Thursday, January 20, 2011


Dude, you guys, today we have the amazing Michelle McLean and her amazing book, HOMEWORK HELPERS: ESSAYS AND TERM PAPERS.

I have never been more excited. Except for when I had bacon at IHOP... No, no this beats even that.


The Twitter version: tell us about your book in 140 characters or less:

It’s a fun guide on writing essays and term papers that explains step by step, with examples, in plain English, exactly what you need to do

What made you think, “I need to write a book like ESSAYS AND TERM PAPERS.”?

I’ve always been the “go-to” gal for when family members or friends need help writing a paper or essay. I actually really like writing essays and papers, and I’m good at it. So I decided to do a few How To posts on my blog. I looked up some rules one day as a refresher for some of the posts I wanted to write, and the information I was finding was so technically worded and confusing even I, with all my experience and degrees, had a hard time understanding it. It drove me nuts that there wasn’t one site or book I could find that just said “Look, this is what you need to do and here is exactly how you do it, oh and here are a bunch of examples so you can see what I’m talking about.” Seriously, why do people have to make it so confusing?

So, I took the info and wrote a series of blog posts, in plain English, easy to follow directions, with examples. And I got a great response. A few friends told me I should write a book…and kept at me until I agreed :)

What else are you working on? Secrets? Inside scoops? Give us the juicy stuff!

I’ve got two more guidebooks in the works, one on poetry and one on literary analysis and criticisms. And I also write YA historical fiction and always have a novel in progress. And a few children’s picture books for fun :D


Have you always wanted to be a writer?

It was always sort of in the back of my mind, but I didn’t think it was really a career option for some reason. I wanted to be an astronaut for a while, but I’m claustrophobic, afraid of heights and terrible at math, so that was pretty much out of the question. I settled on archaeology for a long time, or archiving…majored in history and everything.

But I’ve always written. I’ve got stories from when I was little…won a young author contest when I was in 5th grade. No matter what path I thought I was going down, being an author was always the big dream.

What made you decide to go that “extra step” and seek publication?

I just had a “why not” moment one day. I’d written a children’s book that my family was raving over. My mom, always my loudest cheerleader, kept telling me I needed to get it published. I’d just started working on my first novel and had always had visions of my name on a book, and just figured I had nothing to lose. It was what I’d always really wanted but it wasn’t going to happen unless I tried…so I did :)

Quick! You’ve been chosen to be a contestant on Survivor. What luxury item do you take?

Ha! I was a huge Survivor fan for years (THANK YOU!) so this is something I’ve considered before…probably flint and steel…you always need fire and a lighter would eventually run out of fluid (cause you know, I’d of course be on the island long enough for it to run out)

Tell us something about yourself we don’t know.

I still sleep with a nightlight in my room :D Overactive imaginations can be a pain sometimes ;-)

And the most important of all: bacon or chocolate?

I almost hate to say it, knowing how you love bacon, but I have to go for the chocolate (It's okay. We can still be friends) …though I’m not averse to putting those hands together and dipping a few crispy morsels in some chocolate deliciousness :D (She's not lying. She sent me some bacon-dipped chocolate. It was delish.)

Awesome, yes? Go visit Michelle here:
Operation Awesome Blog
Facebook Author Page


And if you're feeling lucky today (and even if you're not), you can leave a comment here to WIN A COPY of Michelle's ESSAYS AND TERM PAPERS!! I so could've used this book in high school. College. Heck, I need this book now. So comment. Enter. Win.

Check out what the other Bookanistas are up to today:


Natalie Aguirre said...

Great interview. This book sounds really good. My daughter will be in high school next year and we probably would find it helpful. Thanks for the giveaway.

Emily White said...

Yeah, this definitely sounds like something that could have come in handy in high school and college. I basically winged my way through those kinds of things.

Great interview!

Carrie Dair said...

Oh my gosh, I need this book. I love to write, but always hated how writing novels are so different than writing term papers. It's like teachers purposefully want to confuse you about how to write one. Seriously. I sit in college classes every day and everyone stresses about the term paper. My older kids even ask me for help and I look at them with a helpless shrug. First I have to learn, guys. :) Maybe the time has finally come. Thanks so much!

Theresa Milstein said...

I'm a big fan of Michelle. I follow her first blog and like her 2nd blog Operation Awesome. I hope she sells many, many copies of this book.

So many chocolate lovers. I'm with Elana on the bacon.

Liza said...

What a great resource...and interview. I'm with Michelle...why not "guild the lily" and dip your bacon in chocolate?

