Scott Allen releases fact-filled Olympics book in Children's Book Week

The Planet Sport team is home to a uniquely diverse range of talent. E
ditor, Scott Allen, is releasing his latest children’s book, On Your Marks, Get Set... Gold! this week. As it's Children’s Book Week, it's the perfect time to sit down with him to see what it's all about.


"I went home, wrote the first two pages... and then put it in a drawer and forgot about it for a few years. That eventually turned into two books, that five different publishers were fighting over."

Hi Scott. You've got a new book coming out, so tell us a little bit about it.

On Your Marks, Get Set... Gold! is a fact-filled, funny guide to the Olympics and Paralympics (well that’s what it says on the cover, so we’ll go with that).

It gives me an excuse to make all the wonderful sports at Paris 2024 a lot less serious and more accessible to an audience who probably don’t have any idea what kitesurfing is all about. 


What is the inspiration behind it? 

I’ve always loved the Olympics; it gives sports that are usually ignored by the mainstream a few weeks in the sun and hopefully at the end of the day it could inspire people to go out and have a go themselves. You never know, you might be a future speed climbing champion. 


Book cover of Scott Allen's new book, On Your Marks, Get Set... Gold!


Has your career in journalism influenced and helped your writing career? If so, tell us how.

Yes, I started off writing for a football fanzine when I was 15 and haven’t stopped since. Children’s books give me a chance to step out of the normal daily writing and push my brain to something a bit more unusual. I can write about a giant made of custard if I wanted...not that anybody wants to publish that book. He’s called Clive and he has a fear of apple crumbles, if you are interested.


What are some of your favourite childhood books, and how have they influenced your own books and writing style? 

The serious answer is Treasure Island because I wanted to be a pirate, but actually I spent most of my younger days reading the Beano and Tintin. There’s plenty of serious and boring bestsellers that don’t stand up to some of the writing in the Beano.


Do you find writing children’s books rewarding?

It’s a bit of a roller coaster. Super busy, followed by extended periods of looking out the window. I’m easily distracted when writing children’s books so as with all journalists need a hard deadline to get me going. Once I’m actually writing time tends to fly, then I have to rewrite it all as the majority is just the ramblings of a nutter.


Your previous book Llama United is quite a unique concept. Where and how did you come up with that? 

I had a difficult day at work and was sitting in a traffic jam and looked across at the man in the next car. He was having a good dig around in his nose, one of those trying to scratch your brains one. For some reason he made me think of a llama, then I thought what would happen if a load of llamas went on a football pitch. 

I went home, wrote the first two pages of Llama United and then put it in a drawer and forgot about it for a few years. That eventually turned into two books, that five different publishers were fighting over.

Book cover of Llama United: The Team with an Impossible Dream


Anything in the pipeline for Scott Allen fans to look forward to? What can we expect to see next from you? 

Children regularly contact me asking about a third Llama book, but I don’t think that will happen. But never say never.  

So, I’m working on something different. Though thanks to sport I’m very superstitious, so I can’t talk about it or something bad will happen.  

Anyway, I’m being very lazy with it, so I need to give myself a good talking to over the summer to get it going again. 

Thanks Scott.

Grab your copy of Scott Allen's On Your Marks, Get Set... Gold! today.