ShiverFest: Dare to join us Saturday October 31st?


Shiver Fest


Shiver Fest is a Halloween book festival that encompasses thrillers, horror and ghostly cooking. Do you dare let it into your home?

The line-up includes authors: Allie Reynolds, CD Major, T.J. Payne, Laura Purcell and Matt Ruff, SJ Watson, Helena Garcia, Isabel Ashdown, Lisa Howells & Louise O’Neill.

Shiver Fest is supported by Headline Books but MyVLF is FREE for everyone. If you have enjoyed our events and would like to buy the team a coffee, we would very much appreciate it:

Buy us a Coffee at Ko-fi

10am: CD Major

C.D.Major is the pen name of Cesca Major – a writer and presenter.  Cesca has always been fascinated by extraordinary stories from the recent past. Her latest book,  The Other Girl, hit number one in the Amazon charts and is a historical thriller perfect for members of a book club. Set in a lunatic asylum in 1940s New Zealand it is inspired by a terrible true story and the strange phenomenon of children speaking about their ‘past lives’. 

Cesca has presented shows for ITV West and Sky Channels in the past and films  vlogs about the writing process. She also writes other books under the pseudonym , Rosie Blake.  Cesca lives in Berkshire with her husband, son and twin girls.

Watch CD Major

11am: Headline Shiver panel with Allie Reynolds, Isabel Ashdown, Lisa Howells and Louise O’Neill

Allie Reynolds is a former freestyle snowboarder, Allie competed at snowboard halfpipe and was once in the UK top ten. For five winters, she lived and trained in the mountains of France, Switzerland, Canada and Austria. These days she sticks to surfing – water doesn’t hurt as much as ice when you fall on it.

Allie’s first ever job was in a bookstore, at age 14. She taught English for 15 years and wrote as a hobby. Her short fiction has been published in women’s magazines in the UK, Australia, Sweden and South Africa.

Shiver is her debut novel. Reoccurring themes in her work are dangerous natural settings such as mountains and beaches, strong female characters, romantic subplots and sexual chemistry, and sports.

Allie  was born and raised in the UK and moved to Australia’s Gold Coast in 2004.  She lives by the beach with her two young boys and a cat who thinks he’s a dog.

Isabel Ashdown’s writing career first took off after she walked away from her day job to become a mature student of English and Creative Writing at the University of Chichester. During this period, an extract of her debut novel GLASSHOPPER, won a national writing competition judged by Fay Weldon, Michael Ridpath and the late Sir John Mortimer and by the time she had graduated, the published book was twice named among the Best Books of the Year. More recently, her thrillers LITTLE SISTER and BEAUTIFUL LIARS have been Amazon bestsellers, going on to be shortlisted in the Dead Good Reader Awards two years running.

She was born in London and grew up on the south coast, where she now lives with her family and their two dogs, Charlie and Leonard. Today, she is a full-time novelist, a Royal Literary Fund associate, and a regular creative writing host at the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate. Her 7th unmissable novel, LAKE CHILD, is out now.

Louise O’Neill is the feminist powerhouse and outspoken voice for change whose novels Only Ever Yours and Asking for It helped to start important conversations about body image and consent. Asking for It won Book of the Year at the Irish Book Awards 2015 and stayed in the Irish Top Ten fiction chart for over a year. Only Ever Yours won Newcomer of the Year at the Irish Book Awards and the Bookseller YA Prize. Film/TV rights have been optioned on both books. Louise lives and works in West Cork, Ireland. She contributes regularly to Irish TV and radio, and has a weekly column in the Irish Examiner. The play of Asking for It has been on the stage in Dublin and Birmingham.

Lisa Howells has been a journalist in consumer media for the past 20 years and has worked across a huge range of market-leading magazines. She is currently Assistant Editor of true-crime magazine Crime Monthly. In addition, she is also the Books Editor for Crime Monthly and heat magazines, and has been a judge for the British Book Awards 2020: Crime & Thriller category and the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel Of The Year 2020.

Watch the Headline panel

12pm: SJ Watson

S J Watson’s first novel, Before I Go To Sleep, became a phenomenal international success and has now sold over 6,000,000 copies worldwide. It won the Crime Writers’ Association Award for Best Debut Novel and the Galaxy National Book Award for Crime Thriller of the Year and has been translated into more than 40 languages.

The film of the book, starring Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth and Mark Strong, and directed by Rowan Joffe, was released in September 2014.

S J Watson’s second novel, Second Life, a psychological thriller, was published to acclaim in 2015.

S J Watson’s new novel, Final Cut, was published to rave reviews in August 2020.

Watch SJ Watson

2pm: Laura Purcell

Laura Purcell is a former bookseller living in Colchester, Essex with her husband and pet guinea pigs.

She began her career with two historical novels about the Hanoverian monarchs, Queen of Bedlam and Mistress of the Court.

Her first Gothic novel for Raven Books, The Silent Companions, was a Radio 2 Book Club pick, was selected for the Zoe Ball ITV Book Club and was the winner of the Thumping Good Read Award. Her other Gothic titles include The CorsetBone China and the upcoming The Shape of Darkness.

In the USA Laura is published by Penguin Books, where The Corset is titled The Poison Thread and Bone China is called The House of Whispers.

Additionally, Laura’s short stories have been published in a number of collections. These include Cameo, featured in Phantoms, Vanitas in the Audible Original Homeless Bodies and Other Stories, and Creeping Ivy, coming October 2020 in After Sundown.

Watch Laura Purcell

3pm: Helena Garcia-The Wicked Baker

Helena Garcia aka The Wicked Baker (Great British Bake-off Finalist 2019)

Helena wowed the Great British Bake Off judges and audience and was a 2019 Finalist, with her surprisingly ghoulish interpretations of the baking challenges and now, with her amazingly inventive recipes, you too can become the ghostess with the mostest.

Helena’s book, Wicked Baker is out just in time for Halloween.

Watch Helena Garcia

4pm: TJ Payne

T.J. Payne writes primarily in the horror and thriller genres. His writing style relies on a light touch, using lean, smooth prose to build and maintain the story’s intensity. Through this style, Payne weaves in deeper themes and questions about human nature, particularly the subtle line between Good and Evil. Traditional Hero and Villain archetypes are often flipped in Payne’s work. His characters may not always be likable, but their faults and sins are profoundly human.

Humans are the only species on Earth with the capability to create both great beauty and unspeakable acts of cruelty. The exploration of that duality has always been central to Payne’s work.

Despite his gritty, dark work, Payne lives a very happy, non-murderous life. He married his high school sweetheart and together they enjoy exploring National Parks with their dog Frank (on leash and with plenty of poop bags, of course; he’s not a sociopath).

Watch TJ Payne

5pm: Matt Ruff

Matt Ruff is the award-winning author of seven novels, including 88 Names, The Mirage, Bad Monkeys, Set This House in Order, Fool on the Hill, and Sewer, Gas & Electric. Ruff’s novel Lovecraft Country was recently adapted as an HBO series by Jordan Peele, Misha Green, and J.J. Abrams.

Ruff lives in Seattle with his wife, the researcher and rare book expert Lisa Gold.

Watch Matt Ruff