Copies of 1 Zany Zoo, Degman's illustrated counting book for children ages 4-8, are being distributed for free in Cheerios boxes as part of the General Mills cereal's "Spoonfuls of Stories" campaign.
Degman had written off and on for years, getting more serious when her younger son went off to college. “She joined the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators and began attending conferences and critique groups. "I honestly never really thought I was going to get a bite [from a publisher]," she said.”
Interestingly, she also says, "The funny thing is, the week before I won the contest, I had sent the story in to the SCBWI for a critique. The person who looked at it didn't like it at all. If nothing else, that shows you how subjective this whole business is."
Read her whole story here.