Meet the Authors: Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver

Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver co-authored the hilariously funny new release: Alien Superstar.

This middle grade fiction is about an alien boy who lands in Universal Studios and attracts no attention, in fact, he lands on a sitcom playing an alien! Now, can he keep up the charades or will his true identity be discovered?

The authors answered the questions below.  Henry Winkler has acted in many films but is best remembered as Fonzie in the iconic Happy Days sitcom and has now authored several children’s books. Lin Oliver is the co-founder and currently the Executive Director of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). She is author of numerous children’s books and television/movie producer.

1. Lin, how did you both come up with the funny plot of Alien Superstar?

By sitting opposite each other and starting with the concept of aliens and children. We took our backgrounds and our long careers in Hollywood and put them together with an alien, and presto, we had a concept!

2. Henry, you’ve excelled in acting, producing and now writing, what do you enjoy the most and why?

Of all the things outside of my family, I am the proudest of the books I write with Lin because they make children laugh and also because I never thought I’d be able to write a book.

3. Lin, you are a talented versatile author writing humor, poetry and producing films. Is there one project you prefer over another?

I love making up stories about characters that interest me. I also love the sound and flow of words. They sound like music to me. It doesn’t matter what final form the story takes to me, whether it’s television, a poem, or a novel. I enjoy it all.

4. How do two authors collaborate in writing one book?

We plan out the story together, then sit in the same room for several hours every day and write. We both talk, and then what we like is typed into the computer. Then we revise, edit and read each chapter out loud before we continue.

5. What is the daily schedule of a writer?

We write from ten in the morning until 12:30 in the afternoon. If we go longer than that, we start to lose focus. We try to be consistent and write every day.

6. What advice would you give to an aspiring writer (recommendations/tips for students who want to start a career in this field?

Write with abandon. Do not be afraid of the thoughts that you’re having. Do not edit yourself until you’re done. And be honest about what you know and feel about living your life.

7. How easy or hard is it to write comedy?

Comedy is a natural gift. If you look at the world through a funny lens, then comedy comes easily. If it’s not your natural perspective, then comedy is the most difficult of all styles to write.

8. What is your favorite genre of books to read?

For the longest time, Henry was afraid to read thinking he couldn’t succeed at it. Now he likes to read thrillers which surprisingly are easy for his dyslexic brain to digest. He says you don’t know what you can accomplish until you try. Lin likes all fiction, especially historical fiction and family sagas. She also loves poetry, to read silently or aloud.

9. Why do you like writing for teens and elementary students as opposed to adults?

Henry says that he relates better to children than to adults, and if he hadn’t become an actor, he would work with children. That’s why he loves writing for children, because it comes naturally. The same is true for Lin, although she also loves living in the community of children’s book authors and illustrators, who are great people with high-minded values.

10. Why is writing for children/teens and producing family entertainment so important for both of you?

We feel that through the themes and comedy of our books, we can influence the next generation to be kind, to be empathetic, and to value and build their self-worth. Each person has a gift, and we hope our books help children discover what unique contribution they can make to the world.

11. Anything else you would like to share about your book?

Hopefully, Alien Superstar will make children identify with human emotions and see themselves in our characters. And along the way, we hope they’re going to laugh a lot!

Alien Superstar is available at our book fairs and on our online store