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Hop Vroom Skitter - An Interview and Giveaway with Debi Novotny

Welcome to The Storyteller’s Scroll, Debi.

Can you tell us your latest news?

2022 was a very busy year for me. In December of 2021, I attended the Andrea Brown Big Sur writing workshop and brought with me five of my best manuscripts. During the workshops, I came to know two different critique groups where my stories came to life through the eyes of my critique partners and mentors, Melissa Manlove and Jennifer March Soloway.

Awesome. Big Sur has been on my bucket list and this year I put my name in for the February 2024 Big Sur workshop. Wish me luck getting in. 😊

Another boost of encouragement came from entering the PBParty contest, earning an Honorable mention for The Case of the Missing Title (formerly The Day The Book Lost Its Title) I’m so thrilled that four out of the five manuscripts mentioned above are now under contract.

Hop Vroom Skitter (April 2023)

The Case of the Missing Title (July 2023)

Beaker and Gonk: A Dinosaur Tale (February 2024)

Addy’s Chair (Summer 2024).

Woo-hoo! Excellent! Congratulations

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

It’s difficult to choose just one mentor writer, but I will mention that Joy Cowley is the beacon of my hope and admiration. The reading curriculum that I used while teaching Kindergarten and 1st grade was primarily written by Joy Cowley.

I know her books by heart, and saw children learn to love reading by following along with her funny, whimsical stories. A once-in-a-lifetime teacher exchange trip to New Zealand gave me the rare opportunity to meet and have lunch with this acclaimed author, and my admiration grew even stronger.

That is outstanding! I know many children’s authors, and I know authors who live or or lived in New Zealand, but I don’t know any who got to go to meet their idol for bookwriting! Another wonderful fact about you. 😊

The lovely Joy Cowley was so humble and down-to- earth. She brought with her a stack of books, all signed for me. I was floating on air after meeting her, vowing to be a children’s book author myself someday.

Talk about mentor! That is truly a wonderful experience.

What was the best thing about getting this book published?

After months of hard work revising, editing, workshops, rejections . . . there are so many things I love about having Hop Vroom Skitter traditionally published. –Sharing this sweet story with children, working with the wonderful team at Lawley Publishing, collaborating with the outstanding illustrator Jess Rose, and being inspired by my own pet tortoise.

The feeling I will never forget, though, is the pride I felt when dedicating this book to my first grandchild. “I love you to the moon and back.” It feels like I’ve left a piece of myself to Sophia that she will always remember about her Nona.

Aww- how sweet! That truly is a moment to cherish. It’s always emotional, when you finally get to write the dedication. I know I’ll never forget my first dedication to my mother, shortly after she passed, but she did get to read my book before it went out into the world.

What is HOP, VROOM, SKITTER about?

Hop Vroom Skitter tells a story within a story. By exploring the strengths of lovable desert animals, we also recognize that we each have our own individual strengths. Each of our own abilities can lead to great success, and when offered to others, makes the world a better place.

Great concept!

Bit of wisdom to share:

Writing classes.

Art classes.

Binders full of notes.

And spreadsheets tracking queries.

All are important, but surrounding myself with other writers and illustrators is what pushes me to keep going and work harder. My critique group is stellar, they’re some of my closest friends now. I invest in myself as much as possible, knowing there won’t be an immediate monetary return on my money.

I’ve learned to be patient — it will happen for you, too!

Patience is the key in this business…and persistence!

And for fun, something that not a lot of people know about you.

March 12th was my 21st anniversary of being a bone cancer survivor. I have a butterfly tattoo to remind me that I’m free, and that beautiful things can happen after so much pain.

How inspiring. Thank you for sharing your journey and your successes with us.

Debbie is offering a signed hardcover copy of HOP, VROOM, SKITTER to one lucky commenter below. (United States only)

Please subscribe to The Storyteller’s Blog at and comment to be eligible for this lovely picture book.

Twitter @NovotnyDebi


Barnes & Noble: 1142589992?ean=9781958302279


Add it to your want to read list — GoodReads: show/81398468-hop-vroom-skitter? from_search=true&from_srp=true&qid=6RlQc7nNyB&rank=1



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