David Wroblewski spent part of his childhood in northern Wisconsin, living and working at a breeding kennel run by his parents.
He says he grew to appreciate the special kind of communication that can develop between dogs and their humans.
So when he turned to writing fiction after 30 years as a software designer, it's not surprising that his first novel tells about a boy growing up at a kennel.
"I often describe this book as a boy and his dog story for grownups," he said. "But it's the 'for grownups' part that makes it interesting to me."
Wroblewski's book, "The Story of Edgar Sawtelle," has been drawing rave reviews. While it grew out of his desire to write about dogs, an important part of the story is that the title character, Edgar, cannot speak.
Wroblewski talked with MPR's Euan Kerr about how this important part of the story grew out of a minor medical problem he suffered.