The Twenty-Something Series: Wrapping Up 2018

2018 has been a crazy year for me - between two moves, the release of my movie, travelling and applying for a job... It's been full on! Find out more in this wrap-up post.
2018 has been one of my craziest years yet.

I don't know where all the time has gone, but it's that time of year to look back over what's happened (and while I'm sure I will have forgotten something, I'm in awe of exactly how much I've done!)

So with that: let's crack on!

The Kissing Booth movie was finally released...

Back in 2013, I sold the rights for the movie adaptation of my novel The Kissing Booth to UK-based production company Komixx. Last year, I flew out to Cape Town for a week to see it being filmed, and finally, this year, on May 11th, it was released on Netflix.

The trailer had done crazy well, currently with 16 million views in just 7 months (currently standing at Netflix's fifth most-watched YouTube upload!) and the reception the movie received blew us all away. 

You can find all my blog posts about TKBmovie on my blog here, to read more about how I wrote the novel, my most memorable moments from set, things you might have missed in the movie, and more.

...and became the most rewatched Netflix Original of the year!

That's right! Netflix don't release a lot of stats (though I've been given a handful to emphasise just how well the movie has been doing) and this is one of the very few they released publicly. Back in May/June, Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer at Netflix, said that TKB was one of the most popular movies on the platform. And more recently, Netflix shared that it was their most re-watched Original Movie of 2018. 

For something I wrote when I was 15/16 just for fun, that just bowls me over. Talk about a passion project.

The Kissing Booth actually sold out, for a while - and made it back onto bestseller lists!

It was hanging out near the top of the iBooks chart for a while after the trailer and movie were released. And when you consider this is a book that's now six years old (the ebook, at least - the paperback is just a little less than that), that's crazy. It was popular when it first came out - because it was already crazy popular on Wattpad, because I was only 17 at the time so that got plenty of media attention, because it was a book Random House had taken from online... So seeing the resurgence was unexpected and amazing.

The publishers were reprinting the paperback with the new movie cover (which I'm beyond in love with) and that meant they had limited stock of the book for a while. To the point where it completely sold out online. You couldn't get a paperback copy of it anywhere. That was incredible.

I went to Brazil...

The amount of messages I was getting from Brazilian fans was incredible. They were so in love with The Kissing Booth that my Brazilian publisher, Astral Cultural, invited me out to Brazil in August.

I do have a full-time day job, and was trying to save up my leave for other things, so I ended up only flying out for a weekend. 

I mean, literally. I flew out Friday night after work, landed 6am in Sao Paulo, did a bunch of interviews and stuff on the Saturday, spent Sunday doing a panel, hundreds of autographs, and more interviews, before flying back on Monday afternoon. I was back in the office on Wednesday morning. 

Oh, and did I mention, I had to have bodyguards at the event in Brazil, to stop me from being mobbed? People literally screamed when they saw me. I'm still not over it.

You can read all about my whirlwind trip to Brazil here.

(And Brazil became the first country to ever publish my novella The Beach House!)

The Beach House is the companion novella I wrote to The Kissing Booth. I posted it on Wattpad back in 2011 shortly after I finished uploading TKB, and it's stayed there ever since. I made no plans to publish it and nobody had ever really asked - until Brazil. TKB was so popular over there that not only did they buy my other books, but they also bought The Beach House, becoming the first country to ever publish it! Which is very, very cool.

I went to New York for WattCon 2018

After the madness of Brazil in August, I was invited out to New York City to attend WattCon, a weekend-long convention celebrating all things Wattpad, filled with panels and book signings. 

I've always wanted to go to New York and wanted to go for a few extra days to pack in the sightseeing. 

Naturally, my parents said they couldn't let me go to New York and go exploring by myself, so they came with me. We saw the Statue of Liberty, went up to the top of Rockefeller Centre and the Empire State Building, saw two Broadway shows and did a bus tour (to name a few things!) and I spent the whole weekend hanging out at WattCon.

