This story began as a follow-up to Absolutely Normal Chaos. In that book, Mary Lou Finney writes a summer journal, and as I began Walk Two Moons, I was merely speculating about what might happen when she turned in that summer journal to her English teacher. A few drafts later, Phoebe Winterbottom and her wild imagination leaped into the story, and she took over with tales of a disappearing mother and a lunatic. And then, shortly after rediscovering a fortune cookie message in the bottom of my purse (the message was "Don't judge a man until you've walked two moons in his moccasins"), I began a new draft with a new character: Salamanca Tree Hiddle. The fortune cookie message inspired a journey (walking "two moons") and a character who is a very small part Native American (the moccasins).

When I began Sal's story, all I knew was that she was a country girl and she was going on a trip. The rest of her story came out a little bit each day, as I sat down to write. I was too stubborn to throw away the earlier drafts with Mary Lou Finney and Phoebe Winterbottom, so they found their way into this new draft, along with Ben, the lunatic, Mr. Birkway, Margaret Cadaver, and Mrs. Partridge.


Reprinted by permission.