My First Book...
        "The best book I've read in ages.  I'll long remember Abilene and the people she loved...  An amazing book!  I laughed and cried and ached for Abilene."             
                 Patricia Reilly Giff
                 (Two Time Newbery Honor Winner)
     
The Idea for Moon Over Manifest

     
There is never a shortage of good ideas.  You just never know where they're going to pop up.  The idea for Moon Over Manifest started with a book I came across that had a really great title and a very cool cover.  These are both important things in a book. 
       It's called The Island of Lost Maps.  Well, who wouldn't want to read a book like that?  At first glance, I thought it was a novel but it turned out to be a non-fiction book on cartographic crime.     
     For us laymen, that means it's about those no-good, low-down, thievin' map stealers... both of them!  Oh, there are probably more than that, but it is a very specialized type of crime.  Ordinarily that would not have been something I would read, but as I said, the title and cover had won me over.  And for me, there is something so evocative about maps.  In fact, it was the quote on the first page that really grabbed my attention.  It was from Moby Dick written by Herman Melville.  "It is not down in any map; true places never are."
     True Places.  That really sparked my imagination.  What is a true place?  It conjured up ideas of home.  Having lived most of my life in the same neighborhood, place is very important and for me true places are rooted in the familiar – the neighborhood pool, the sledding hill, the shortcuts, all the places where memories abound. 
     But I wondered, what would a ‘true place’ be for someone who has never lived anywhere for more than a few weeks or months at a time?  Someone like a young girl on the road during the Depression.  Someone like Abilene.
     Abilene has drifted with her dad from one place to the next.  What would be her idea of a true place?  What would be her definition of home?  Then to complicate matters, what if she gets sent to a dried up town for the summer and the one constant in her life, her dad, doesn't come with her.  In fact, her father is the one who sends her away.
     And then she finds, among other things... a map.
     And there you have the beginning of Moon Over Manifest.

 
To hear more about the making of Moon Over Manifest:
http://www.teachingbooks.net/book_reading.cgi?id=4890&a=1