I’d Like to start by asking, Have you always wanted to be a writer? And, Where did the idea of Shiver come from?
I always loved books as a child and my first ever job was in a local second-hand bookstore: a Saturday job when I was fourteen that continued for many years. I think working there, surrounded by books, made me think I’d love to write one myself, one day! But the owner impressed on me how hard it was to get a book published, so I figured I’d need a day job and could write as a hobby.
In my twenties, I was a freestyle snowboarder, living and training in the snowy mountains. I began writing a different mountain-set thriller, and struggled with it for the next 20 years without managing to finish it! When I finally put it aside, the idea for Shiver came immediately. Several elements combined in my head: Agatha Christie’s incredible novel And Then There Were None; the dangers of the high-mountains; and a couple of news articles, one about hikers in the mountains who’d seen a hand protruding from the ice, and one about one of my favourite athletes who was renowned for playing mind games with his opponents.
How much research did you have to do for Shiver?
Very little! My snowboarding years were 20 years ago, and I haven’t seen real snow for over a decade, but my memories of that time were still so vivid. All I really did was watch YouTube videos with today’s top snowboarders, to see how the sport has progressed since I retired from it.
Who would you like to see playing the parts of Mila, Curtis, Saskia & Brent, if Shiver is turned into a Movie?
I sold the TV option very early on, and I’m hoping it might be turned into a 6-8 part TV series! I can totally imagine Chris Hemsworth playing the role of Curtis Sparks! And I’d love to see two of my favourite British snowboarders, Katie Ormerod and Aimee Fuller playing Milla and Saskia! Not sure about Brent – any suggestions?
As a child growing up, were you an avid reader or watcher of television? Do you have a favourite childhood book?
I was an avid reader! For many years my sister and I were the only kids in our school who didn’t have a television at home. We felt hard done by at the time, but looking back I think it was brilliant because it increased my love of reading and I also had a very active outdoors childhood. I loved Enid Blyton, Anne of Green Gables, The Willard Price adventure stories, and then moved on to Agatha Christie and my mum’s collection of action thrillers.
What is your favourite book you’ve read in 2021 and why?
Beartown by Fredrick Backman. It’s not my usual genre (thrillers!) but I’d seen so many rave reviews and I also liked the sports aspect. I totally loved it. The writing is so beautiful and the author effortlessly evokes emotion.
If you could go back in time, to one historical event, to witness it, what would it be and why?
That’s such an intriguing question! Can I pass? Most historical events I can think of are sad or terrifying!
Do you have a favourite author or favourite book of all time?
Lee Child is my go-to author for pure escapism! I’ve read all his books. I love how he writes! It’s so readable, with moments of humour, and such great storytelling.
What’s something you think every person should experience in their lifetime?
Surfing! I only picked it up as a ‘safe’ sport, after quitting snowboarding in my late twenties. I didn’t realise it’s actually classed as an extreme sport, and I’ve since suffered some quite serious injuries from it but there’s something incredibly special and extremely addictive about being out in the ocean on a board.
You can pick 4 famous people, dead or alive, for a dinner party, who would you pick and why?
I’ll go with athletes that I massively admire: Kelly Slater (world champion surfer who also seems like an extremely intelligent person), Keala Kennelly (fearless female big wave surfer), Aimee Fuller (British snowboarder- turned TV presenter who is apparently game to try any sport going and seems like so much fun) and early freestyle snowboarding pioneer Terje Hakonsen. We’d discuss surfing and snowboarding all night long and also aspects of health and nutrition which is another of my big interests.
When you’re writing do like silence or do you listen to music?
I need total silence. Which isn’t always easy to find as I’m a single mum of two small and very energetic boys. I often wear earplugs to block out distractions!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Edit, edit, edit! And never give up. The first draft is always terrible but if you keep polishing it, you might hopefully find gold.
If your home was on fire and you only had time to grab 3 things, what would they be?
Photo albums of my kids. And an early ARC of Shiver!
Are you currently writing another book?
Yes, I’m just doing final edits on my next thriller THE BAY. It’s set on a remote Australian beach. Think: Point Break meets The Beach. It’s out in June 2022.
About Allie Reynolds
I was once a freestyle snowboarder in the UK top ten at the halfpipe. I spent five winters in the mountains of France, Switzerland, Austria and Canada.
I taught English for fifteen years. I’ve also been a London primary school teacher, bookshop assistant, barmaid, nanny and French teacher/translator. My short fiction has appeared in women’s magazines in the UK, Australia, Sweden and South Africa. I’ve been a full-time writer since 2018.
Born and raised in Lincoln, England, I moved to Gold Coast Australia in 2003. I have two young children and a cat who thinks he’s a dog.