I have the pleasure of sharing a guest post by author Tonya Duncan Ellis, who answers my question...
ELF: What scares you the most or makes you the happiest about writing?
TDE: The thought of writing being scary is interesting. I imagine myself running off screaming in fright as a giant pen, notepad or computer come to life and chase me down the road. I quiver behind a giant bush while troops of dictionaries and thesaurus books hunt me down. Expressing myself through words comes natural to me, just like an athlete takes to playing basketball or football, or a musician effortlessly hits the right key. It’s what I do to convey my feelings and share my voice. Writing can be laborious when I struggle to choose a topic or strain to obtain just the right word. But it can also be glorious after the right theme is selected and the letters sing off the page. There’s nothing better than saying what I want to say in a way I want to say it. The goosebumps come when it’s publication time. People who know nothing about me might actually read my work. What if they don’t like it? Amazon and Goodreads review pages sometimes seem like my adversaries. I tensely click on my book page links and spot some new review. Boo! A comment I haven’t seen before is on the page. I take a deep breath and read it. Not too bad. Some things were liked, others not. Maybe I can use these suggestions in my upcoming book. Like a horror flick fan waiting for the next victim, I put fingers to keyboard and begin to write another page, ready to face my demons again.
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.
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.
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