Born in Britain, Allie Reynolds is a former professional freestyle snowboarder who swapped her snowboard for a surfboard and moved to the Gold Coast in Australia, where she taught English as a foreign language for 15 years. She still lives in Australia with her family. Reynolds's short fiction has been published in magazines in the U.K., Australia, Sweden and South Africa. The locked-room thriller Shiver (just published by Putnam) is her debut novel.
On your nightstand now:
The Survivors by Jane Harper. Her books have such a strong sense of place and interesting natural settings. And The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren. I mostly read thrillers, but I love to mix it up with some romance.
Favorite book when you were a child:
The Island of Adventure by Enid Blyton. I loved dangerous natural settings even back then.
Your top five authors:
Lee Child, Erica Ferencik, Clare Mackintosh, Ruth Ware and Karen Dionne.
Book you've faked reading:
I'm ashamed to say that I've never read Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. It's supposed to be the ultimate psychological thriller and so many people rave about it, but I can't get past the initial dream sequence. The pace is too slow for me and I get impatient. I'll read it one day, but there are always so many exciting new releases coming out that I never quite get round to it.
Book you're an evangelist for:
I rave about Helen Hoang's The Kiss Quotient to my girlfriends. It's fresh, funny--and so unexpectedly steamy! I loved it. And Into the Jungle by Erica Ferencik: a thriller like no other, set in remote Bolivian jungle where the plants and wildlife are as deadly as the human inhabitants. It's incredibly tense and original.
Book you've bought for the cover:
The Bluffs, a crime thriller debut by Australian author Kyle Perry. As I mentioned, I'm a sucker for dangerous natural settings and the photo on the cover shows steep rocky cliffs. It's set in Tasmania and it's spooky and atmospheric.
Book you hid from your parents:
I love reading the occasional steamy romance and some have quite raunchy covers which I hide from my mum--and my kids!
Book that changed your life:
Story by Robert McKee. It's one of the first books I read on writing and it taught me so many helpful principles about story and story structure.
Favorite line from a book:
"We go to the movies to enter a new, fascinating world, to inhabit vicariously another human being who at first seems so unlike us and yet at heart is like us." --Robert McKee, Story.
This quote sums up why I like many of my favourite novels: they transport me to a new and fascinating world. It also sums up what I try to achieve in my writing.
Five books you'll never part with:
I was a nomad in my 20s, living in several different countries. When I migrated from the U.K. to Australia, I only took one large backpack. Fittingly, the only novel I packed was iconic backpacker novel The Beach by Alex Garland. It's such a great story. I rarely read the same novel twice and often pass books on to friends after I've read them--I figure I can always buy myself another copy if I want to reread it and they don't return it. I also use my library a lot. The only books I really don't like being parted from are my books on the craft of writing, plus some of my children's books, precious for the memories of us reading them together.
Book you most want to read again for the first time:
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. The cleverest plot imaginable!
Books you read under the covers with a flashlight:
Thin Air by Michelle Paver: a creepy ghost story set on a 1930s Himalayan climbing expedition.