‘The Kissing Booth’ author pens novel on lockdown love
TIMES NEWS NETWORK
Fifteen-year-old Beth Reekles catapulted to fame with her debut novel The Kissing Booth and has not looked back since. The teen romance that was first released on story sharing platform Wattpad spawned a hit film and two sequels taking Reekles to Time magazine’s list of Most Influential Teens in 2013.
Now nearly a decade later, Reekles is back with stories on romance and friendship in the lives of 20-somethings called Lockdown on London Lane. At an engaging session of the Times LitFest, she told author Kiran Manral that her inspiration was isolating in a cramped London flat. “When the pandemic started, I was stuck in a small apartment away from my family. This was my way of dealing with things,” she says, adding that writing stories gave her focus and schedule.
The Welsh author also found that while there were many teen romances and books for 30-year-olds, there were not enough books for 20-somethings, a phase in life where people are trying to find their feet, pay bills and are in different stages of relationship as compared to high school.
With the new book, Reekles went back to the chapter-sharing format on Wattpad. “I am an extrovert and I was missing the community. There was a weird familiarity to it with people commenting on the characters and what was happening with them,” she says.
Reekles, a physics graduate, works in an IT company and enjoys the stability of a job. She recalls facing questions for her choice of subject. “Both physics and the IT industry are very male dominated and there is a bias against women. We need to get rid of this,” she adds. The author has set up a network of women to encourage others keen on pursuing STEM.