I am so excited about today! My dearest friend and CP, Michelle McLean’s book, Homework Helpers: Essays and Term Papers officially launches tomorrow (though Amazon has had it available for the last week). I distinctly remember when she sold this book. I remember every draft she let me read, talking about her swag and blog tour, and talking about her new ideas for books. So, of course, I had to help spread the word and SCREAM from the rooftops about this book – because really, this book is amazing.

Here’s what I said about it for her blurb:

“A no-nonsense narrative approach that allows all students, including those with learning disabilities, to accomplish what once felt impossible–writing a strong and compelling essay. Homework Helpers: Essays and Term Papers [is] an invaluable resource for students from middle school through college.”

I’ll tell you more about the book as part of my Bookanista feature tomorrow. I’ll even give you a chance to win a copy for yourself.

But today, I wanted to share more about the woman behind this fabulous resource for kids and adults alike – Michelle Mclean.

Take it away Michelle:

CF: Why did you write Homework Helpers: Essays and Term Papers?

MM: My goal with it is to help people, especially students, get through their assignments with the least amount of pain and confusion possible. Essays are something that everyone has to write, whether they want to or not. Being confused by the process doesn’t make it any easier.

Most guidebooks and textbooks out there list all the rules, but give little to no explanation on how you are supposed to go about actually DOING what they tell you to do. They also tend to be so full of technical lingo (all those BIG words) that it makes even the simplest explanation seem impossible to understand. 

I just never understood why someone didn’t just say (in plain, easy to understand language) “Look, this is what you need to do, and this is exactly how you do it.” The end.

So, back in the early days of my blog when I was looking for good subjects to discuss, I decided  to start doing How To posts on several different subjects. The posts on how to write essays, papers, and poetry got the biggest response. I started getting a lot of comments thanking me for explaining things in a way everyone could understand. I had a few friends encourage me to write a book on the subject, and it ended up turning into two books – one on the essays and papers, and one on poetry.

CF: What are you doing to promote the book?

MM: This blog tour, of course 🙂 I’ve also done things like made up bookmarks that I can leave at bookstores and libraries (and recruited as many friends and family across the country as I can to help distribute them); I have postcards and press kits I can send out to schools, libraries, and media outlets; I’ve spoken with my local bookstore about doing appearances and we’ve booked a few dates for their teacher events; and I’m working with a publicity firm my publisher hired to run my promotion campaign.

CF: What’s the hardest thing about writing NF?

MM: Probably making sure the information I’m presenting is as accurate and easy to understand as possible. I do a lot of research and a LOT of editing lol And sometimes, working on NF just feels like…well, work 🙂 It’s not quite as fun sitting down to write about essays as it is diving into a make believe fiction world 🙂

CF: You write fiction also. What is the biggest difference between the two?

MM: NF is actually easier for me to write. NF is a representing of facts. They are already there, in my head or in my research. I’m just presenting them to my audience. Fiction is much harder. There’s a lot more going on with fiction, a lot more that can go wrong 🙂 Having said that, while NF may be easier for me to do, Fiction is a lot more fun.

CF: Future plans for Nonfiction? Fiction?

MM: I’m working on two more NF books right now – on is a book on how to write poetry and the other is a book on literary criticisms and analysis essays. For fiction, I’m working on a YA historical suspense that will hopefully be done in the next month or so and on its way to my agent.

CF: Quick fire randomness:

  • Sweet or salty? Generally sweet, but I love some sweet/salty (chocolate covered pretzels…yum!)
  • ebook or hard cover book? Hard cover….I like ebooks, but nothing can replace the feel of the pages running through my fingers 🙂
  • Blog tour or book tour? Blog tour! I’m shy LOL

CF: Just a couple more – What is your biggest non-writing related goal for 2011?

MM: Losing weight LOL And spending more time with my kids 🙂

{{Awesome goals, Michelle!}}

CF: How about some advice for new writers?

MM: Don’t give up – it’ll get tough, but keep at it!

CF: Anything else you want us to know?

MM: Writing really can be fun. Or at least not torture 🙂 All you have to do is find something about what you are writing that interests you. Writing an essay on Romeo and Juliet may make you want to put your own eyes out with your pen, but I promise you, if you put your mind to it, you can find something about your assignment that isn’t so bad. If you like action, focus on the fighting scenes; if you like fashion, focus on how the costumes help the actors portray their characters. There is always something you can find to focus on that will make your assignment a little less painful.

{{ Dude! I seriously just helped THE TEEN with just such an essay. Using some of your strategies, of course.}}

And there you have it. Now, run – don’t walk – to get yourself a copy of the book. Every teen and college student you know NEEDS this book.

Come back tomorrow for my review and a special give-away.

You can find Michelle all over the interwebz:

What questions do you have for Michelle? I’m sure she’ll swing by and answer them for you.


14 thoughts on “The Marvelous Michelle McLean on the Eve of Her Big Launch!

  1. I just added the book to my Amazon wishlist. My daughter’s starting college in the fall and although I like to think I’ve prepared her enough, a little more assistance can never hurt. Thanks for making this a blogtour stop, Michelle, and thanks to Christine for having you. =o)

  2. How did I miss that this book was happening? I think my older son will probably need it one day; thinking about giving an oral presentation, on a topic of his choosing, is already giving him fits. I dread to think what will happen when he has to write something on a topic NOT of his choosing!

    Thanks for bringing it to our attention, Christine. And good luck with it, Michelle!

  3. Great interview Christine and Michelle! I’ve read How to Write Essays and Term Papers and it is FANTASTIC. Best student resource book I think I’ve ever gotten my hands on.

  4. Yay for Michelle! I love your point about finding something of interest in any topic. Your section on brainstorming angles or topics was particularly fun. I can picture that benefiting my fiction brainstorming, too.

    Thanks, Christine and Michelle, for the interview!

  5. It’s funny because I used to tell my students the same thing. Essays aren’t that hard. You just follow the rules (which are of course made easier if the rules are clear!). It’s just not as fun! Just like for Michelle. But I bet her book will do really well. I know a lot of kids will find it useful. Best wishes for a successful launch!

    I’m just inspired by you ladies doing nonfiction and fiction! That takes serious dedication an skill!!

  6. Thanks for this! I am following you in google reader and just added Michelle to my follow list, as well. Appreciate the chance to win a copy of this, congrats on the release, Michelle!

    I bought some milk chocolate covered caramel the other day–it had sea salt on the top. Oh. My. Can’t buy anymore, will eat it all in one sitting-again 😛

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