Liza said...

What a great resource...and interview. I'm with Michelle...why not "guild the lily" and dip your bacon in chocolate?

Kay said...

Please, please, let me win so I can have this book for my classroom. Hey, we're getting ready to start our big research project for 8th grade--if we ever go to school again. We don't deal with snow well here in southern IN. At least I'm at home today, since the school computer system blocks me from commenting on your blog. :(

Shannon said...

Congratulations to Michelle! Her book would have been an excellent resource when I was in school. Here's hoping she has a great deal of success with it! And hurray for more Survivor fans...Feb can't come soon enough.

Thanks for the interview!

Matthew Rush said...

Dude! I can't remember if I ever told you this, but Michelle was the one who talked me into emailing you about doing the successful query post for Possession. I was so nervous about it before she convinced me.

Of all the published authors I now know Michelle was the very first. She is so cool. It's truly wonderful to get to watch her achieve success!

Christine Fonseca said...

WOO HOO! Go Michelle! Great interview you two.

Jonathon Arntson said...

I'm in college and that book looks reallyyyy attractive to me right now.

Great interview, very entertaining.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I'm reviewing the book next week on the blog tour. It's a great book. I wish it had been out when I was in school.

Rachel said...

As a homechool mom, this sounds like a book that would be wonderful to have in our home. I try to stay away from boring, dry textbooks and instead use living books--books written by one author who is passionate about the subject--instead when we need to learn something. This sounds PERFECT! :-)

Tracey Neithercott said...

I love these interviews. Part of me just wants to see if you'll ever interview someone who picks bacon over chocolate. I think you need to interview this woman:

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Yay! I'm hosting her very soon! I always love your interview questions, Elena.

Hey, I saw a bacon air freshener on Amazon! And...I heard of a bacon chocolate cake recipe!! :-)

Lisa Potts said...

I see going back to college in my future and I also have kids in school, so I would love to have this book!

Great interview, ladies!

E.J. Wesley said...

*Reflects to self* "Can we really trust people who choose chocolate over bacon, Precious No, they are tricksy and false!"

Great interview, and where was this book 15 years ago? :) It was lovely to meet you, Michelle!

For the record: Yes, I would follow Frodo into the mountain of fire to retrieve salted pork. Think how super-crispy the bacon would get inside that bad boy? It's like the fake worlds biggest microwave!

Carolyn V. said...

I need that book. =)

Bacon dipped chocolate? I may need to try that. Mmmm.

Jennie Englund said...

Great idea! Michelle is genius!

I needs me that book for my community college writers!

Eric said...

Nice interview. I still think bacon at IHOP is hard to beat. Not that Michelle's book isn't cool or anything, but we're talking BACON! Heh heh.

Lisa_Gibson said...

I so need to get this book for my son. He has challenges and could certainly use some help. Thanks!
And a massive shout-out for chocolate covered bacon. Yes!!
Lisa ~ YA Literature Lover

Kerri C at CK Farm said...

This is amazing and just what I need for my teen! Will be going to the top of my list for sure!!

Elana Johnson said...

EJ, I <3 you. I think I'll interview myself on my release day and then there will be at least one interview with BACON as the winner!

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

Dang, Michelle would make like the BEST TEACHER EVER. Her books sounds like one every parent of older kids should have. Great interview! Flint and steel FTW. Way better than what I would've taken which wouldn't been a giant "GET ME OUTTA HERE" Flag.

I'd love to interview you as well. Every question will have bacon in it somewhere...

Carrie Harris said...

I'm one of those people who get asked for advice too. Now, I'll just recommend that they read this book!

K.D. Anderson said...

This book is gonna really help my teen. Can't wait!

Jeff King said...

Great interview... This book sounds awseome.

Jemi Fraser said...

Great interview ladies! This book is going to help a LOT of people!! :)

I love how you don't let yourself get stuck in one genre, Michelle!

Karen Lange said...

Loved the interview! I'm teaching a high school essay class as we speak. Seems no matter how much I learn about essays, there's always room for more info. Maybe it's because of that "dreaded essay" stigma.
Happy weekend,

Corinne O'Flynn said...

Love the interview! But, chocolate over bacon? I'm... hmmm. Well... I guess that leaves more for me (and Elana!) Congrats Michelle. I'll be sharing with all my non-blogerly friends. Gosh they miss out on so much. :)

Term Papers said...

Nice ESSAYS AND TERM PAPERS by Michelle McLean. Thanks a lot

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