About Tonya Duncan Ellis:
Tonya Duncan Ellis has had her nose in a book since she learned to read, so it’s no surprise that she’d one day become a writer. She is author of the bestselling Sophie Washington children’s book series, a former journalist, and a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), the Authors Guild, and the Brown Bookshelf’s Highlights Foundation-sponsored, Amplify Black Stories storyteller cohort. In 2021, she won the Austin SCBWI Cynthia Leitich Smith Writing Mentor Award. Fluent in French, Tonya loves learning about other cultures and has traveled to 49 states and 20 countries. She lives in Houston, Texas with her husband and three children.
What inspires you to write?
I've loved reading and literature since I was a child. I won my first writing competition in the fifth grade and had an article published in my hometown newspaper at age 14. I feel like writing is my calling.
What authors do you read when you aren’t writing?
My favorite middle grade fiction authors are Jason Reynolds, Lisa Moore Ramee, Kelly Starling Lyons, and old school authors Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume.
Tell us about your writing process.
I do loose outlines for my books, but I'm a seat of the pants writer. I don't always know what the ending of my stories will be when I start them, and I write where the characters lead me.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I don't talk to my characters, but I do consider them my friends and enjoy spending time with them when I'm writing.
What advice would you give other writers?
Read widely and stick to a set daily writing schedule.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I self published my books because I wanted to get them out into the market quickly. Paperback rights to one of my books were purchased by Scholastic in 2021, and I'm pursuing traditional publication for a couple of my new manuscripts.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think that things will become increasingly more digital. I hope that book stores will continue, because I love browsing for new reads.
What genres do you write?: Children's Middle Grade
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit to allow you the reader to hear the author in their own voice.