Friday, January 28, 2011

Homework Helpers: Essays and Term Papers - Interview with Michelle Mclean

I met Michelle Mclean several years ago through the online writers' resource, QueryTracker. We chatted on the forum and got to know and support each other as we started our writing careers. I've even had the good fortune to meet her face-to-face.

One of the things about Michelle that struck me right away is her willingness to help others, which is why it was no surprise her first published book is aimed at doing just that--helping students and writers find a clear easy path to effective writing.

MIchelle's book, Homework Helpers: Essays and Term Papers, was recently released, and I was thrilled she agreed to answer some questions here.  I want to get the word out about this book for folks like me, who have children struggling though the maze of term papers and essays or for those fighting those assignments themselves.

Michelle has donated a cool swag bag to celebrate her release, so make a comment below to be eligible for the drawing to win this!

With no further ado, here's Michelle:
Q: What is your book about? What does it include?
Homework Helpers: Essays and Term Papers is a fun, user-friendly book that guides the reader, step by step, through writing a dozen different types of essays, including the dreaded SAT essay. Using straightforward, plain English, this book shows the reader exactly what they need to do, from start to finish, and includes rough draft, edited, and final draft versions of every type of essay discussed. This book also provides chapters that include tips and instruction on researching, proofreading, and citations.
Q: Why is your book different from others out there?
Unlike other books that are so full of technical jargon they confuse more than help, my book uses straightforward language and simple steps to guide students through the essay writing process. There is a huge difference between telling someone what to do, and SHOWING them how to do it. Instead of giving general tips on how to write each type of essay, my book shows students what they need to do, leading them through every step of the writing process with easy-to-follow details and examples.
Q: Who is your target audience?
Homeschooled, junior high, high school, and college students, teachers, and writers. And anyone else who might want or need to write an essay, paper, or narrative non-fiction piece.
Q: What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
Probably that they take a lot more work than I expected. I always had this vision of sitting down, cranking out a book, and seeing it on a shelf. I didn’t expect the endless edits, agonizing hours trying to choose the exact right word, and the seemingly endless bouts of waiting for one thing or another. In this one aspect of my life, at least, I’ve become a pretty patient person :)
Q: What do you love to do, besides writing?
Reading, hands down :) I am also a huge music lover and play the piano. And my family always comes first. As nuts as they make me, my kids are the loves of my life :) Of course, I’m pretty good at combining everything. When the kids are taking their bath, I’m usually on the bathroom floor reading while they splash around :)
Q: Do you have any advice for other writers who may be just starting out?
Don’t give up. The publishing world is not for the faint of heart. It’s full of hard work, heartbreaking rejections, waiting upon endless waiting, and agonizing edits. But the rewards for hanging in there are incredible. So, if this is what you truly want to do, don’t give up. No matter what.
I'm thrilled for Michelle and am excited about her book release.

If you know anyone taking the SAT or in the position where he/she needs to write an organized piece, whether it be a college entrance essay or a middle grade thesis paper, Michelle's book is a fabulous resource. You can read more about Homework Helpers: Essays and Term Papers at the following links:

Michelle McLean's Website

Michelle's Blog


Barnes & Noble


Be sure to leave a comment below to win the giveaway package in the picture above!


Katrina L. Lantz said...

Great interview! Michelle's advice to writers is spot-on, as usual. Even though I haven't had THE success yet, those little tastes I've had are worth all the waiting and heartbreak in the world. I own Essays and Term Papers and recommend it to everyone! The voice is just awesome, and the price is way better than hiring a private tutor!

Mary, I love your new blog! I just read the bit about waffling and your editor! So cute! I might just have to visit every day just to see those waffles...mmmm. Oh, and your lovely book cover for SHATTERED SOULS!

ionamcavoy said...

I have a lot of co-workers who's kids are about to enter this competitive world and will tell them about your book. Plus the advice on keeping at it for writers is the best. I'm slow, slower now than ever, but a plodder taking my time and trying to not let the life issues keep me from enjoying the writers journey. This was great!

Anonymous said...

Woo-hoo! Congrats, Michelle!

Nice interview, ladies!

I agree, this book is fun and the instructions/tips are easy to follow. DEFINITELY useful!!!!

Danyelle said...

As a home schooler, I love this! And excellent advice about not giving up. Congrats, Michelle!

Carolyn Kaufman said...

I'm so proud of all the QTers whose books are hitting the shelves these days! Congrats again, Michelle!

Suzette Saxton said...


I am so thrilled for you. Great job! Can't wait to get this book for my HS son. =)


Amanda said...

Great interview! Congrats, Michelle!! I'm so excited for you! :D

Philangelus said...

Congratulations, Michelle!

Lynn Lorenz said...

This is great! With a son in 10th grade and a daughter in 9th, this is a great book to get for them.

Thanks for letting us know about this blog.

Keep up the good work Michelle and Mary!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

This is an awesome book which I recommend to ALL students.

I just wish it had been around when I was in school. :)

Bethany Wiggins said...

Such an awesome book! Way to go Michelle.

Rose Moriarty said...

This book sounds great! I have a daughter in middle school, and I know she could use this. Especially since it sounds so user-friendly. Thanks!!

Patrick said...

This looks like a great idea for a book. Way to go Michelle.

Jessica Capelle said...

Congrats Michelle! What a great resource. I tutor SAT Writing, and I'll definitely recommend the book to my students and their parents, as well as my fellow tutors. Good luck!

Michelle McLean said...

thanks everyone! and thanks for hosting me Mary :)

Robin Lindzer said...

Great interview. Thank you for the terrific information. :-)

Morgan said...

I know how it is to study for those big ACT and SAT tests. So these books would help a lot. Great interview-and congrats on the book release.

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