How a Welsh teen author inspired Netflix adaptation

By July 29, 2020Adaptations, News

Beth Reekles grew up in South Wales surrounded by books and stories, and with a passion for writing she had always thought of as her “weird hobby” she kept secret in her Newport bedroom.

Beth has since written a total of nine books so far and has been translated into several languages. The young author was once named by Time Magazine as the world’s 14th most influential teen, placed only one behind Justin Bieber.

Beth is now 25 and is celebrating a sequel to the Netflix adaptation of her first hit novel, The Kissing Booth.

The author had begun writing the story on Wattpad where she received much praise for the teen fiction, and was eventually contacted by a publisher.

The Kissing Booth won a fan-award for Best Teen-Fiction in 2011 and then in 2012, around the same time Beth was waiting on university application responses, Penguin Random House contacted Beth about her popular novel.

“I freaked out when I got the message and ran to see my parents,” she told the BBC.

“I was only 17 and didn’t have an agent so my father came with me to read over the contract.”

With her parents’ encouragement, Beth continue with her studies while she waited on news, “in case this was all five-minutes of fame”, but they needn’t have worried- in 2018 her debut novel became a Netflix movie.

“I spoke with the producer and the scriptwriter about their vision for the characters but I didn’t know anything about making films and I was finishing my degree at the time,” she said.

“But when I went to South Africa to watch the filming, it was an incredible moment to see my characters come to life before my eyes.

“My dad just looked around at all the crew and actors and said, ‘Look at all these people employed because of something you created.’ It was surreal.”

The Kissing Booth received mixed reviews but, according to Netflix, was the most re-watched film of the year in 2018 and they quickly commissioned a sequel. Luckily Beth had already started writing the sequel while studying at university in Exeter.

“I didn’t intended to write a sequel but I found it really hard to let go of the characters,” she said.

“But I don’t think anyone, especially me, expected it to get the response it had, not so much from the critics but certainly the fans.”

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