Writing Wednesdays: 2 years on from #TKBmovie

In this post I talk about how much things have changed two years on from the release of The Kissing Booth on Netflix - from new books to rediscovering my spark!

Can you actually believe it's been two years since The Kissing Booth hit Netflix?

I can't.

I mean I really, really can't. In some ways, it feels just like yesterday. I can remember visiting my family to watch it just ahead of release, and whooping at the top of my lungs on the drive home, feeling totally ecstatic. Running around the supermarket to fill the trolley up with party foods and prosecco and writing 'THE KISSING BOOTH' on chalkboard bunting to hang in my flat, ready for a viewing party that weekend with all of my uni friends. Being attached to my phone for days, weeks, after the trailer dropped, in awe of the influx of messages from excited fans...

Last year, I uploaded this post about how I'd changed in the year since The Kissing Booth dropped on Netflix, and I still stand by all of that. Looking back, it was when I truly realised exactly how I needed to organise my days to not get burnt out and to be my most productive, and it has continued to be a huge confidence boost.

I will never get over the rush of:

"Oh you're a writer? What kind of books do you write? Anything I might have heard of?"

"Yeah! You know The Kissing Booth, on Netflix?"

And that instant recognition - even if they've not watched it, they know exactly what I'm talking about. They know The Kissing Booth. I just love that so much - especially when it's a conversation with the kind of person you know would say 'oh it's JUST a book for teenagers, then,' - as though this is some meagre feat.

In the two years since the TKB movie was released, so much more has changed.

Last year, I said that the movie had meant I was able to travel more - and this still rings true. I got to return to Brazil in 2019 and go to Rio for the Bienal (which was fantastic!), something I was really excited to do after the São Paulo Bienal in 2018. (I'd hoped to maybe go back again this year, but sadly, don't think that's going to happen given, well, you know. I was also invited to Poland earlier this year, but had to turn that down due to coronavirus, too.)

Oh, and, of course, I got to go back to Cape Town - but more on that later...

The Kissing Booth has now also become a four book series!


And in case you're wondering, that's:
  1. The Kissing Booth
  2. The Beach House (a spin-off novella that takes place during TKB, the summer before Noah leaves for college)
  3. The Kissing Booth 2: Going the Distance (the sequel!!!!!)
  4. The Kissing Booth: Road Trip! (a spin-off short story for World Book Day, currently only available in the UK)

And there is a SECOND movie on the way!

Yes! Everyone was asking about it for so long but last year, we announced that there would indeed be a second movie to The Kissing Booth coming to Netflix! There's still no news (at the time of posting this, at least) on exactly when you can expect that, but it will be happening...

And, before you ask, it is based on my sequel, so in the meantime, you can read that to tide you over!

The fact that we had a second movie on the way meant that I got to go back to Cape Town last year to visit set for a week and watch some of it being filmed. I had the most magical time with this - especially because I got to hang out with the cast a little more this time around! 

You can read more about my set visit for The Kissing Booth 2 in this post, or take a read of my must-see must-do parts of Cape Town if you're planning your dream next holiday, once the world starts turning again! 

I've also started branching out into new books...

You might remember that last year, I was working on eight different books - and until May last year when The Beach House was published, I hadn't had anything new published in about five years. Which is all utterly mental to think about now.

I'm mainly known for my Young Adult/teen books (thank you, Kissing Booth) but last year published my debut adult book - and my first Christmas book!

(Although, those of you who've followed me on Wattpad for a while will know I love a good Christmas story.)

It Won't Be Christmas Without You was published in 2019 by Harper Collins, and followed twenty-something twins Cara and Eloise - and not only was it my first adult book, and first Christmas book, but it was pretty different from my others in that it switched perspectives between the twins each chapter, something I'd only ever done before when writing fanfiction!

AND, I've been working on another new adult book (or, at least, adults-in-training, given that they're all twenty-somethings) which I hope to publish. 

Oh, AND, because yes, there's MORE, I've recently started uploading a new book onto Wattpad called Lockdown on London Lane, which is a collection of five short stories following twenty-somethings on lockdown in the same building. The first parts are up now if you want to take a look, with new chapters coming every Tuesday!

Aside from this being the shameless self-promo section of this blog post, this is also to emphasise the point I made last year around the release of the movie giving me a big confidence boost and reaffirming my belief in myself. The massive support I got for The Kissing Booth helped give me a boost to try out new things - something I'd sort of forgotten how to do, during my uni years.

It's also helped me realise that I'm good at just being me... because f**k it, why not?

When I went to uni, succumbed to the pressure of this idea that I was now 'A Writer' and should take myself seriously... And in the last couple of years, since moving out, getting a new job, and the movie taking off, I kind of rediscovered that original spark, and my ability to be unashamedly, unabashedly, me.

When I wrote The Kissing Booth and posted it online, my attitude was fairly 'Fuck it, why not?' - and it paid off. I was totally myself online, and it helped me be more myself in real life, too.

That's an attitude I lost a little during uni, but got back again. I cracked jokes when interviewing for the place I work now - because really, why the heck not? I said 'Why not?' and wrote a Christmas book. I say 'Why not?' when I'm asked to do something at work I have no idea how to do yet, but am willing to learn and figure it out. And you know what? I see that attitude as one of my biggest strengths - and I can trace it right back to The Kissing Booth.

I put a lot of work in over the last two years into understanding how I work best, keeping an eye out for burnout, understanding myself better. And last year, I created a vision board and set goals for myself, which I absolutely bloody loved and have done again this year

I've put a lot of time into knowing myself better since the movie came out, and it's paid off - whether in the form of new books, or in interviews, by working in IT even though people are always surprised to hear that, or in coping pretty darn well in lockdown for the last eight weeks completely on my own, if I do say so myself. It's quite honestly one of the best things I ever did (aside from maybe, you know, writing The Kissing Booth).

And hey - being me is working out pretty okay so far.

With any luck, by this time next year, the second film will be out on Netflix, and I'll get to see how much that changes things for me, too.

And, of course, how else to end this post than by saying thank you?

Thank you to everyone who's watched the movie. Thank you to everyone who shared the trailer with their friends when it came out. Thank you to everyone who read those first chapters of The Kissing Booth when I was originally posting it on Wattpad. Thank you to everyone who's read any of the published books. Thank you to you, for your support. This really wouldn't have been possible without you guys - so thank you.

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