Thursday, February 8, 2018
Sophie Washington: The Snitch by Tonya Duncan Ellis - Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway
by Tonya Duncan Ellis
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.
I asked Tonya where are five places you might visit for inspiration for your books? Read her answer below:
Sophie Washington: The Snitch and other books in my four (soon to be five) book series deal with middle grade issues like bullying, fitting in, managing social media and video games and puppy love, with a Texas twist. The state of Texas is a minor character in the books, since the distinctiveness of the area is highlighted in each installment. Places I have visited to inspire me when writing include:
1. Galveston, TX (The Texas Gulf Coast) – Sophie and her family head to the Gulf Coast for a fishing trip in Sophie Washington: The Snitch and she’s terrified when live shrimp her father gets for bait hop out on her in the backseat. Visits to the area gave me details to use to describe the ocean breezes, sandy shores and fishing experience.
2. Austin, TX – “Keep Austin Weird” is a slogan used in Austin, TX and Sophie finds plenty of strange things to marvel at in the city when she takes a Texas History field trip to the state capital. Trips of my own to Austin inspired me to write about Sophie’s hilarious boat trip on Lady Bird Lake and the “almost” food-fight between characters Nathan and Toby at Chuy’s restaurant.
3. San Antonio – Cave bats and lazy river swimming during a forced trip to San Antonio are mentioned in my upcoming book Sophie Washington: Hurricane.
4. Houston Livestock and Rodeo -Visits through the years to the kid’s Agventure petting zoo area gave me the idea to include rodeo muttin’ bustin’, an activity where small children hold onto a running sheep as long as they can, to the first book in my series Sophie Washington: Queen of the Bee. The giant slide Sophie gets sick on in the “Spring Spectacular” festival in Sophie Washington: Things You Didn’t Know About Sophie is also modeled after a rodeo ride.
5. Costa Rica – Sights and sounds of howler monkeys, crocodiles and boa constrictors during a family vacation to Costa Rica are calling me to write the sixth book in my series. I can’t wait to see how it turns out!
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.
Tonya Duncan Ellis will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.