ASSIST Senior Correspondent Jeremy Reynalds reports: Veteran journalist Dan Wooding’s career spanning 46 years has been nothing but unique.
It spans from being a London correspondent for the National Enquirer; senior reporter for two of Britain’s raciest tabloids, the Sunday People and the Sunday Mirror, and now an undercover reporter for persecuted Christians in restricted countries. And now he currently serves as founder and president of the ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net).
Last year Dan Wooding, 73, added another distinguishing role to his resume. He released four books, three of which were originally written in the last century, and have been brought out again in this one by a British publisher. In his latest, he literally ‘became’ Mary, the beloved mother of Jesus, to write this extraordinary novel.
Mary: My Story From Bethlehem to Calvary (Tanswell Books) tells the story of Jesus’ mother through her own eyes and from her point of view, giving insight into her life with her beloved son from birth to death and resurrection. Comprised of 365 verses from scripture and more than 70,000 words, the book is a faithful adaptation of the story of Jesus’ life told from the perspective of Mary.
Roma Downey, the Northern-Ireland born producer and actress in the Son of God movie – in which she played Mary – recently endorsed Mary.
The actress, who starred for many years in the hit TV series, Touched by an Angel, said, ‘This is the perfect book to share with others as a simple way to be remind them that Jesus is truly the Son of God, and why his extraordinary mother was described by God as being “highly favoured” among women.’
Speaking about his inspiration for the novel Dan Wooding said, ‘I had to imagine her situation – that you are a young and impoverished girl living in Nazareth, looking forward to marriage, when suddenly you’re told that you are to become the mother of the greatest person in history, the Messiah, Jesus Christ – and yet you are a virgin? What an extraordinary situation that Mary was placed in, but yet she said “Yes” to God, and changed history forever.’
Passion for the gospel
Dan Wooding, author of 45 titles, said that this book has meant the most to him of any he has ever written. He began work on the novel when a friend, Larry Nelson, suggested that he tell the greatest story ever told through the eyes of Jesus’ mother.
‘I wrote this book because I couldn’t find one that has told the story of Jesus Christ through the eyes of Mary,’ Wooding said. ‘I believe this book will educate readers that God can and will use anyone from any background. The story traces their time in Egypt, the death of Herod, and the ministry of Jesus right up to his terrible death on the cross and then his resurrection.’
Wooding, who now lives in Lake Forest, California, with Norma, his wife of more than 50 years, is passionate about continuing to share the gospel and believes that the perspective of Jesus’ death and resurrection from Mary’s view is a moving and compelling story that may inspire non-believers to learn more about the principles of Jesus.
Mary: My Story From Bethlehem to Calvary is available for sale at amzn.to/1ad3HH1.
But there’s more
As if that wasn’t enough, Dan Wooding has also re-released three more books that he wrote while still living in the UK, two about British rock stars and another tells the story of one of Britain’s most infamous gangsters. All have been slightly updated.
The first, now called Caped Crusader, Rick Wakeman in the 1970s – with a foreword by Sir Elton John – is the authorised biography that he originally penned about keyboard wizard Rick Wakeman.
The second is about British fifties rock and roller, Terry Dene, now called Terry Dene, Britain’s First Rock & Roll Rebel, with a foreword by Marty Wilde.
‘I first wrote them about 40 years ago, while still working in London, and never dreamed they would ever be re-released,’ said Dan. ‘They both came about after I was approached by Rob Ayling, who runs Gonzo Media UK, which up until then, had just featured music mainly from the 1970s, but had decided to move into the publishing field.
After the re-packaged Wakeman book came out (with many unique pictures), Ayling then suggested the re-release of the book about Terry Dene, who was first discovered in 1956 in the Two I’s Coffee Bar in Soho, London. He quickly went to the top as the ‘British Elvis’ but then almost as quickly fell from grace after a short time in the British Army which saw him have a breakdown and was told to leave. He then faced a battle with alcohol.
‘Terry was at an all-time low when he happened to be walking through Trafalgar Square when he came across a group of Christians and, after a time of chatting with them, he committed his life to Christ,’ Dan Wooding explained.
Marty Wilde, another of Dene’s contemporaries, wrote in his foreword for the book: ‘Whatever happened to Terry becomes a great deal more comprehensible as you read of the callous way in which he was treated by people who should have known better – many of whom, frankly, will never know better – of the sad little shadows of the past who eased themselves into Terry’s life, took everything they could get and, when it seemed that all was lost, quietly left him …. Dan Wooding’s book tells it all.’
Now in his seventies, Terry Dene is back singing again and his rich voice, which has been likened to a cross between Elvis and Roy Orbison, and is appearing at various nostalgia concerts mainly in the UK.
The Rick Wakeman book may be obtained at www.amazon.com/CAPED-CRUSADER-Rick-Wakeman-1970s/dp/1908728302 and the Terry Dene book at www.amazon.com/TERRY-DENE-Britains-first-rebel/dp/1908728329 or www.barnesandnoble.com/w/terry-dene-dan-wooding/1113803302
Third book re-release
The third of Dan Wooding’s books to come out last year is called King Squealer which Dan wrote with Maurice O’Mahoney (foreword by Rick Wakeman), which is more of a secular nature.
A criminal by the age of eleven, O’Mahoney had been involved in nearly every type of crime known to man, ranging from truck hi-jacking and bank raids to highly professional burglaries and wage snatches. Then the crunch came when he was arrested and O’Mahoney turned Queen’s Evidence, and informed on more than two hundred crooks involved in crimes totalling over two million UK pounds. He was one of several ‘Supergrasses’ that appeared during that period and Dan even appeared in a BBC documentary about this phenomenon and shared about what it was like working with O’Mahoney, who was constantly changing his disguises, so he wouldn’t be killed by his enemies.
King Squealer is a rare insight into the mind of a dangerous criminal and an account of the momentous events which led him to squeal to the police. O’Mahoney sums up the devastating effect on his own life in the following words: ‘I hope that by my actions I have at least saved some lives. Though whether I’ve saved my own in highly questionable …’
Since the first edition came out in the UK, O’Mahoney has since died. He passed away in 2003, aged 54, from a massive heart attack in a small village in Northumberland. However, Dan managed to track down his son, Maurice O’Mahoney Jr., who provided a fascinating afterthought for the book. To purchase the book, go to www.gonzomultimedia.com/product_details/15629/Dan_Wooding-King_Squealer.html
What’s Dan’s favourite book?
Most people are amazed when they have one book published, but for Dan Wooding, who has penned some 45 books, to have four come out in one year is quite a record. And each one is so different!
‘Without a doubt, the book ‘by’ Mary, was definitely, my favourite,’ he told me. ‘After all, who would turn down the privilege of becoming the mother of the greatest person in history, Jesus Christ? I found writing it to be the most inspiring book I have ever been involved in.’
Jeremy Reynalds – firstname.lastname@example.org – is a senior correspondent, ASSIST News Service, a freelance writer and founder and CEO of Joy Junction, New Mexico’s largest emergency homeless shelter, http://www.joyjunction.org. He has a master’s degree in communication from the University of New Mexico, and a PhD in intercultural education from Biola University in Los Angeles. For details of his own newest book, A Sheltered Life, hit http://www.ashelteredlife.net