Meet the Author

Author ASA DUNNINGTON has lived his own storied life. Born June 7, 1939, in Logan, Iowa, his adventures have taken him from writing for a newspaper to serving in the Air Force to working on a Presidential campaign. A dreamer in his own right, Dunnington believes in achieving great things, whatever your calling may be.

Dunnington met the larger-than-life figure at the center of his book while on vacation with his first wife, who was Emmett Long’s niece. He immediately knew he had found someone special, and he soon agreed to record Emmett’s life story. The resulting narrative history became Selectively Lawless: The True Story of Emmett Long, an American Original.

In addition, he has also written an autobiography, What a Life!: An Autobiography. Dunnington is now married to his second wife, Cheryl, and he has three children and nine grandchildren.


What made you want to share this story with the world?
"I was always sure to read the “My Most Unforgettable Character” segment in Reader’s Digest every month for as long as I can remember. Emmett was mine. He did things in his life that were one of a kind. He was a good judge of character, he had good common sense and he had guts! He robbed a bank on a Saturday night in Texas with the public walking by. He ripped off Caesar’s Palace in 1966 at age 62 for $500,000. I just knew it was a story to share with all."

Did Emmett know you were going to write a book about his life?
"The week I spent with him in Questa, New Mexico, was amazing. It was like it was predestined for us. In that week, he told me his whole life story with the understanding I would write a book about it. He reminded me several times I could only write it after his death because of the five killings. He wouldn’t allow me to record it, and although he didn’t ask me, I took no notes either then or later. I just kept the story in my mind to be resurrected in 2015."

Why do you think Emmett chose you to tell his story?
"Emmett and I had an instant bond. I told him I had heard so much about him I just knew someone had to write his life story. And why not me? I also told him I had a writing background. From age 15, I wrote sports for a daily newspaper in Southern California, The San Gabriel Valley Daily Tribune. I always had a way with words."