Beth Reekles' The Kissing Booth now a Netflix film

Beth Reekles
Image caption Now 22, Beth has published three more books

A young writer whose debut novel is now a Netflix film said it was "surreal" seeing her characters on screen.

Beth Reekles wrote The Kissing Booth when she was a 15-year-old schoolgirl in Newport.

It was published on the Wattpad reading and writing community before Ms Reekles, now 22, landed a major publishing deal.

The film adaptation is available on Netflix from Friday and Ms Reekles said she was "on cloud nine".

Like the book, the film is set in America and tells the story of teenager Elle Evans, 16.

Image copyright Netflix
Image caption American actress Joey King plays Elle Evans

She falls for a boy at high school but this is complicated by the fact he is also her best friend's brother and she has to keep the romance secret.

The cast includes 18-year-old Californian actress Joey King playing Elle and Molly Ringwald, star of 1986 high school romcom Pretty In Pink.​

After watching the film, physics graduate Ms Reekles said: "I was freaking out completely - it was really surreal to see the characters come to life, I thought so perfectly."

Ms Reekles sold the film rights to UK production company Komixx in 2013 and it was shot in South Africa.

Image copyright Netflix
Image caption The film is released in the Netflix Original strand

Scriptwriter Vince Marcell was brought in but Ms Reekles had "a really good conversation" about how it would end up.

"The characters for me were what drove the story and they were more important to me than any minor changes to the storyline," she said.

"But I was really happy with his vision for it and he was really passionate about the story, which was a relief to me."

"To see it happening, out there on screen, and scenes being played out almost exactly or exactly as I imagined them it was absolutely incredible - I was on cloud nine."

Image caption Exeter University graduate Beth Reekles wants to continue with her IT career

The Kissing Booth - which gained 19 million hits in its first year - was her own response to looking for "something a bit normal".

"At the time Twilight was quite big, all the books in the young adult romance genre were all vampires, werewolves and fallen angels. I liked it but was a bit tired of it - I knew what I wanted but I couldn't find it. I thought 'I'll just write my own'."

Ms Reekles plans to continue working as an IT graduate and writing in her spare time, saying: "I've been doing it for so long, I can't imagine not doing it."

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