At age 15, when most girls are busy groupchatting, Facebooking and Instagramming, Beth Reekles was in her bedroom in Newport, Wales, clicking away on her laptop writing her first novel on Wattpad (a free online novel-sharing platform). When the first chapter got a million hits, she knew she was onto something. Her book, THE KISSING BOOTH, quickly became the most viewed teen story on Wattpad. After it won the coveted Wattpad Award for Teen Fiction, Beth inked a three-book deal with Random House. THE KISSING BOOTH just released in America…
Why did you initially decide to self-publish?
Well, I was reading on Wattpad anyway, and I was writing as well, so when I started writing The Kissing Booth I thought it would be worth a shot putting it out there. I thought maybe there would be other people out there who were looking for something to read like I was, and maybe they’d enjoy it. So I gave it a shot and it paid off!
Did you do promotions for your book like a Facebook fan page or did you just put it on Wattpad?
At first I put it on Wattpad. When it started gaining interest I created a Facebook page, got a Twitter account and I opened a Tumblr page for it, as well. Once I realized how popular it was I wanted to create new ways to generate even more interest.
You set The Kissing Booth in the U.S., specifically in California. Why did you do that?
Well, we don’t have kissing booths in the UK. When I thought of the story I had this idea and I had the characters in my head and I knew there was going to be a kissing booth so I just automatically set it in America.
Are the experiences of your main character things you’ve experienced in your life or just things that came out of your imagination?
Well, it was mostly imagination. But some of the stuff, like all the anxiety that goes with your first date, that’s stuff I’ve experienced. I’ve also got lots of friends that have experienced things as well—but I really pulled more from the emotions than the actual experiences.
What advice do you have for other young writers who want to get published?
I think reading a lot is quite important because reading different authors and a lot of different genres widens your vocabulary and increases your empathy, as well. And I think in this day and age publishing online is quite helpful because the community is so supportive. It’s a great confidence boost, as well! It also provides fans who sort of critique your writing. They help you figure out where you could improve or where you’re going wrong.
Your bio on Wattpad says you’re more interested in physics than English. Do you plan to study physics at university?
Yeah, I’m going to go on to pursue a physics degree.
And what are you going to do once you graduate?
At the minute I’m not 100 percent sure. I’m going to see where I am with writing after I finish uni, but I want to get my physics degree so I’ve got more options afterwards.
Do you think you’ll keep writing after your three-book deal with Random House?
Yeah, I’m definitely going to keep writing even if it’s just for me and my books never get published. I mean, but hopefully they will!
What’s your favorite genre of books to read?
I’m a big YA fan. I like fantasy, I like historical fiction, I like classics, I like a bit of everything. I’m not so much into nonfiction, though.
Thanks, Beth! It’s been so fun catching up with you!
Don’t miss Beth’s super-romantic first novel…
THE KISSING BOOTH
Meet Rochelle Evans: pretty, popular—and never been kissed. Meet Noah Flynn: badass, volatile—and a total player. And also Elle’s best friend’s older brother…
When Elle decides to run a kissing booth for the school’s Spring Carnival, she locks lips with Noah and her life is turned upside down. Her head says to keep away, but her heart wants to draw closer—this romance seems far from fairy tale and headed for heartbreak….