Beth Reekles Chats Writing "The Kissing Booth"!
Beth Reeks, who writes under the pen name Beth Reekles, is the Welsh teen author behind the critically acclaimed novel The Kissing Booth!
We recently spoke with Beth about the beginnings of her writing career and the inspiration behind her signature novel!
Beth Reekles' passion for writing began in primary school and grew from there.
"When I got a hand-me-down laptop to do schoolwork on when I was about twelve, I started to write a lot more."
As she continued to write, she also read more and more, constantly honing her skills.
The Kissing Booth was inspired by Beth's inability to find the right kind of young adult story.
"Everything in the young adult fiction category was all vampires, werewolves or fallen angels, and I was a bit sick of paranormal romances by then. Much as I like books in that genre, I wanted something that was more regular high school romance, something I could relate to better."
When Beth couldn't find the kind of book she wanted to read, she took matters into her own hands and decided to write the story herself.
She started writing The Kissing Booth when she was 15 years old.
"Though I'd written novel-length stories before that, it was the first one I took seriously. Writing was always something I just really enjoyed."
As Beth wrote the novel, she posted each chapter online in a writing community called Wattpad.
"I figured I didn't have anything to lose by posting it up online. I never expected it to become so popular, though."
But success wasn't instant. After being online for about two years, The Kissing Booth finally won Most Popular Teen Fiction award on the site for 2011. At that point it had been read by more than 19 million people!
The award also helped the story catch the attention of the general public beyond Wattpad.
"My current editor, Lauren Buckland, from Random House, got in touch with me on the website in late 2012, saying she was interested in publishing my work. I was ecstatic, and even more so when it became more and more real: when I signed the contract, and then when I got my advance copy of the paperback, and then seeing it in my local bookstores. It was crazy!"
Beth had always wanted to be published, but never expected that she would be, especially while she was still a teenager!
Currently, Beth is pursuing a degree in physics at Exeter University. We wondered if she hoped to blend her passions for physics and writing as a career someday.
"I don't know about combining the two together, but I'd definitely love to continue them both alongside each other. Maybe I'll end up writing for science magazines—that would combine both!"
Beth hasn't yet decided exactly what she wants to do when she graduates.
"I think most people my age don't know what they're going to do after uni! I'd love to be able to have a job in something physics-related, like computing, even if it's something part-time."
But she said that, regardless of her career path, she will always write.
"It's something I've always done, and I definitely don't have any plans to stop!"
One of Beth's biggest influences has always been J.K. Rowling.
"I grew up reading the Harry Potter books so many times my copies are falling apart. She persevered with finding a publisher and continued writing, so she's always been one of my biggest inspirations."
But Beth doesn't believe that her success is unique. She recommends that aspiring writers post their work online, on sites such as Wattpad, where they can get feedback on their writing.
"It's also really encouraging to see people just reading your story. I always thought my writing was total rubbish (I just carried on because it was fun), but Wattpad gave me a lot more confidence in myself."
She added that writers should write the kind of book they would want to read, rather than what they think will appeal to other readers.
"That way you're a lot more passionate about the story you're writing and you're more likely to see it through to the end."
One of the best parts about Beth's experience has been the chance to hear back from the people who have been influenced by her writing.
"I get a lot of messages from people telling me I've inspired them, and that's so wonderful for me to hear. It's brilliant to know that I've achieved something and that I've encouraged other teenagers to pursue their dreams, too. I think it's really important for teenagers to be able to gain confidence in what they're doing—whether that's writing, music, movie-making, or whatever—and to dream big, and aim high."
For even more on Beth Reekles, be sure to follow her on her social pages below! You can also join us at SweetyHigh.com and create a Fan Club to share your own writing and get feedback from the Sweety High community!