Meet Allie Reynolds Author Of Shiver

It's January. In the UK it's cold outside. Due to lockdown winter sports lovers are unable to go on their skiing holidays, therefore it's the perfect time to vicariously travel to the French Alps travel via the pages of Allie Reynolds' gripping debut thriller Shiver

Download the ebook of Shiver from Amazon or buy the paperback from Thriller Women's list at Bookshop.orgNB: if you buy books through this link we may earn a commission from, whose fees support independent bookshops.

Allie Reynolds herself used to be freestyle snowboarder. We found out about swapping the slopes for the keyboard and how for her publication was a case of fifth time lucky ...

The cover of Allie Reynolds' novel Shiver

TW: Allie, you had an exciting career as a freestyle snowboarder, can you tell us more about that?

AR: Years ago, I spent five winters living and training in the mountains of France, Switzerland, Austria and Canada. I competed at snowboard halfpipe and was once in the top ten in the UK. But I had more passion than natural sporting talent and kept injuring myself. It’s such a dangerous sport and my body broke too easily. I had sponsors at one stage, then I tore knee ligaments and my sponsors dropped me. I used to juggle several jobs each summer, to fund my winters.

When two close female friends broke their necks trying the tricks I’d need to try to climb higher up the rankings, and were told they’d never walk again, it made me question the risks I was prepared to take. At 26 I pulled reluctantly out of the sport to get a real job. I feel fortunate now that I left the sport relatively unscathed. But it was an unforgettable time.

TW: What prompted you to make the change from snowboarder to writer?

AR: I always dreamt of being a writer even as a child. At about 18 I made my first attempt at a novel. While I was snowboarding, I kept a journal which turned into another attempt at a novel. After I quit snowboarding I taught English for 15 years and wrote in my free time. I submitted some short stories to women’s magazines and gradually some got published. After I had kids it was hard to return to work. I lost several teaching jobs from having to call in sick because my kids were ill. By then I was regularly selling short stories so I decided to focus on writing for a year and see if I could make a go of it, because it meant I could work from home. I’d attempted two more novels by then. Finally I began writing Shiver and got a publishing deal. Fifth time lucky!

TW:What is it you love about reading and writing thrillers?

AR: I love the fast pace, the gripping plot, the life-or-death stakes and all the twists and surprises.

TW: Not so different from snowboarding then! Which thriller authors inspire you?

AR: I’m a huge fan of Lee Child. I love his writing style. Clean, lean writing. No frilly bits. Just a great story. The humour as well! I love that.

I always love novels with a strong sense of place so I adore Erica Ferencik, Karen Dionne, Ruth Ware and Jane Harper. They write setting so well.

I also love Clare Mackintosh, CL Taylor, TM Logan and so many more. There are so many great thrillers out there! I love reading debut thrillers, high concept stories and novels with interesting and unusual settings especially those set in a dangerous natural environment like mountains or forests.

TW:  How did you go about completing your draft, finding an agent and a publisher?

AR: I never used to plan my books, which might well be why my first four attempts at writing a novel ended up in a tangled mess of storylines. Shiver was the first novel I actually planned. I spent an entire month planning scenes onto post-it notes and shuffling them about, before sticking them up on a giant whiteboard. I completed extensive character profiles on my six main characters. Finally I started writing. I wrote the first draft in under six months, spent a couple more months editing, sent it to some beta-reader friends for feedback, and subbed to six agents. I used Jericho Writers' agent-match tool to hunt for agents who accepted thrillers. I received rejections for my first batch of submissions, so I revised my first chapters, trimming them right down and cutting out every single unnecessary word. I imagined a busy agent who receives 10,000 submissions a year, who would read my chapters, looking for the first reason to reject me and move on to the next submission. Maybe it did the trick, because the next few agents I submitted to all requested the full manuscript. Kate Burke of Blake Friedmann Literary agency asked to phone me. We chatted and she offered representation. She took Shiver through two challenging rounds of revisions, and submitted it to publishers. The following two weeks were like a dream. Shiver ended up in a ten-publisher auction and sold to Headline in a two-book deal.

TW: Congratulations! What advice do you have for other people who want to write thrillers?

AR: Read as much as you can and analyse what you read, thinking about what you like about it, and why, and what you don’t like. Read new releases in your genre: know what’s been done already. I learnt so much from reading. There are also so many great books out there on the craft of writing.

Check out the many short courses and workshops available. I took three of Curtis Brown Creative’s six-week online courses. They were helpful and inspiring, provided up-to-date advice, and were also a great way to meet other writers. I kept in touch with many of my course-mates and several of them went on to beta-read my manuscripts.

TW: What have you got up your sleeve for the future?

I’ve just started writing my next thriller. It’s set in a very different environment: a remote Australian beach.

Quick fire questions:

TW: Jack Reacher or Lisbeth Salander? 

AW: No!! This is too hard! They are two of my absolute favourite thriller characters so I can’t choose!

TW: Mulled wine or cup of tea apres ski? 

AW: I don’t drink alcohol and I hate tea. Neither. Coffee!

TW: Touch typing or two-finger typing? 
AW: I touch type badly. Can’t touch type punctuation marks! I think I skipped the last day of my typing course.

Thanks Allie!

Photo of Allie Reynolds, author of Shiver

More about Shiver:

They don't know what I did. And I intend to keep it that way.

When Milla is invited to a reunion in the French Alps resort that saw the peak of her snowboarding career, she drops everything to go. While she would rather forget the events of that winter, the invitation comes from Curtis, the one person she can't seem to let go.

The five friends haven't seen each other for ten years, since the disappearance of the beautiful and enigmatic Saskia. But when an icebreaker game turns menacing, they realise they don't know who has really gathered them there and how far they will go to find the truth.

In a deserted lodge high up a mountain, the secrets of the past are about to come to light ...


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