by Tonya Duncan Ellis
GENRE: Children's (Middle Grade)
That’s what 10-year-old Sophie Washington thinks until she runs into Lanie Mitchell, a new girl at school. Lanie pushes Sophie and her friends around at their lockers, and even takes their lunch money. If they tell, they are scared the other kids in their class will call them snitches, and won’t be their friends. And when you’re in the fifth grade, nothing seems worse than that.
Excitement at home keeps Sophie’s mind off the trouble with Lanie. She takes a fishing trip to the Gulf of Mexico with her parents and little brother, Cole, and discovers a mysterious creature in the attic above her room. For a while, Sophie is able to keep her parents from knowing what is going on at school. But Lanie’s bullying goes too far, and a classmate gets seriously hurt. Sophie needs to make a decision. Should she stand up to the bully, or become a snitch?
I’ve got a secret. Want to hear it?
Secrets are usually nice. Like when my dad surprised me with a new goldfish last year. Or the time Grandma Washington unexpectedly visited us in Houston from her house in Corpus Christi.
I used to love secrets. But this one’s not so great.
No one knows it, except my best friend Chloe. It’s her secret, too. We don’t talk about it, ‘cause if we do people won’t like us. And in the fifth grade being liked is as important as having a fun birthday party, or staying up as late as possible, or…Christmas.
For now, I’m not telling. Chloe’s not either.
“Hey Sophie, wait up!” Chloe yells as I make my way down the hall to our first period math class. “How was your weekend?”
“The same old, same old,” I reply, hoisting my math book and binder up in my arms. “Cole whined about having nothing to do, so Mom and Dad took us to the zoo and then out for ice cream. On Sunday I caught up on all my homework after church.”
Cole is my seven-year-old brother. My mom thinks he’s an angel, but I think he was sent here to drive me crazy. Just this morning at breakfast, for example, he pulled my ponytail while she wasn’t looking, and then started crying loudly after I whacked him with an empty Cheerios box. Of course, I’m the one who got in trouble. My dad is nicer to Cole than he deserves, but I think he’s figured out his game a little bit better than Mom.
“Nothing much exciting happened at our house, either,” says Chloe, “but I did get this cute new purse.” Chloe is what you’d call a Fashionista. I admire the pretty, powder blue bag and notice the red, glittery, slide-on shoes she wears on her feet. She always manages to make our boring, private school uniforms look stylish.
“That’s nice,” I say.
As we near the classroom I see someone in the shadows and my heart starts to beat fast.
“Just great,” I mutter.
Lanie Mitchell, the class bully, heads our way from the opposite direction.
She sees us, grins, and blocks our path. Most of our classmates are 10, like me, but Lanie is already 12 years old. She’s the second tallest girl in 5B, behind Chloe, and a little bit on the chubby side.
A Word From the Author:
A Word From the Author:
1. Did you always want to be an author? As far back as I can remember I’ve wanted to be an author. I’ve always loved to read and once I began writing my own stories in school that was it. I started out wanting to be a journalist because I saw that as a viable career where I could use my writing. I got some experience with various newspapers and did freelance magazine feature writing. I’ve always had a dream of writing my own novel, though, and I made that dream a reality a few years ago when I published the first book in my children’s series, Sophie Washington: Queen of the Bee.
2. Tell us about the publication of your first book. I decided to self-publish my first book. I did research on various publishing companies online and selected Dog Ear Publishing based on the company’s professionalism and responsiveness. At the time I published my book four years ago I wasn’t able to market it, so I rereleased the book this past September with awesome new illustrations and have been marketing, that book, Sophie Washington: The Snitch, and my entire series heavily.
3. Besides yourself, who is your favorite author in the genre you write in? My all-time favorite kids’ authors are Judy Blume and Beverly Cleary. They wrote realistic children’s stories that are funny, engaging, instructive and timeless.
4. What’s the best part of being an author? The worst? Creating my stories and putting them out for others to read and enjoy is the best part of being an author. Having to take time away from writing to market and sell the books is probably the worst. I love interacting with readers and hearing their feedback and input, but I also spend quite a bit of time learning about the newest book marketing techniques and implementing marketing plans. I have an MBA degree with a focus on marketing so thankfully marketing is a subject I’m interested in, but, ideally, I would use all my time being creative.
5. What are you working on now? The fifth book in my series, Sophie Washington: Hurricane, is scheduled to be released this March. In this book, Sophie, her friends and family are evacuated from their homes when a natural disaster hits the city. She learns lessons about gratefulness and appreciating what she has when a friend is flooded out of her home. I plan to start work on the sixth book in my series in the next few weeks. Sophie will be taking a trip to South America so get ready!
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Tonya Ellis remembers hiding in the restroom from a few bullies during her elementary school days. She encourages kids to speak out if they are being mistreated. She knew she wanted to become a writer after an article she wrote was published in her hometown newspaper. Since then, Tonya has worked as a journalist, written for newspapers and magazines and won awards for her books. When she’s not busy writing, she enjoys reading, biking with her husband and two sons and daughter, and travelling to interesting places. SOPHIE WASHINGTON: The Snitch is the second book in a series about Sophie and her friends.
GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE
Tonya Duncan Ellis will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.