Wild Rover

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Wild Rover

I never had any intention of writing a memoir. To be honest the idea seemed a little self centered. However, it occurred to me in hindsight, after finishing The Christening, that the entire process of becoming a writer had turned out to be a bloody huge adventure!  If I got it wrong, then Wild Rover might end up being another one of those "all about ME stories. But if I go it right, then the reader would be inspired to dare their genius and follow their own dream. In making this decision, I had come to realize that Wild Rover wasn’t just about connecting with my readers. More importantly I felt, it was about connecting with my children, who would soon enough be off on their own adventures. I had to tell them the truth ... about what had happened and what might come after, especially when the pirates strike. But more importantly, why they should never give up on following their dreams. Dedicated to my good friend Lewis who inspired this adventure, "Wild Rover" is the story behind the story of writing ‘The Christening.’ 

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I read Wild Rover on Christmas day and boxing day. It was so addictive!!! I have spent the rest of the time thinking about it!! It completely drew me in. But the thoughts and feelings it brought up still remain with me. I loved it I cried, a lot actually. I was utterly amazed by this story!!! Far out!!! I spent most of the time devouring the words in wonder that all this actually happened!!! EPIC!!!!!! Not only to have lived it but to be able to share it so beautifully as this incredible book! Gary’s writing style is easy to read, humorous, intelligent, poetic yet also chatty, like you’re in the room talking it out. I liked that. His story got me thinking really deeply about my own life. These things I pondered and made great conversation between my husband and I as I read. I loved how Gary’s own story and insights allowed this to bring up a whole bunch of good stuff to ponder- specifically “daring our genius.” Living and dreaming to whole new depths of possibility. The idea also that it is stories that save us. Wild Rover is profoundly encouraging and daunting all at the same time! It is full of truths - told with the credibility of someone who has lived them. This makes them incredibly powerful and healing. I loved that I had read The Christening beforehand and had a sense of the two stories playing out simultaneously, which I guess they were. I loved reading about the history and story beyond the Christening and I am going to really enjoy reading it again. Molly’s birth ... I lost it completely. Snot and all. I love the story of her first steps and her part in the story is such a beautifully grounding one. I love that I can imagine her as a little girl. This is indeed a book that commands attention, it makes you look into your life in a different light, from new angles to find the courage to swim out from the shallow end.
— Rachel Callander (Award winning photographer)
Wildrover is an account of a life where dogged determination and perseverance ultimately pays off. A compelling read with twists and turns and a sense of what else could possibly go wrong! Set in the most exotic of locations, a story of seemingly futile affection, unscrupulous friends and dishonorable dealings and at the same time discovery of lifelong connections and a restored belief in the kindness and generosity of strangers. The moral of this story is “that good things don’t come easy” but ultimately the message for me is that “success can be defined in many different ways”.
— Lorraine Bretnall (Legal secretary)
At half past midnight on 12th January I was up in a cold sweat working through in my mind how I would honour my own integrity and values and confront Gary Dennis with the fact that I could no longer be his patient, or indeed entertain any notion of friendship with a man who could do awful things to another. As ever, when faced with a “difficult conversation” I imagined myself saying what I needed to say. It was scary, heart racing stuff. Would I somehow become a victim in the next chapter of this extraordinary story? I was angry and a little scared. Next morning, just to be sure, I read a few more pages and found out that I had been “caught” by a great story! I’m still smiling about the whole “set up” and how he had “got me!!” He had got me, and not for the first time in the book, only this time it had been visceral. Wild Rover is an unexpectedly good read. I was hooked initially by an intense human connection with a man’s vulnerability and it’s power to create trust when shared, and shortly after by the promise of adventure at sea.
Gary has shared stuff in this book that many of us would not dare to share, perhaps not even with our closest partners. It speaks often unspoken truths about our human nature. For me there was sufficient resonance with my own growing up, developing awareness of and acceptance of my flaws, to have me intrigued from the get go. I am not perfect, but had invested heavily in trying to show the world I was….and it ended in tears. So at one significant level this is a book that speaks about the liberation available when we find an authentic way of living, committed to living our own life not a life scripted by the expectations of others. The liberation is not an easy ride, but a life affirming one and that in large measure is what Wild Rover was for me. It made a real and deep connection.
