . . . riveting . . . with a superbly-rounded plot . . . . A definite, hard-to-put-down read!”

June 2007
Review of Fast Track - Midwest Book Review
"Superbly written and entertaining from beginning to end . . . highly recommended."

Monday, March 14, 2011
YouTube Interview
The District Dish with Kate Michael, Ebong Eka, and Sonya Gavankar
Click here to watch:

Friday, March 18, 2011
Blog Talk Radio Interview – Red River Radio
Page Turners with Meg Collins, Nancy Duci Denofio, and Antoinette Dickson
Click here to listen:

NOTE: It’s a lengthy interview, so here’s a handy guide:
It begins one hour in at 60:54
At 62:49 we talk about BLUFF
At 70:50 we discuss being a man writing as a woman
At 78:08 we discuss how men can forge meaningful relationships with women
At 90:40 we discuss writing vs. editing
At 105:48 we discuss how listening to women has affected my writing
At 109:12 we discuss writing sequels
At 114:06 we discuss planning and the craft of writing
At 134:33 we discuss journaling and staying organized
At 141:30 we discuss the rewriting process
At 148:13 we discuss the publishing business

Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Blog Talk Radio Interview
Gelatis Scoop with Giovanni Gelati
Click here to listen:

The interview runs about an hour (excellent to download as a podcast while you exercise)  Here are the highlights:
The interview starts at 4:12
At 11:44 we discuss writing romance scenes
At 19:40 we discuss getting story ideas
At 23:18 we discuss the discipline of writing
At 26:00 we discuss editing CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer”
At 31:58 we discuss Social Media
At 39:34 we discuss hiking the Inca Trail as research for BLUFF
At 44:12 we discuss writing as a way to connect with others
At 49:00 we discuss my writing workshops


Monday, March 28, 2011
Radio Interview – Amanda Mangan
Magic 100.5 – Cumberland, Maryland
The interview is in two parts. Scroll to the March 28 program.

Here’s a link to my publisher’s website:
Here you’ll find several early newspaper reviews of FAST TRACK
I especially call your attention to a 2006 radio interview on Wisconsin Public Radio conducted by Jim Packard



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