Moon Over Manifest began as a story the author clearly needed to hear. Her inspiration was a line in Moby Dick that also influences Abilene: "It is not down in any map; true places never are."
On her website Vanderpool explains, "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?"
She based Manifest on the town of Frontenac, Kansas, where her mother's parents, Noah and Mary (Hughes) Rousseau, and her grandfather's cousins, Velma and Ivan DeVore, grew up. All four are minor characters in the story.
She wrote the story over five or six years while raising her four ...