Several times I wanted to reach out, shake Gary and Darling and say, for God’s sake can’t you see how this is going to play out? STOP! Yet, despite the sequence of numerous harrowing events that unfold apace (and had me asking myself surely there can’t be more) a powerful pattern emerges for me. Trust. There are good people in the world and we can trust that if we commit to being one of them then we will attract the support we need when we need it.
— Alex Smith (Leadership and change management)
Wild Rover is truly ‘up there’ in the list of besties I have ever read. I loved the style and tone - very Irish; full of humour and a little bit dark. I laughed out loud A LOT and had my heart in my mouth a few times. It was bloody hard to put down, especially when it brought me to tears. Molly’s birth, I actually felt like I was there with you – balled my eyes out – beautifully, beautifully written. What an emotional rollercoaster ride. The ending, not at all what I was expecting. I found it very uplifting.
— Libby Gormley (Marketing)
I am a 53 year old property consultant who has read an autobiography every month for the past twelve months. These include, Nelson Mandela, Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Andre Agassi’s. All high profile and accomplished individuals in their respective professions and lives. I enjoyed all of them for many reasons, but I must say that Wild Rover moved me more, gripped me more and inspired me more than any of the others. I couldn’t really give you a definitive reason why, but to say the journey Gary had and portrayed beautifully, was filled with twists and turns, with betrayal and also unfailing loyalty. There were so many “no-way moments”, “oh my God moments” “please tell me that didn’t happen” moments that I found myself talking out loud and much to my partner’s annoyance yelling on more than one occasion. I also found that on the forth morning I awoke at 4am experiencing a burst of energy at the thought of being able to finish it in peace; I duly did. I have never managed to finish an entire book in such a short time.
As it was between Xmas and New Year the timing was perfect as it is the time of the year where I reflect on what I have achieved over the past twelve months and then plan as to how the next year will look. The changes I have made and will make for the next twelve months and beyond have been heavily impacted by Gary’s book. Holiday destinations planned are now left of centre, a three day train trip from Adelaide to Darwin across remote and desolate deserts. Priorities that were priorities because I believed they should be, are now well down the list and the ones that have climbed that special ladder have warmed my soul, as I now know that is where they should have been all along.
Wild Rover is a story of making big decisions and then riding the waves created by those decisions both good and bad. It is a story that will make you cry, it will make you angry and you will shake your head in disbelief. You will however see amazing strength, you will see love and support. You will not want to put it down but when you eventually do, hopefully like me, you will have been truly inspired, you will have felt honoured to have ridden the journey along with Gary and his family and have come out the other end better for it even if with a few bruises that will take some time to heal. I not only want to read it again but I want to share the journey with everyone who is dear to me.
— Marc King (Property Consultant)
I was hooked from the very first page. I stormed through the first six chapters when I should have been fast asleep. There were several more late nights after that as I sped through the highs and lows as the drama unfolded. I was shocked and relieved and shocked again. For me, Wild Rover was about surviving when you should have been thriving. Surviving thanks to a generous gift from a good friend who hung around to make sure that the gift was put to good effect. And no thanks to someone who wasn’t the friend he was first thought to be. The kindness of strangers amazed me again and again and the warmth of the friendships and partnerships that followed made the pages glow. The stark contrast between the good work that the group of families did for Molly and her friends and the efforts that so many people went to in a bid to undermine this good work was startling.
I give Wild Rover 4 out of 5 stars and would highly recommend it to anyone with a sense of adventure. Gary’s writing style and language flow easily. The plot was just as compelling – rather surprising for real life compared with fiction. It reminds me of Shantaram in tone and that was one of the best books I’ve read in the last few years. To get 5 stars from me, the book would have had to be worthy of a Booker prize nomination, a work of literary genius. As it is, it got 4 stars because it really grabbed me even though I’ve hardly finished a book in the last few years because I don’t have the patience for anything mediocre at the moment. As with all great books, I was disappointed to reach the end and eagerly await a sequel.
— Jo Hacking (Lawyer)
I’m not a big reader, but as my wife said “I knew you were enjoying it because you haven’t been this engrossed in a book since you read Game of Thrones”

I feel very privileged to have read Wild Rover. I think that is because Gary was so straight-up with whatever he and his family was going through and therefore, it was an intimate read.

