John Sandford is the nom de plume of John Roswell Camp. Sandford was his paternal grandmother's maiden name.
Camp was born in Cedar Rapids, IA on February 23, 1944. He attended college at the University of Iowa at Iowa City, graduating with a degree in American History. Around this time he met Susan Lee Jones, who he later married.
He entered the army after college, serving in Korea in the 60s. His decision to enter the army voluntarily was largely so he'd have some control over what he was doing, rather than being sent into infantry. He chose to pursue journalism in the army not because he had any particular interest in it, but because he disliked it least of his options. He wrote for a military newspaper in Korea.
After returning from Korea, he got his master's degree in journalism, and settled in Perryville, MO with his wife. They had their first child, Roswell, here, then moved to Hill, IA and then Miami, FL in 1970, where their second child, Emily, was born.
Camp wrote for the Miami Herald until 1978, along with Carl Hiaasen and Edna Buchanan. In 1978, he moved to Minnesota, where he worked for the Saint Paul Pioneer Press and Dispatch. He started as a general reporter, rising through the ranks to become the paper's favorite colunmist and a writer of features. He was, according to Garrison Keillor, the only good thing about the Pioneer Press.
Over the course of 1985 and 1986, he made numerous trips to visit a "typical" farm family in southwest Minnesota. This was during the height of the "Farm Crisis" which eventually passed with no press fuss. He charted the progress, the ups and downs, the trials and tribulations of this family for an entire year, in four reasonably-large installments and finishing up with a fifth installment that took up an entire special section. The five part series was called "Life on the Land: An American Farm Family", and that was the story that won not only the Pulitzer for Feature Writing, but also the ASNE (American Society of Newspaper Editors) award for Non-Deadline Feature Writing along with a host of other small awards.
A few years after winning the Pulitzer, he sold his first novel, The Fool's Run, followed quickly by Rules of Prey. Camp's novels have proved to be rather popular, typically making the New York Times Bestseller list.
At around the same time, he and Susan were divorced on good terms, and ended up remarrying a few years ago, moving to a different St. Paul suburb.
The Prey Series
Rules of Prey
Eyes of Prey
The Kidd Series
The Fool's Run
The Empress File
The Devil's Code
The Night Crew
More info on www.johnsandford.org.