Monday, August 28, 2017


Hi, everyone!  So it's almost the end of August, which means that it's almost back-to-school time!  I wanted to do a fun giveaway of one of my MG nonfiction books: I AM A SECRET SERVICE AGENT: MY LIFE SPENT PROTECTING THE PRESIDENT by Dan Emmett and Charles Maynard, in case any of you have kids who are dreaming of being in the CIA someday😀

I'll be giving away two copies--to enter, email me at carrie(at)prospectagency(dot)com with the subject SECRET SERVICE GIVEAWAY and your mailing address in the body of the email (US residents only, please!).  I'll pick two winners randomly!

This book came out this past June and so here to do a belated interview about it is one of the authors, Charles Maynard!

Tell us about the project!

Working on I Am a Secret Service Agent – My Life Spent Protecting the President was a blast! I got to know a real behind- the-scenes hero in Dan Emmett. I enjoyed the conversations and email with Dan. Dan’s experiences in the Marines, the Secret Service, and the CIA gave me a renewed respect for all who serve our country.

You adapted this story from Dan's adult memoir, WITHIN ARM'S REACH.  Can you tell us what it was like to adapt an adult book for an MG audience and what you had to do?

Within Arm’s Length is a good book that I enjoyed. I just loved the title because it is so descriptive of Dan’s life and work, but it was not what the editor chose for the MG book. Obviously, an MG book is shorter than an adult memoir, so there was a winnowing/editing process. It was fun to find the story that would captivate a MG reader while retaining Dan’s original thoughts and experiences.
Also, there were certain points where Dan used references that an adult would know but a Middle Grade reader would not – “June Cleaver” and “Opie Taylor” and others. Nothing major, but some historical references that sometimes needed explanation and other times needed to be cut.
Some of the fun was to put Dan’s work into the grade level of the audience. I actually enjoyed this part. It was a challenge at the end of a chapter to see if it was still on grade level. Dan checked each chapter as we went along to make sure I had not missed anything crucial and that it was all correct.

What was one of your favorite things that you learned from talking with Dan or reading his memoir?

My favorite thing was simply getting to know Dan better. He is an interesting person with many rich (and a little wild) experiences. There were moments when he remembered some details he had not included in Within Arm’s Length, so we got to have a little new material. I was amazed at all that Secret Service agents do. I was surprised to learn that most of the early career of an agent is pretty mundane work. Also, I did homework on the history of the agency itself to put Dan’s service in a wider context of the Secret Service.

I know you love learning about American Presidents and US History--what was it like examining their lives from a different angle?

I knew the public history of the presidents Dan worked with, but his perspective gave me new insights into the person, not just the official persona. Dan’s experiences humanized these presidents. His is not a tell-all approach. Dan is respectful of the office and the person occupying that office, but he still worked with a person. I liked looking behind the curtain to see the inner workings of the daily life of the president. It is amazing that the president is surrounded by Secret Service at all times. So many people work behind the scenes to make everything happen.

What do you think kids will enjoy about this book?

My eleven-year-old granddaughter wrote the best review so far. She sent me a text the night after I had given her a copy. The text came after her usual bedtime. “I love your new book! I can’t put it down!” Dan’s story moves along from his own childhood to his years as a Secret Service agent. I believe that one thing kids will like is reading about a kid who grew up to become a Secret Service agent – his childhood dream from the time he was in the third grade.

Anything else you want readers to know?

I have found some reviewers who did not seem to understand that this was a book for MG readers. That tells me the life of a Secret Service agent is fascinating to all ages. Dan Emmett is a truly interesting person whose life exemplifies following a dream at all costs. He trained hard and sacrificed much to be a part of the elite team that surrounds the President of the United States. I hope all readers catch some of my own excitement for this wonderful autobiography.