I enjoyed the up and down rhythm - where as some books build up one or two tensions over the length of the book, Wild Rover was full to the gunnels with conflict, resolution and then more conflict. Identifiable ups and downs of a family life… this one is just more adventurous than most. I really liked the ending - like REALLY liked it. Perfect finish. It’s a cracking yarn of swash-buckling adventure.
— Sam Callander
I read Wild Rover in under a week. Lately, with a job and four young kids, reading anything is a treat and staying awake for more than 2 pages at a time is a miracle! But I couldn’t put this book down. The characters became part of my daily thoughts. I was thinking about what would happen next when I was at work and was nearly divorced for keeping the light on too late at night. The bravery of the massive adventure the family undertakes is inspiring. What a fantastic memory for the children to have remembering their ocean voyage and the apparent creation of terrific bonds between them all. It makes you think, should we break free of the dull, hum drum lives we live, half in fear of change and break out and do something outside our comfort zone? When I had finished the book, I really missed the characters and wondered what had happened since. It was a real page turner. The way the book is written makes you feel as if you know the characters well. The language is relaxed and you are drawn in to the whole story. There are many highs and lows in the story and as a reader, I felt those emotions when they were supposed to be felt. Sometimes, it was hard not to be angry when the characters were being so badly treated but likewise, there were lots of feel-good moments too where one could only feel delighted or even sometimes relieved when things were going well. To some, the story may seem far fetched, especially life in the Middle East, but having lived there for 2 years, I am certain every word, and more, is true. The frustrations and ineptitudes described in the book and the powerlessness of westerners there struck a chord and resurrected my old feelings of stress and anger.

I look forward to more writing from Gary and his Muse!
— Rianna (Dentist)
Wild Rover is excellent. It’s a real page turner and it keeps the interest from start to finish. The story itself holds up. If it was a movie, it would be an action flick. There’s a lot of interesting things, a lot of twists and turns, loads of detail and loads of anecdotes and genuine highs and lows. The story oscillates between triumph and disaster and back again and again. The reader is constantly feeling squeezed or liberated. There were parts of it where I was genuinely uncomfortable with what Gary was saying. There were parts where I was flying along thinking he was a genius. There were parts where I didn’t know what to think. Usually your feelings toward the narrator don’t change. You like or dislike him at the start and that dynamic stays in place all the way along. That wasn’t the case here and I think that is a very unusual and positive aspect of the story. I was engaged and entertained throughout. I read a book years ago called Shantaram which was a similarly frentic, anything could happen next type of adventure. What is the comparison? Well interesting life stories are interesting to everyone. I think they have a much broader appeal because they have credibility and they’re genuine. I think the book is excellent. I’ve read plenty of books that are not as good as Wild Rover. The graft and craft is evident and abundant. I can’t see many people who wouldn’t find this story interesting and want to know more.
— Colin Sheeran (Chartered Accountant)
This is an understatement - Wild Rover grabbed me by the heart and squeezed so that the love flowed. I am a better person for having read it. Top ten books I have ever read. Love Gary’s work and am a believer (to music).
— Roy Gormley (Business and finance)

The Christening

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The Christening

'The Christening’ is a landscape of the heart. It is a rollicking great read about a girl, a guy, a baby and a Spitfire. It has love and hate, war and peace, betrayal and redemption, the hand of God ... and drinking Guinness. Based in Ireland during the Second World War, it’s a musical with action, drama, romance and magic. Appealing to a wide audience and age group, it’s like watching a Classic Movie that casts it’s spell over the wide panorama of your imagination. In a word ...        “Unputdownable!”  

