Writing Wednesdays: The inspiration behind The Kissing Booth spin-off The Beach House

Eight years ago, I wrote a spin-off novella to The Kissing Booth called The Beach House - and now it's only a few days until I'm going to see it published! In this post, I talk about the inspiration behind writing it.

For those of you who don’t know, my upcoming book The Beach House is a companion novella to The Kissing Booth (ya know, the best-selling YA romance novel, with a Netflix adaptation that became the most rewatched movie of 2018? That one). The story of The Beach House takes place during the summer of The Kissing Booth, before Noah goes to college – so no, to clarify upfront, it’s not a sequel.

It’s being published THIS SATURDAY, May 11th, as an ebook. You can order your copy from Amazon UK here. It’s available in Commonwealth, US and Canada, with translations currently sold in Germany, France, Poland, and Italy - hopefully with more to come! I’m aware it’s already out in Brazil, and apparently the new edition will be re-issued there.

Anyway. With that out of the way, I wanted to talk in today’s Writing Wednesday post about the inspiration behind The Beach House, and why I wrote it.

As a little background in case you don’t know: I posted The Kissing Booth on Wattpad in Summer 2011. A few weeks after finishing it, I uploaded The Beach House. 

Why did I write The Beach House?

Honestly, it wasn’t even intended to be a companion novella at first. It wasn’t intended to be anything.

I was writing The Kissing Booth and working my way through the summer before Noah goes to college, after (spoiler alert) Lee has found out that Elle and Noah are dating. I loved the idea that Elle and the Flynns spent some time every summer away at a family beach house. So it went into the book.

I had maybe three to five chapters, something in that range, before I realised that it really wasn’t doing anything for the story. I loved spending time with the characters and exploring more with them, and my readers loved having more of the characters.

But I was writing a lot about the beach house, and the story was going nowhere, and I felt like I was ready to draw it to an end. So I took the chapters out, saved them somewhere else, and finished the book.

Honestly, there was a kind of ‘epiphany’ moment.

Somewhere between me realising that those chapters I’d dedicated to summer at the beach house weren’t necessary, and me deciding to save them in a separate document instead of just hitting ‘delete’, I realised: my readers would love this. I could do something with it.

Even though The Beach House had no ‘plot’ to add to TKB, I figured that, for those readers who were so deeply invested, it would be a fun little extra for them. I'd seen people responding to the characters even when I'd uploaded a 'fluff' chapter, so figured they might enjoy these chapters about the beach house, too.

And besides – it was something I wanted to write. That’s why the beach house even existed as a concept in the first place. It was a fun little extra for me, too. I was ready to wrap up The Kissing Booth, but wasn't done with my characters just yet. 

How the writing process behind The Beach House worked

After I finished The Kissing Booth, I went back to the chapters I’d cut out. I had no idea how long it would be or where it was going or what was going to happen, just that I wasn’t quite done with my characters yet, and that I wanted to finish telling the story of these few days at the beach house. 

It was different to the stories I've written in that it was only ever intended to be a short story, or novella. And it was kind of strange in that, unlike other things I'd written, I had a very clear idea of where the ending would be and what would come afterwards - since it took place during The Kissing Booth. 

To be clear, though, I didn’t write it because it was some pragmatic or political decision to get more readers, or anything like that. I posted it online because people loved Elle, Lee and Noah so much, but I still wrote it primarily for me.

The decision to publish

And now that The Kissing Booth has kind of ‘taken off’ again since Netflix, it made sense to publish it traditionally when my agent said that publishers were interested. So I went through a gruelling several hours of editing it and fixing it up, but now it’s something I’m actually really proud of.

Honestly, up until now, it was just A Thing I Wrote. I didn’t hate it or anything, but it was just… something I wrote just because, and posted on Wattpad, and people seemed to enjoy it. I'd never thought too seriously about it, never even edited it more than a quick proofread before sharing on Wattpad. I'd never thought of it as being published. It was just a fun little extra. Turns out, it's a fun little extra that publishers wanted. 

I did push to keep the original draft on Wattpad, though, because so many people have come to the TKB series (I HAVE A SERIES NOW?!) through The Beach House on Wattpad. It was really important to me to keep that link, since my journey through Wattpad is a big part of my career path. 

But, yes, for those of you wondering, the published version is so much cleaner - and if you're looking for 'canon', it'll be the revamped published version.

If you've still got any questions about The Beach House, or any of the process behind it, I'd love to hear them - feel free to ask in the comments or Tweet me @Reekles!

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