We have amidst us the Wattpad sensation who at the age of 17signed a three-book deal with the prestigious Random House Publication House. We are in conversation with Beth Reeks, where she talks about her story behind her writing sensational stories and how she felt after being named by Time magazine on a list of the 16 most influential teenagers in the world alongside prominent personalities like Malala Yousafzai and Justin Bieber.
Team WordBite (TWB): People know you as a Wattpad sensation, a role-model for the budding authors, but you are just in your teens. Can you take us back to those days when you thought of writing a novel, coping with your studies and assignments?
Beth: Writing was always just a hobby for me, something I did after school to relax and for fun; I started posting one of my books (The Kissing Booth) online because I figured, why not? I always kept writing and school very separate, and thought maybe after university I’d try and pursue a writing career properly – but just after applying to do a Physics degree at university, Random House offered me a book deal!
TWB: What was your feeling when at 17, you signed a three-book deal?
Beth: I still can’t quite get my head around it! It’s the kind of thing I daydreamed about but never thought would actually happen. I still love going into bookshops and seeing my stories there on the shelves. I was over the moon when Random House first got in touch, and I feel so lucky to have had this opportunity!
TWB: Why did you choose a pen-name for the novel?
Beth: At school, my friends gave me the nickname ‘Reekles’, from my last name ‘Reeks’, as there were a few Beths in my group of friends. When I signed up to Wattpad, I put Reekles as my username. Since most people knew me as a writer under the name Reekles, it made sense to publish with Random House under that penname, too.
TWB: We got know that none of your acquaintances knew that you were writing a novel. What was their reaction, when they got to know about this?
Beth: My friends are really supportive of my writing, and they send me photos if they see my book in a shop! When I went to university, I was a bit nervous to tell my flatmates about it – I didn’t want to seem like I was bragging – but they found me online and found out about my books, and all the girls in my flat have read The Kissing Booth now!
TWB: At such a young age, you are very busy. How do you keep up with such a busy schedule?
Beth: I have endless to-do lists to keep myself on track of everything I need to do, between writing up lecture notes, replying to emails and Tweets, doing interviews, etc. Writing is still a hobby for me, so I’ve been able to keep that up in my down-time to work on my books, but I’ve had to sacrifice going out with friends or chilling out watching TV shows sometimes to keep on top of everything.
TWB: And what was your reaction after being named by Time magazine on a list of the 16 most influential teenagers in the world alongside prominent personalities like Malala Yousafzai and Justin Bieber?
Beth: I couldn’t believe it when the list came out – I only saw it by chance in a Tweet, and screamed when I saw myself on the list alongside so many other big names. I ran out into the kitchen to tell some of my flatmates, woke some of them up to tell them, and then sent out some messages and called my family to tell them.
TWB: Who was your inspiration in this writing journey?
Beth: I don’t know that anyone in particular has inspired me. I write because I like to, and I write the kind of books I like to read. I’ve always really admired J.K. Rowling though – she got rejected by publishers about a dozen times and went through a lot in life, and she’s an incredible woman!
TWB: Amidst all those positive replies and fan mails all throughout the days when your first book was being appreciated, was there any bit of advice that you got from anyone, for your work, which you have emulated thereafter?
Beth: The vast majority of responses to my work when I was uploading on Wattpad were alone the lines of ‘OMG please update!’ and ‘Are you going to do a sequel????’, but I’d take note if my readers liked a particular character – I’d write more scenes with that character. Or, if there was a character they loved to hate, I’d exaggerate some things that character did so they could continue to love to hate them.
TWB: Can you give us a little sneak peak of your upcoming books? What are you been working on?
Beth: I’ve actually got a new book coming out on July 3rd! It’s called Out of Tune and it’s another teenage romance. It’s the first novel I’ll have published that wasn’t previously on Wattpad, so I’m quite nervous to see the reactions, but it’s still very exciting. I’m also currently posting a prequel to it, called Striking A Chord, on Wattpad. Aside from that, I’m working a little on a book I started posting to Wattpad last year, Sun Kissed, but had to stop because I couldn’t keep that up along with working on Out of Tune and my university work!
TWB: What do you see doing other than writing books in near future?
Beth: I’m going to finish my degree and then hopefully get a job doing something Physics related, maybe in computing. I’ll have to see where I am with writing, but I’d like to ideally at least get a part-time job alongside being an author!
TWB: When was the last time you did something for the first time? And what was it?
Beth: Last week I went to Canada for the first time, to meet the Wattpad team and some other authors from there, which was really fun and it was brilliant to meet everyone!
- Rapid Fire
TWB: Your favorite Book(s)
Beth: Anna and the French Kiss; Just Listen; Harry Potter; Hush, Hush.
TWB: Your favorite Author(s)
Beth: Sarah Dessen, John Green, J.K. Rowling, Malorie Blackman, Maureen Johnson
TWB: Describe yourself in three words
Beth:Creative, friendly and nerdy!
TWB:Thank you Beth for this interview, we wish you a great life ahead.