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The Christening is sponsored by Guinness®  

Praise for 'The Christening'

“I just thought I’d drop you this quick note about ‘The Christening’:
I LOVED it!! It is the most engrossed in a book I have been since I read the first Harry Potter book! I have little time to read, but I made time, and last night I got up at 1am and stayed up to 3.30am to finish the book. I had a few tears at one point. I just had to finish it. Even after finishing, I still lay awake going over it in my head, so sad it came to an end really. Now I have to find another book.....and a comparison will be difficult. I have already passed it onto my good friend to read.
I wish you all the luck with making it into a film - and if so, I want to be at the premiere! With the luck of the Irish it has to be a deal worth doing.”

— Rosemarie Donaldson

“I am a six foot rough sawn farmer who only reads farming and fishing magazines. When this book was forced upon me I didn’t think for a minute that I would read it. A few years ago I was made to wear a tuxedo and dragged kicking and screaming to a Pavarotti concert. It turned out to be the most amazing performance I have ever seen. Your book left me with a similar feeling!
Bring on the movie.”

— Bryden Harricks

“Hi Gary,
I just wanted to drop you a quick line to congratulate you on a fine novel!!!
Not normally my type of book but, I must admit, when I picked it up, I read it from cover to cover in a very short time and have now passed it on (with the proviso it’s returned!) to colleagues! I would also like to wish you well in the efforts you are making to get it made into a film – great potential if you ask me!
All the best.”

— Paul Metcalf, Head of Guide Dog & Rehabilitation Services, Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind

“Hi Gary
For someone who listens to heavy metal and spends all of their reading time with my head stuck in biographies of musicians, ‘The Christening’ is as far as you can get from my usual choice of reading. I started the book with an open mind … and after just two sittings I turned the last page! As an “ex pat” (excuse the pun) living in New Zealand it made me realize how much I miss from home: the pints, the craic, and a sense of romance that can only be found in Ireland. I thoroughly enjoyed my little escape back to the ‘Emerald Isle’ even if it did make me a little homesick!
Well worth a read and already looking forward to the movie.”

— Andy Kilgallon

“Every once in a while you come across a story that renews your faith in the human character and The Christening is just such a story. The book explores the strengths and weaknesses of its characters, in a way that enables the reader to both identify their struggles and celebrate their victories. The story is carefully crafted, taking the reader on an emotional roller coaster ride from the depths of despair to great heights of joy. The Christening is a book that you feel better for reading, it is emotionally restorative, fills the joy tanks and gives you hope in the human condition. The Christening is an excellent read, I thoroughly enjoyed it and most certainly is on my Christmas giving list.

— Christine Smith, Principal

“Hi Gary
Just finished your book....wow...I literally started it yesterday morning and have struggled to get anything else done...I have just finished it !!!! I was captured from the beginning to the end - I laughed and cried, loved it all. Thank you. I can’t wait for the movie !!!! Best I go and try catch up on all my jobs now.”

— Susan de Spa

“You have broken the mould! The drought is over, after about 70 years! 
I raved so much about your book, that my husband Bob finally picked it up. Mum and I have been trying to get him interested in reading for some time. Not since Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, Black Beauty and Spike the Wonder Dog has he finished reading a book. That is, unless you count the amazing thrills and spills, murder, romance, mystery and mayhem of the architects guide to ‘The Building Code of Australia!’ 
We have thoroughly enjoyed it. All my favourite things in a book - smiles, laughs, tears, a bit of suspense, goodies and baddies, and one of my favourites - happily ever after! 
Look forward to the movie.”

— Barbara and Bob

“I absolutely loved it!!! It was great to have a good read filled with a bit of history, romance and God too, very nice for a change! There is a huge shortage of ‘good’ books out there, and I had no problem passing it on to my 3 daughters who loved it too. Your ability to write was refreshing and as my husband’s dad was a air pilot in WW2 it was especially memorable. I look forward to your next book and hope all goes well with your plans for a major Motion Picture. ”

— Lynda Brittain

“Hi Gary,
Wow what a fantastic read the Christening is, I found it to be one of those books you just have to keep reading to find out what happens next, with great colorful characters and something to keep all who read it engaged with the story.
I hope there’s a part two?”

