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Page 3 Profile: Beth Reeks, influential teenager

Who’s this girl? Another one of those tweeters no doubt?

Beth Reeks, 18, from Newport has been ranked 14th in Time magazine’s list of young celebrities, alongside Justin Bieber and Malia Obama. And while she does indeed tweet, it’s a more substantial achievement that’s won her the place. She has a three-book deal with Random House under her belt having ratcheted up 19 million online hits with her first self-published novel.

Three-book deal? Self-published? Online hits? Pah!

Scoff all you like, but many see this as the future of the publishing industry: authors will have to prove themselves in the dog-eat-dog market of the world wide web before literary houses will even consider taking a look at their manuscripts.

Fifty shades of nonsense, if you ask me.

Funny you should mention it. The Fifty Shades of Grey series by EL James is widely considering to be the most successful example of self-publishing, and many comparisons with Ms Reeks – who writes teen romance under the pen-name Beth Reekles – have been drawn.

What does she say to that?

That she is in fact filling her own distinct gap in the market: “There are a lot of romance writers out there, and whilst I enjoyed reading them, I found  it quite hard to identify with the characters, because they’re all a lot older than me, and at a very different place in their circumstances and life-experience.”

So, give us a taster…

Her debut novel, The Kissing Booth tells the tale of a teenage romance. Or as a reviewer on teen site  Sugarscape.com puts it: “Rochelle Evans is pretty, popular – but she’s never been kissed. Then there’s Noah, a volatile bad ass and total player.” It’s not long before they’ve smooched, and Rochelle finds herself in a head-says-no-heart-says-yes dilemma.

And when she’s not writing?

It’s seems she’s not letting the success and celebrity go to her head. She’s currently completing her first year as a physics student at Exeter University, which, she says, is her top priority: “I’m determined to see through my degree, so I have an alternative career, and so that writing can stay fun rather than something I have to do purely to make a living.”

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