Headline has scooped the “beautifully original” debut from ex-snowboarder Allie Reynolds for six figures following a 10-publisher auction.
Fiction publishing director Jennifer Doyle acquired UK and Commonwealth rights in a two-book deal from Kate Burke of Blake Friedmann, in partnership with Hachette Australia. SHIVER will be published as a lead hardback in January 2021 simultaneously with Hachette Australia.
The high-concept thriller is set in the French Alps, focusing on five friends who meet for a reunion years after taking part in a snowboarding competition and the disappearance of the enigmatic Saskia. In a deserted lodge up a mountain, the secrets of their past are about to come to light.
Doyle said: “I was hooked from the pitch when I first heard about SHIVER. But it was as I was drawn into the novel by the intriguing and original voice of lead character Milla that I knew I had to publish it. Allie has created a compulsive and painfully tense thriller, with a perfectly paced plot, in which she gives the reader a captivating insight into another world. Here is a set of complex characters that are every bit as thrilling as the action on the ski slopes, and I couldn’t tear myself away until the novel came to its jaw-dropping close. I can’t wait to introduce SHIVER to readers everywhere.”
Reynolds is a former freestyle snowboarder, who spent five winters in France, Switzerland, Austria and Canada. In 2003, she swapped her snowboard for a surfboard and moved to the Gold Coast, Australia, where she has taught English as a foreign language for 15 years. Her short fiction has been published in women’s magazines in the UK, Australia, Sweden and South Africa.
She said: “SHIVER was inspired by the winters I spent training in the beautiful yet deadly world of the high mountains. I'm blown away by the amount of interest in my novel and thrilled to be published by Headline and around the world.”
The novel has already been pre-empted in the US by Penguin Putnam, HarperCollins in Germany, Calmann Levy in France, Piemme in Italy and Albatros in Poland. Auctions are still underway in several territories.
Burke said: “I signed Allie less than two days after reading her incredible debut and was delighted when, upon submission, editors had the same reaction I had – sheer excitement. This type of brilliantly original thriller doesn’t come along that often and I’m thrilled to be working with Allie and her publishers on bringing SHIVER to readers around the world.”