Your portrayal of a child's relationship with a dog is so lovely in Because of Winn-Dixie. Did you have a dog or a pet growing up that inspired the story?
Sarah! I was the luckiest kid in the world in this respect. I grew up with a Standard Poodle named Nanette. She was, in every possible way, the grandest dog imaginable: playful, nurturing. Plus, she had an excellent sense of humor.