Today is author Kate DiCamillo's birthday (Happy Birthday!). Although her more recent books - The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, The Tale of Despereaux, the Mercy Watson series, and the forthcoming The Magician's Elephant - don't offer much proof of it, she is a Florida writer.
Born in the north, Kate experienced poor health as a child. Her doctor recommended the time-honored cure of moving to Florida, and she came to Clermont with her mother and brother. Her first novel, Because of Winn-Dixie, is set in North Florida, although I've pondered whether the setting is integral to the plot. I think the story could be set elsewhere in the South just as easily. On her website, however, DiCamillo writes that the story arose at least in part from her homesickness for Florida during a cold Minnesota winter. Nor is her second book, The Tiger Rising, particularly dependent on its Florida setting for meaning. It does, however, incorporate the timeless Florida theme of new beginnings and second chances.