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  1. Interview: Beth Reekles

    Tuesday, 12 August 2014


    If you're in with the times then you're probably heard of her.

    Beth Reekles is the author, who at only 17 obtained a three book deal with Random House for her book The Kissing Booth which obtained an amazing 19 million reads on the writing site Wattpad. When she isn't at university studying for her physics course, she enjoys reading, blogging and hanging out with her friends. In many ways, Beth is an ordinary teenager, but her story is extraordinary.

    In this interview, Beth will talk about her writing journey, how she managed to get a deal with Random House and about what inspired her to write The Kissing Booth.

    It's been quite widely publicised (for those of Wattpad at least) that you got a three book deal from Random House while you were still in school. How did you feel when your agent/editor got into contact with you to tell you that they wanted to publish your book?
    I remember sitting looking through some private messages on Wattpad one evening and then seeing one that didn’t start ‘OMG I love your book!’ – and as it turned out, it was from a commissioning editor at Random House wanting to publish The Kissing Booth. I skimmed the message a dozen times before letting out a weird shriek and running to my parents to tell them. I couldn't believe it. It was like a wild dream, only it was real!
    What lead you to start writing the Kissing Booth and uploading it to Wattpad?
    Beth: pictured above, probably
    didn't expect to open that message
    telling her they wanted to publish
    The Kissing Booth
    .
    I’d been looking for a regular high school romance to read, but every YA romance had vampires or werewolves or something, or the protagonist fell for her (possibly gay?) guy best friend. It wasn't what I wanted to read so I thought, ‘I’ll write my own’ – and I did. That’s how I came up with The Kissing Booth, and figured I may as well upload it to Wattpad, since I didn't have anything to lose by it. I’d never expected it to become as popular as it did!
    After being offered the initial deal. Was there a time frame for editing the novel before actual publication?
    I’d already edited the book ruthlessly a few months after finishing it, and Random House were hoping for a Boxing Day ebook release (it actually came out December 13th) so it would have to be a quick turnaround since I’d signed the contract at the start of November. The editing was actually minimal and done within about three weeks, with a proof-edit done about a week later.
    If you could give an aspiring author any advice, say if perhaps they're struggling with confidence issues, particularly after being knocked back by publishers or receiving harsh criticism. What advice would you give them?
    Write because you want to. Write a book you feel passionate about and write because it makes you happy. Remember that. If you can get published, then it may well be the best feeling in the world, but try not to be to put-down by rejections. Try publishing online – I never had confidence in my work until Wattpad. Even just seeing people read my stories was a huge encouragement, and rejuvenated my enthusiasm for writing, so I’d definitely recommend putting your work up online!
    You're also taking a physics degree at university. How do you juggle this with writing?
    It can get quite difficult at times, but I've been lucky that my university have been supportive in letting me take days out for book events (like awards ceremonies) and I've had to work hard to catch up on anything I've missed. Sometimes I have to tell my friends I can’t go meet up with them, tell my flatmates I can’t go out, and put off watching the latest episode of I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here! when everyone else is watching it. It’s a lot of self-discipline and to-do lists and time management, but since I love writing so much and enjoy interacting with my fans online, it doesn't always feel too much like hard work!
    You talk a lot about Wattpad when you speak of your novels being published. Do you think that Wattpad has played a big part in gaining confidence in, and improving your writing ability?
    Definitely! I had zero confidence in my writing but when I found Wattpad, I thought, ‘why not?’ Everyone else seemed to be posting their work, and it was the first time I’d found a community where writing at a young age, instead of being on Facebook or something, was accepted and celebrated. Without the support of my fans, I likely wouldn't have had the opportunity to be published so young.
    Beth with her first two books
    The Kissing Booth has just got a script writer (Am I correct), which actors/actresses would you prefer to see play your characters?
    Yes that’s right, we have a scriptwriter for the movie now (which is really exciting!) – but I'm really not sure which actors I’d pick. It’s really difficult, and I only have one actor in mind - maybe Dylan O’Brien for Lee!
    What was your reaction when you saw that you'd made it onto the Times most influential teens list alongside Justin Bieber and Malala?
    I was in total disbelief for a minute, before sending out a Tweet, texting my parents, and running to wake up some of my flatmates to tell them. I was so excited to be on a list with so many well-known teenagers and to be recognised for my writing!
    How long have you been writing?
    It might sound cheesy, but for as long as I can remember. When I was little, if we wrote short stories in school, I’d often go home and carry on writing them. Then when I started comprehensive school at 12 my parents gave me an old laptop to do homework on, but I used it mostly to write – and I haven’t stopped!
    Can you remember the very first thing that you wrote?
    I remember waiting for the fifth Harry Potter book to come out, and wondering what might happen next, and how Harry would leave the Dursleys this next time. I remember writing the start of that story (Fred and George stopped by Privet Drive with a Portkey) – but at the time, I had no idea that fanfiction was really a thing.
    Do you think writing talent is a natural ability, or can anyone learn it?
    I think writing is mostly the perseverance and the effort you're willing to put in. I've had messages from people who say their spelling and grammar isn't great, but they really love to write – so they write. It’s something I think anyone can do, as long as they have the drive, passion and imagination for it.
    Ebooks or Paper books?
    Paper books!
    Finally, do you have any websites that you'd wish to share?
    I do my best to reply to all my fans on Twitter (I’m @Reekles) but I mostly use my blog (http://authorbethreekles.tumblr.com) to share info about 

