John Sandford was born John Roswell Camp on February 23, 1944 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Before entering the U.S. Army and serving in Korea, he received a bachelors degree in American history from the University of Iowa in 1966. After leaving the service, he received a masters degree in journalism from the University of Iowa. During the 1970s, he worked at The Miami Herald, and the St. Paul Pioneer Press. In 1985, he began researching the lives of a farm family caught in the midst of the crisis of American farming. The article, Life on the Land: An American Farm Family, won the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing and the American Society of Newspaper Editors Award for Non-Deadline Feature Writing. After winning the Pulitzer Prize, he began writing fiction. His works include the Prey series and the Virgil Flowers series. He has also written nonfiction works on plastic surgery and art.