— Mark Buchanan

“Hi Gary,
I bought your book last week and could not put it down. I past it onto my 88 year Mum on Saturday and she had finished it when I went to see her this morning (Monday). Beautifully written and would make a great movie. Good luck. Can’t wait for your next book!!”

— Shelley Good

“Hello Gary,
Here are my thoughts on your book.
Capturing beauty and magic by using the gift of the imagination is an art.
You have accomplished both in this book. It’s very hard to put down. Well done!
Can’t wait to see the movie.”

— Pauline

“I usually read at night to put myself to sleep, but with The Christening I was awake into the small hours of the morning! The lilt of the Irish language had me transported back to Dublin. Keep writing Gary.”

— Jean Prior (Award winning Author of “The Waka”)

““A book for those who love adventure, romance, song and some good old family feuds along the way – Great Stuff!“”

— Halina Szymanik, Teacher

“I have just finished reading The Christening and the warmth of this beautiful story has left me with a sense of peace and wellbeing. The gentle pace and simplicity of this book is the perfect panacea for our modern lives. I feel that the author has tapped into something magical in his style of writing. 
May the rain fall softly on your fields!”

— Michelle Carson

“Well, I don’t know where to begin, from the moment I picked up The Christening I was hooked. I only started the book a day ago and had to stay up all night so that I could finish it before heading off to work. I had just finished a relationship and was starting to feel sorry for myself. It was such a wonderful read and made my heart skip a beat with delight. Thank you for my journey with the characters and being there right with them along the way. My smile has not left my face and my heart is filled again with the faith that love is out there, even when it seems to disappear from time to time. I’m sure The Christening will touch the heart of every romantic. I wish you so much happiness and success in turning it into a movie.”

— Kim Walker Fund Raising Consultant

“Dear Gary
I gave myself permission to blob yesterday and finished The Christening. You have a wonderful talent – you had me totally absorbed in the lives of Kate and Brendan. You made me laugh, you made me cry. I’m an eternal optimist and in spite of the turmoil and drama ... you gave me a happy ending.
My favourite!”

— Bernadette Griffiths

“Dear Gary,
I first read your book, The Christening, last summer while on holiday in Taupo. In less than 20 pages I was hooked and I did little else while on holiday. It had been my intention to write to you then, but I just never got around to it. So, last month, when on a mini-break, I took the book and read it again! It is the first time I have ever read a book twice. And once again I found it to be a page turner. To be honest I am much more of a movie goer than a book reader. Now, having read The Christening, I can clearly see it as a film and already have wondered who I would cast in the various roles. 
What I liked about the story and the writing was that it was so relaxed. The characters and the scenes were well developed but not tediously so. As I have been to Ireland many times, I could easily see the hillsides, the villages, the people, and hear the accents. It would have been so easy to overdo the accents as well. But instead of using clever spelling of the words you infused some of the local vernacular which made it much more readable. 
Along the way, as I followed you through the story of the lives of these amazing characters, I found myself laughing out loud and shedding several tears with the characters as I lived through their joys and tragedies with them. Always a good sign in a book or a movie!
So, I wish you all the best with getting the motion picture off the ground. Thanks so much for the talent, love and passion that you gave to the universe through this book.
Cheers,”

— Cherye

“Brilliant!! What more can I say.
It is not the type of book that I would normally read but I could hardly put it down. Congratulations and thank you for a fantastic story. If you send me bank details or provide a mailing address, I am happy to make a donation towards your chosen charity.”

