My passion for writing, particularly storytelling and investigative journalism, traces back to my senior year of high school – when I dug into a fascinating story about the Ghost of Joliet Catholic High School for my school newspaper. Despite spending several frightful nights worried that the ghost of the dead priest would visit me, I quickly became enamored with writing about the darker things in life.
For nearly twenty years, I’ve led a semi-nomadic life working in the newspaper industry, focused on investigative journalism. I’ve worked throughout the Midwest in Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Nebraska, and back again to Wisconsin. I currently work as the Gannett Wisconsin Media Investigative Team Editor, based out of The Post-Crescent Media in Appleton, which is a short 30-minute drive south of Green Bay and my favorite football team, the Green Bay Packers.
During my career in journalism, many of my biggest stories centered on shocking and unbelievable true crimes.
In 2006, I happened to be a regional reporter in Nebraska at The Omaha World-Herald when a senseless double murder took place in a rural farmhouse. Six years later, I’d written 147 stories about the shocking case. My knowledge and expertise led to the publication of my first true-crime book, BLOODY LIES: A CSI SCANDAL IN THE HEARTLAND. As I’ve told countless people, BLOODY LIES is more than a true-crime tale. It’s a story about incompetent cops and excellent cops, wrongly accused innocent men and psychotic teenage killers, heroes and villains, as well as ordinary citizens who can make a difference by doing the right thing.
BLOODY LIES continues to receive positive feedback from true-crime readers, authors and professional reviewers:
In BLOODY LIES, John Ferak brings a top-notch investigative journalist credentials and search for the truth together with masterful story-telling for one of the best true crime books of the year. — Steve Jackson, New York Times Bestselling author of BOGEYMAN
The scandal unfolds, and Ferak keeps you hooked the whole way — this is a first class fact-crime page turner. — Burl Barer, Edgar award winner, author of MAN OVERBOARD
John Ferak spares nothing in his description of the events of Easter evening 2006. … Ferak’s detailing of the Stock murders and their aftermath is both captivating and painfully suspenseful. — Prose ‘n Cons Mystery Magazine
It’s my hope to produce several true-crime books over the coming years for WildBlue Press, stories that will have gripping story plots and captivate the interest of true-crime readers from California to Maine.
I’m not ashamed to admit I’m occasionally tipping back a beer or two. My favorites? For blue-collar beers, I prefer cans of Hamms, Blatz and Pabst. When it comes to splurging for a higher-quality microbrew, I prefer the taste of Moon Man, a great American Pale Ale from New Glarus, a Wisconsin brewery.
I’m blessed and fortunate to have a wonderful and supportive wife, Andrea, who also has a background in journalism. Our three children are all in elementary school, making life around the Ferak house always an adventure. Some of our favorite things to do as a family are visit zoos and museums, especially history museums.
I’ve always had a strong interest in American history, thanks in part to having a high school history teacher for a dad. And while on the subject of my dad, it’s our love of Chicago White Sox baseball that keeps us tight. He, my brother, and I made the trek to Glendale, Arizona, in March 2014 to watch our beloved White Sox get their butts pounded by the San Francisco Giants and Chicago Cubs – just like during our last trip to spring training in 2009.
Besides publishing my first book, 2014 marked a number of milestone occasions including the very first time that I had ever caught a big fish. In July, I had the honor of joining my father-in-law for two days of fishing on scenic Lake Michigan. We caught our share of steelhead trout and king salmon. Perhaps if writing true-crime books doesn’t pan out and the newspaper industry goes extinct, I’ll have a future as a Wisconsin fisherman?
When I’m not drinking beer, driving the kids to school in the morning, or editing newspaper stories, chances are I might be taking our beagle, Heidi, on her regular mile-long walk around our neighborhood. Heidi has a nose like no other dog I’ve ever had. (That’s probably because I’ve never had a beagle before.) But usually you’ll find me hunkered down in my basement, working on my many upcoming books and features for WildBlue Press.
To learn more about me, please head on over to my website and blog at www.johnferak.com.