The 25th anniversary of World Book Day has been taking place today with the message ‘you are a reader‘!
It seemed an ideal time to have a chat with acclaimed children's author and Editor of PlanetSport.com, Scott Allen.
Hi Scott, how did you become a published author in the first place?
Hard work, a big slab of luck and a silly brain that makes me conjure up unusual stories. Once you’ve got all that, being signed by a really good agent is key.
Armed with your manuscript they’ll start bashing on the doors of publishers. Fortunately, my first book had five publishers fighting over it, so it had to go to a blind auction.
Macmillan Children’s won and after we’d gone through editing, illustrations etc etc a year later Llama United hit the bookshops.
Did you always yearn to be an author?
Not really, I wanted to be a pirate or a cowboy, and it took me a while to discover these are not great career choices.
Writing a proper book was rumbling along in the back of my mind for most of my twenties, but I needed to give myself a slap round the face in my 30s to actually try and make it happen.
I wrote the first page of Llama United on an A4 piece of paper and put it in a drawer. A year later I had to give myself another slap round the face and find which drawer I’d put it in and start again.
Talk us through your three books to date...
Llama United is about two boys (Tim and Cairo) who discover that their llamas have become brilliant at football overnight (you can read the book to find out how). They recruit gnarly Scottish football coach, McCloud, to help them train the llamas to win the Cup.
Obviously, all the teams they end up playing don’t want to lose to llamas, so they resort to underhand methods to stop Llama United winning trophy.
In Llamas Go Large, some of the llamas are picked in the England World Cup squad, which doesn’t go down well with the human members of the England team.
My third book, On Your Marks, Get Set…Gold! Is a non-fiction title and described as a funny fact-filled guide to every Olympic sport.
Yes, including a whole two page spread on sports climbing…that took some research. It’s a big full colour illustrated book, French artist Antoine Corbineau had to do the hard bit, I just gone dun al da wurds innit.
Who is your inspiration when it comes to writing?
The Beano was very important to me in my youth, I remember my Dad questioning if an 18-year-old should still be reading it in the middle of his A-levels. Judging by my results he was right.
However, most of the time my inspiration comes from the long list of foolish things sportsmen continue to do on a daily basis. For example, a lasagne is an important part of Llamas Go Large…one for the Spurs fans (tee hee hee, as they say in the Beano).