The entire thing was a blast. I loved it all. You can read my WattCon wrap-up post here, or more about the whole New York trip here.

I still can't really believe I went to New York this year. It was another whirlwind trip (if a little longer than Sao Paulo) and everything I dreamed it would be.

I finished (and edited) a new book, and started a second new one!


And no: neither of those books have anything to do with a TKB sequel haha.

Although something like that would be really fun to see...

No, the books I've been working on are something a little different: still lots of strong friendships and romance and (I hope) comedy, but this time, I'm focusing on twenty-something characters. Which is very different and very, very fun. Watch this space for more news... and keep your fingers crossed for me!

And in other news in my life:

I helped start up an internal women's network at work

Back in January time, a bunch of us at work got together and decided to start up an internal women's network. After launching in March, we formed a committee (nearly 20 women from across the business) and the network has over 200 members now. We get involved in business initiatives (like things to support working parents) and run events to help inspire and coach people.

I manage things around the comms and some of the data for the network, which is something I really enjoy - and while it's been a lot of fun and incredibly rewarding to be part of this, it's been amazing to see the response from people, and how much they get out of the network. Another 'passion project' from a few of us has turned into something meaningful and impactful, and that just feels so humbling.

I moved (twice)

You guys might remember me saying that last year, I joined an IT Graduate Scheme working for an energy company. It's a placement-based scheme with six-month rotations. I started the year based in Durham, getting snowed in regularly, and with a few trips out to the office in Germany for a project. 

In March, I moved to Swindon (which is kind of near London, for those of you unfamiliar) for a new placement. I really enjoyed the work there, and loved the team and office. I wasn't such a big fan of living in Swindon if I'm honest, but I was so busy it didn't matter too much. If I wasn't celebrating the release of my movie and doing things around that, I was editing or working on my new book, on a family holiday, popping to Brazil for a weekend, or looking for somewhere to live for my next role and then moving again.

I was sad to leave the Swindon office, but now I live near Birmingham (in the Midlands) and love it there. The work is brilliant, I'm a huge fan of the town centre and the location, and my sister has started uni up there now so I've seen her a few weekends, which has been really nice.

I am a bit sick of boxes and packing tape by this point, I will admit. The whole rigmarole of moving (sorting out new bills and council tax, changing my address, registering with a new GP, the whole lot) is stressful and time-consuming, but hopefully I'll be sticking around this place a little while longer now - which leads me to my next point...

I applied for a permanent role at work!

I am SO excited about this one! I really love my job. The role I'm doing now is challenging, but in the best way, and I just feel like I get so much out of it. I don't plan to be a full-time author (at least, not for a good long while) because I honestly like my job, and it's the kind of thing I always saw myself doing.

Fortunately, I've been able to apply for a role that means I'll be carrying on with what I do right now, but on a permanent basis, instead of as part of the graduate scheme. I put together a CV, sent it off, and hopefully will hear in the New Year about an interview to secure the role. Wish me luck!

So what's in store for 2019?

Hopefully, lots more exciting things!

2018 has been such a crazy one for me and just so full on, it's nice to have a break now over Christmas to just chill. the heck. OUT.

As for what's next, I'm hoping to hear something about the new book I've finished and edited soon-ish, and I'm planning to finish my other new book asap. (But since it's set in summer, it's been a bit of a struggle getting in the right mood to work on it lately, while I've been, quite literally, dreaming of a white Christmas, and all that.)

Like I said - hopefully, I'll secure a permanent role at work, which would be incredible news. And while I'm ultimately looking to buy a house, I think I'll be staying put in my flat for a while longer... so I'm looking forward to not having to pack up and move again in three months' time!

I'd also like to read a lot more in 2019. The past year, I haven't really read many books, so that's definitely going to be a resolution for the New Year. Shout me any recommendations in the comments!

What's been your favourite thing from 2018, and what are you most looking forward to next year? Let me know in the comments below, I'd love to hear!

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.