    So there you have it! As you can tell, Beth is an all round amazing person, I'm sure we can agree and an inspiration to writers everywhere. Below are her three books and the purchase links if you're interested in reading her works, all of which have been released




    Meet Rochelle Evans: pretty, popular - and never been kissed.
    Meet Noah Flynn: badass, volatile - and a total player.
    When Elle decides to run a kissing booth at 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. But will Elle get her happily ever after?



    Rolling Dice

    They say that the higher you climb, the harder you fall - and Madison Clarke will do anything to keep her new life from crumbling to pieces. Moving from a small town in Maine to Florida, Madison grasps the opportunity to reinvent herself, to forget about those days of being a lonely, loser outcast, and jumps at the chance when the popular kids decide to take her under their wing. A hot boyfriend, parties, friends... If only there wasn't the slight problem by the name of Dwight, a cute, funny and totally nerdy guy in Madison's physics class who she can't help but enjoy spending time with. Running from her past and stumbling through the present, who knows what lies ahead in this new life in Florida?


    Ashley Bennett is a straight-A student in her junior year of high school, and life is looking good: she's got a boyfriend whom she loves, a group of friends who love to party... But really, Ashley loves to curl up at home with a good book, and she can't wait to go to college. When junior year starts, the life Ashley's settled into is turned upside down - the empty house next door has finally been sold, and moving in is Todd O'Connor...
    When Ashley first meets Todd, he seems aloof and cocky, and she's reluctant to share a ride to school with him as her mom tells her to. As the two get to know each other, though, Ashley comes to realise that the mysterious, brooding Todd O'Connor, who all the girls are swooning over, is actually bookish and shy, and a little bit lonely. His parents split up and he has moved away from his mother to live with his father, and since then Todd has mostly kept to himself, his books, and his guitar.
    And as Todd gets to know Ashley, he forces her to realise that her relationship with her boyfriend, Josh, isn't really making her happy - Josh is selfish, arrogant, and domineering. Will Ashley find the courage to forge her own path?









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  2. Second Guessing Your Writing Ability?

    Wednesday, 6 August 2014

    We've all been there. If you're a writer, there will come a time when you will trawl through the piles of words that you've written and think: "What is this rubbish? My writing sucks."
    I could tell you not to think like this, but that would be pointless. Because you're going to think like this anyway. I can tell you that everyone feels like that: Published authors, indie authors, Wattpad authors, hell I would guess that even J.K. Rowling has doubts over her writing, and she's one of the best writers out there. My point is if you're sitting in front of your computer screen (or notebook) and doubting your ability, then the chances are that you have talent . 
    I'll admit. I was 19 when I first started writing but I used to write little stories and magazine articles when I was younger. But I really only got into the writing bug when I was 19. I was craving more Harry Potter related stuff. And after a lot of hesitance I made a Fanfiction.Net account and started reading there. The longer I read, the more I wanted to write. And when I finally got an idea, I started to write and posted it to the site (Excuse the rhyme). I got a lot of feedback, most of it along the lines of: "Please write more!" or "This is the best fic ever!". I could have let all of this go to my head and not take any constructive criticism. But I realised suddenly, just how serious and important writing was to me. So I took the criticism and the flames and worked it to my writing ability until I felt confident to start my own original works with my own world.
    I still doubt my ability every day. Even when I've got a hundred people telling me I'm a good writer. I'm always seeking to improve, to be the best at what I do. But I quickly realised that this is impossible. You could be an amazing writer, but there's always going to be someone better. You shouldn't compare yourself to other writers, because this is your style. There's no need for big words and fancy prose. If you have awesome characters and decent sentence structure, then you're already halfway there.
    Remember, there is no such thing as a perfect writer. We each have our own quirks and idiosyncrasies that set us apart from other writers. Think you use a phrase or sentence too much? Don't worry, because a lot of it will get cut out during publication anyway. You should never let your doubts get in the way of doing what you love. Chances are, if you're reading this right now, if you sit there and write every day then you're a writer.
    And just remember. All stories, big or small. They all started with a good idea.
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