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Interview: Beth Reekles, author of THE KISSING BOOTH

You may have already heard of Beth Reekles, the teen British sensation who won over readers on the platform, Wattpad. At only 17 years old, she earned herself a three-book deal with Random House, a dream come true for so many authors. We at Teenreads.com were lucky enough to be able to ask Beth a few questions about her first book, THE KISSING BOOTH! In this interview, Beth explains how she began writing, advice for teens who have writing aspirations and what is coming next from this teen author.

When and why did you start writing?

I always liked writing since I was in primary school, but when I got a laptop when I started comprehensive (age 12) I started writing much longer stories. I started THE KISSING BOOTH in April 2011, when I was 15. Writing has always been something I’ve enjoyed doing.

What about writing appeals to you?

I suppose the freedom of writing is a big part of it --- it’s something that is really under my own control. I find it calming and I just enjoy it. For me, writing is a way of expressing myself.

Did your friends know that you were writing a book? Did they read drafts of your writing?

I didn’t know anybody else who liked to write like I did, so I never told any of my friends about my books, until after THE KISSING BOOTH started doing so well online. By then, I’d gained a lot more confidence in my writing because so many people were reading and enjoying it.

How were you able to balance your schoolwork, homework and writing?

I’m really not sure --- I think because it’s been something I’ve done since I started comprehensive school, and I’ve been doing it for so long now, I’ve just subconsciously worked it into my schedule. There are times when I do have to forgo writing for schoolwork though --- particularly when I have exams on. Last summer (2012), I was dying to start writing a new book, but I had force myself to hold off on starting it until after I got all my exams out of the way.

When did you realize that people were interested in what you were writing?

When I was posting THE KISSING BOOTH online to Wattpad, the number of reads and comments I was getting were gradually increasing; it only really struck me how large my readership was after I’d posted one chapter with a particularly dramatic cliff-hanger --- I woke up the next morning and saw I had around 300-400 emails of comments on my story. At that point, it really sunk in that people really liked my work.

What has been your favorite fan reaction to your writing? Do you have any funny stories?

I always find it really sweet when somebody tells me that I’ve inspired them to write, and I love reading comments from people who say that they don’t usually like to read, but they got hooked on my book and are looking for more. A lot of my fan reactions are pleading for a sequel or telling me how much they enjoyed my book.

What advice do you give to fellow teens who are interested in beginning to write?

Write, write, write! I must have been a pretty atrocious writer when I was first writing stories, but my writing has matured over time, and after all --- they say practice makes perfect! Also, reading is a big thing. Read lots, and read different genres. Reading will widen your vocabulary and hone your empathy skills.

Typically people who are good in math and science are not as strong in language arts. We see that you are interested in becoming a physicist. How do you compare the disciplines of science and writing, are there overlaps?

I’ve never really thought about this in all honesty --- writing has always been a hobby for me, something I’ve kept separate from science, which I’ve always viewed as more of a career path.

Which authors influenced your writing? What are some of your favorite books?

I could go on forever with a list of my favourites --- it’d be like asking Molly Weasley to pick a favourite child! Obviously, Harry Potter is one of my favourites, and has been since I was little. I was a big fan of Jacqueline Wilson when I was younger, too, and Enid Blyton. Now, my favourite authors are John Green, Stephen Chbosky, Sarah Dessen, Alyson Noel and Maureen Johnson. I also love the classics, like THE GREAT GATSBY, CATCHER IN THE RYE and PETER PAN; and historical fiction is another of my favourite genres.

We know you set THE KISSING BOOTH in the States as you do not have kissing booths in the UK. How much time have you spent in the U.S. and what did you enjoy when you were here? If not, what would you like to see most?

I’ve been to Florida quite a few times on holiday, to Disney World --- so unfortunately I haven’t seen much of the US, though I’d love to visit New York and go sightseeing.

Can you give us a little sneak peak of what's next? What are you been working on?

My next book is called ROLLING DICE --- it’s the same genre as THE KISSING BOOTH: YA romance. I’m also working on a few other books and have  another completed one. I know a lot of my fans are dying for a sequel, and I’m coming around to the idea of one --- but I’m still considering it, so nothing’s definite yet!