Chronicling canine a dog-gone hit with ‘The Finn Chronicles’

Finn, a mix of Vizsla, beagle and pit bull has been the subject of two books, “transcribed” by her owner Gwen Romack of Ocean View. Both books in “The Finn Chronicles” series have hit the top of the charts in the Amazon Hot New Releases lists.

OCEAN VIEW — Gwen Romack and her husband Evan never imagined when they decided to foster their dog Finn, their lives would be equivalent to an action movie.

“My husband and I agreed to foster Finn when his rescue organization, Airsong’s Angels, encountered an emergency and needed to place some dogs quickly,” the Ocean View resident said. “His time on the streets of Swansboro, North Carolina left him with some serious behavior issues that led to him getting ousted from various homes.”

The couple took Finn, a mix of Vizsla, beagle and pit bull, only planning to foster him and to rehabilitate his behavior to send him to a great home. But that quickly changed.

“I began posting Finn’s weekly updates in his voice on Facebook as a way to help prospective adopters fall in love with him,” Ms. Romack said. “But it became clear pretty quickly that we would become foster fails and Finn was already home.”

The posts became so popular in the Vizsla online community that Vizsla and beagle lovers around the world look forward to her weekly posts.

Now, Finn and his owners have made a name for themselves with Finn’s telling of stories of his daily life, “transcribed” by Ms. Romack. Their first book, “The Finn Chronicles: Year One: A Dog’s Reports from the Front Lines of Hooman Rescue” was released in July and the second installment of the series titled, “The Finn Chronicles: Year Two” was released in October.

The original book consists of Finn’s first year of weekly reports with pictures and links to videos. The current book is his second year of updates, pictures and videos.

Ms. Romack also includes local references of small businesses in the books as well.

“The reports are based on what’s really going on in Finn’s life that week,” Ms. Romack said. “Where he goes and who he meets. One of his most favorite places on earth, Turtle Beach Café on the Bethany Boardwalk. If he howls loud enough, the owner will come out and magically produce bacon and ear scratches.”

Ms. Romack said the reception from both books has been great.

Gwen Romack of Ocean View has hands full with her dog Finn.

“The first book hit No. 1 and the second book hit No. 2 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases and both hit bestseller lists in their first weeks,” Ms. Romack said. “It’s been amazing.”

She said her favorite part has been personal messages and comments that she has received from readers.

“One woman sent a message to Finn’s Facebook page telling us that her brother was gravely ill and reading ‘The Finn Chronicles’ was giving her important moments of laughter as she sat in her grief,” Ms. Romack said.

“Several moms excitedly posted pictures of their kids reading, explaining they never want to read and ‘The Finn Chronicles’ got them motivated. These weren’t written for kids and I’d never even contemplated that audience. But littles up through teens love them.”

Finn even has a 95-year-old fan named Mrs. Cooper who he hopes to go visit once the pandemic eases.

But Finn’s fans are the reason why Ms. Romack decided to publish the books after she lost her job to the pandemic.

“After years of people encouraging me to publish these as a book, I decided to use this down time to make it happen,” Ms. Romack said. “It’s been a welcome distraction to the slog of job hunting during a global pandemic and it’s kept my neurons firing. There’s a lot more to the science and art of self-publishing than I ever imagined. But it’s been fun to learn and see where this goes.”

Ms. Romack said each book takes about a year to write because they are a collection of episodic reports on his adventures and misadventures from the week.

“We live the book all year and then I compile and edit into book form,” Ms. Romack said.

Ms. Romack said Finn provides plenty of inspiration.

“He is really the author and I’m just his transcriber,” Ms. Romack said. “He is truly a hilarious, moody, intense and vocal dog. He makes his feelings known so clearly through the most facial expressions I’ve ever seen on a dog.

“As we go through the week, I jot down notes of our adventures and his reactions then build them out for the Saturday post to Facebook. Making our little dictator happy is a key focus of our daily life, so we’re always looking for fun things to do and silly things to bring him joy. Much of it just comes naturally.”

Along with being the subject of two books, Finn is also a recurring character in the upcoming book “Murder at Sea Captains Inn” and is on the cover.

She said Finn’s newfound success has gone to his head a little bit.

“Best-selling author Melissa Bourbon contacted me to let me know that she had used Finn as part of her inspiration for a rescue dog character in her new book, “Murder in Devil’s Cove” and asked if he could be on the cover,” Ms. Romack said. “And he is. How wild is that?

“The dog character he helped inspire is a recurring character in the next book, ‘Murder at Sea Captains Inn’ and he’s even more prominent on that book’s cover. It cracks me up to see him on these covers like Fabio or something. But we love it.”

Ms. Romack said she plans to keep the series going as long as possible.

“As long as he’s still a riot, I’ll keep writing and publishing the books,” Ms. Romack said. “The second book came out pretty quickly as compared to traditional schedules for books in a series. I had the content ready from the previous years of posts and people were begging for more. I just had to compile, clean up, edit everything.

“I’m already getting questions about when folks can get Year Three but we’re still living it.”

For more information on Finn and where to by the book, visit thefinnchronicles.com.

Arshon Howard is a freelance writer living in Dover.

Finn shows off one of the books in “The Finn Chronicles” series. The books have appealed to both young and old alike.