— Regards – Mike

“Hi Gary,
Just letting you know your book was addictive!! I had a few late starts to my day due to reading the book first thing in the morning when I woke, and I kept looking at the time.....then going ‘one more page’.......and one more.....and one more! It’s an amazing story and I can see it would also be an amazing movie. I wish you the best towards your goal & I have starting telling others about your book (I shall send them the link to trysofta).
Thanks so much for the opportunity of such a good read! (For the last 15 years I have only read personal development, health or business focussed reading - this was the first ‘story’ I have read in all that time & it was worth my time!)
Warm wishes,”

— Jacqueline Marshall

“Dear Gary
I have to say – I wasn’t expecting a Block Buster ... but you have written an amazing story. Believable and sound, you kept me hanging on to the very, very end. You are a talented guy!”

— Barry Kirk

“Hello Gary,
I purchased a copy of “The Christening” at the Stella Maris gala day simply because it had a spitfire on the front cover. You see I love war time stories associated with the RAF. Some weeks later I had a brief look at the book and decided to read it. Well, I certainly started and simply could not put it down even though I felt at first that it was not the sort of thing that I was expecting. Wonderful story, loved it very much, bring on the movie.
Congratulations.”

— Michael Helean

“Hi Gary
A fantastic book, couldn’t put it down and kept me in suspense until the end to see what happens. I read in 2 weeks which is a fast read for a busy person like me. It was a great read and look forward to your next one. The Christening has been passed on already for others to read and I have passed on your web site for friends to purchase. Well done and thanks for all you do for others with your book and helping them to fund raise for their cause.
Cheers”

— Annette Annette's Hair Studio

“Hi Gary
Wow, what a lovely story! I couldn’t put it down. You’ve got a wonderful way with words and a real gift as a story teller. The whole thing flowed. It’s hard to believe that this is your first novel. Hold that vision of seeing the story on the screen – I can see it there too.
Good on you!
With Kind Regards,”

— Robyn Pearce

“Hi Gary
Congratulations on a fabulous achievement. I was so taken with this story and the characters that you feel you are right there with them. The romance, excitement and unfolding of a wonderful life time adventure was compelling. I have two copies, one of which is circulating at work. The movie will be grand! Thank you for inspiring others and giving a very special gift to all.”

— Lisa Van Velthoven

“Hello Gary
I just wanted to congratulate you on an excellent book. I am predominately a business man, not much into reading novels. Although I have recently started reading a number of novels by Nicholas Sparks, who is the only author along with J K Rowling, to have their books on the New York best selling list in both soft and hard cover for 12 months. The Christening is up there with the best of them. I do hope that you are successful with your endeavours. My best wishes for your success and wonderful idea to help others
Warmest regards”

— Brian Martin Chairman IAS Learning Group Ltd

“Hi Gary,
Just wanted to say that I read your book just before Christmas and found it a really enjoyable read! Once into the second chapter it was a hard book to put down, and I found myself going back to it continually to read ‘just one more chapter before my next task for the day!’ Great work for your first book and I’m waiting for the sequel!
Cheers,”

— Penny Hansen Senior Test Analyst ASB Technology

“Hello Gary,
Here are my thoughts on your book.
Capturing beauty and magic by using the gift of the imagination is an art.
You have accomplished both in this book. It’s very hard to put down. Well done!
Can’t wait to see the movie.
Cheers ”

— Pauline

“Dear Gary
I feel very lucky that I purchased The Christening last week.
What an extraordinary book you have written... It is an absolute credit to you. To use an old cliche “I couldn’t put it down”. I know that you will succeed in everything that you are aiming for.
All the very best for the future
Kind Regards”

— Jennifer Robinson

“Gary!
Just finished your book this afternoon while waiting for my son to finish training. I’m sad it has come to an end. I have been totally swept up in Kate and Brendan’s story, you have depicted the era beautifully, the romance was wonderful, very talented writing! I look forward to seeing the characters on the big screen and trust they will meet my expectations!
Your amazing!!!”

— Dr Victoria Te Rito

“Hi Gary
Hope this email gets to you. I very much enjoyed your book, thought it was a great easy-reading book. An intelligently written romantic story teeming with good old fashioned, honest colourful characters. Certainly a book which is hard to put down once started....
All the best”

— Robyn Ryder