Interview with author Anita Allen

WooftasticBooks are pleased to present an interview with Anita Allen author of 5 minutes: An autobiography of a dog named Finley’

What inspired you to write your book? 

 I’ve had in many instances an upside down but interesting life. The picture people see of me today consists of hundreds of different colour threads woven into my life tapestry. All my past relationships, good and bad, past encounters, the people who have touched my life, lessons learned, are all woven into an intricate unique design. Like a fingerprint. I used to think if only I could go back in time knowing what I do today. Just think of all the pain I could avoid. However, as I have got older, fatter and more wrinkled, I have come to realise how all those drama’s have made me who I am today. Truth be told, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Twenty years ago at the age of thirty two I moved to the UK. It was an enormous move to make and a challenge to say the least. I had been to the UK a couple of times on business and holiday. However, moving here was done wearing a blind fold. It was difficult to settle into this calm and peaceful way of life after having come from living with a daily threat to your life. Being naïve and more than a little immature, I got involved in what can only be described as a tumultuous relationship with entirely the wrong man. This on and off relationship stretched out for fourteen years.

I walked into that relationship a confident young woman and came out the other side an emotional wreck. Although many friends and family tried to talk sense into me, it amounted to nothing. My life finally changed when I rescued an Aussie Shepherd puppy who I named Finley. Caring for that sick, fragile and scared puppy brought me to my senses. I never realised what an incredible bond you can build with a dog. Finley, saved my soul. I owe him a deep debt of gratitude.

Today, I am married to the most wonderful man and together we have rescued an additional three dogs. How my life has changed. Had a gene popped out the bottle a few years ago and given me the choice to go back in time, I would have missed meeting my husband and living the happy, content life that I do. Today I know that each step I have taken, all those obstacles and painful experiences, were all leading me to a much higher place.  

Give us a brief description of your book/novel ‘5 Minutes – Autobiography Of A Dog Named Finley’.

This is a story written in the first person as an animal autobiography. The story is told by a dog named Finley. He begins life in a Shelter in Romania where he witnesses the most awful cruelty, degradation and depravity. The litter’s only comfort is their Mother, Bikkie, a stolen Australian Shepherd. At two months old and ready for sale he is trucked with the other puppies to the United Kingdom. His fortune changes when Danny arrives to collect a Border Collie puppy and instead see’s two Aussie Shepherd puppies dying from malnutrition and dehydration. She decides to give Finley a home.

The book describes him being the silent listener to every conversation. Together, he and Danny go through many trials, tribulations and hardships. They extricate themselves from an emotionally abusive relationship. Not long after, they find themselves on a plane to Africa. It’s in Africa that Finley’s faith in Danny and Anubis the dog God, is tested. He suffers a cruel beating at the hands of Danny’s Father that scars him deeply. He shares the bed with Danny and a loaded gun for safety. He risks drowning to show Danny their home is being broken into daily. Danny and Finley share a bond, a deep understanding, a connection that transcends language and species barriers.

What was the biggest challenge you had writing your book? 

No knowing how honest to be. I knew there would be bits in the book that some people may struggle with. But in the end, I had to be true to both Finley and I. It was his autobiography and therefore it had to be honest.  

What’s next for you, writing-wise?

We have been asked many, many times for a sequel. so that is what Finley and I are currently working on.

Where can readers go to find out more information about you and your book?

Finley’s book is on Amazon both in Kindle and Paperback as well as on Goodreads. 

Tell us about Finley and something unique or amusing about him.

He really does listen to most conversations. Finley will sit there cocking his head from one side to the next, taking it all in. He is the best judge of character I know. He is loyal down to his cellular level. Finley would quite literally put his life in danger to save mine and has done on a few occasions. I’m convinced he understands every word that comes out of my mouth. He also knows instinctively when I am coming home. I can be an hour away from home, and he will move from wherever he is, to the front door where he will sit and wait for the sound of my car. If for some reason, I am delayed, my husband says he will move from the front door and play in the garden, and then suddenly just stop. Turns around and heads back for the front door. Finley is very special. He wears his heart on his face. I always tell Finley when I go out, that I will be 5 Minutes and he knows that means I am returning. On one business trip I went on, I had a phone call from my Mother telling me ‘Anita you must have forgotten to tell Finley 5 Minutes, he hasn’t eaten in two days!’ I told my Mom to put me on loudspeaker. I chatted to Fin and finished by telling him I would be 5 Minutes. After that call, he ran to his food bowl and made up for lost meals! He has the most wonderful smile and is such a good boy.      

Purchase ‘A Dog Named Finley‘ on Amazon