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The teen E L James: Beth Reekles talks 'The Kissing Booth,' sex in YA, and French homework

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Meet Beth Reekles. She’s the author of The Kissing Booth, the YA romance that garnered a record-breaking 40 million hits on the e-book community Wattpad and helped Reekles land a three-book publishing deal with Random House. Oh yeah, and did we mention that she’s only 17? Reekles took time between television appearances (and French homework) to chat with EW about her newfound success, vampire fatigue, and physics.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What’s this whole process been like for you?
BETH REEKLES: Incredibly overwhelming and really exciting. I never expected anything like this to happen. It’s been a bit of whirlwind.

How did all this come about?
Well, I’d been writing for quite a few years, but it started when I put The Kissing Booth on a website called Wattpad in 2010. And then I was contacted by a woman saying that she was interested in publishing it and it’s kind of all gone from there, really.

What was your reaction to getting that email?
I skimmed over it a couple of times and I couldn’t comprehend it. I just ran to my parents with the laptop and made this really weird noise.

Can you talk a little bit about the inspiration behind The Kissing Booth?
I sat one afternoon looking for something to read online and I couldn’t find anything because at that point everything was still vampires and werewolves and angels. I was a little bit sick of that genre. I wanted something that was just regular teen romance. So when I couldn’t find anything I thought, “You know what? I’m just going to write my own book.”

That’s funny because in the book Elle specifically mentions that she enjoys vampire novels.
I kind of just threw that in there because the thing is there are a lot of people who still like vampire books. I still read them. But when I started writing the book, everything was vampires.

Elle is so terrified of Noah’s motorcycle — have you ever ridden one?
No. I haven’t. [Laughs] I would probably react in quite a similar way if I did get on a motorcycle.

Not to spoil anything, but I appreciate that this book features sex — not explicitly, but it is there.
I just wanted to write it honestly. I wasn’t going to skirt around the issue too much. I didn’t feel like it was that big of a deal to their relationship. I wanted to have it happen, but not be a huge thing that became the main focus of the book.

It’s interesting because I’ve seen reviews on Goodreads complaining that teenagers wouldn’t behave like this — drink, go to parties, have sex — but I think that’s exactly how teens behave. Or at least that’s how they behaved when I was one — which wasn’t that long ago.
I see comments like that and I think, “Well, I’m a teenager and I go to parties.” So obviously it’s not that unrealistic.

Is it at all strange to be asked for advice on writing when you’re only 17 years old? You had a whole article on your top tips for teen writers featured in the Guardian.
Well, it was [weird] because it was the Guardian. It’s a big deal. But I get asked for a lot of advice on Wattpad. I get frequent messages from people saying, “I’m trying to write a book, can I get any advice because you’ve done really well on here.” In the end I got so many messages I made a blog page for it and I would just direct people to that.

I know you’re studying physics, but have people been trying to convince you to switch to something like English or literature?
They haven’t been convincing me, but they’ve always been really shocked when I say, “No, I do physics. I don’t study English anymore.” [And they ask,] “But you write books, how does this work?”

How have you been balancing all this with your schoolwork?
I don’t know, but I seem to be managing it somehow.

Got any homework for tonight?
Well… French vocab.

The Kissing Booth will be released in paperback on May 14. The Kindle Edition is available now.

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'Fifty Shades of Grey' author to share her passion for _____ with new how-to guide

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E L James’ latest project is a journal that also offers a few tips on one of life’s most enduring passions: writing.

Vintage Books announced Monday that James has collaborated with the publisher on Fifty Shades of Grey: Inner Goddess (A Journal).

It combines professional advice from the million-selling author and lined pages for readers to set down their own ideas, or “inner goddess.” Vintage says the journal will have a soft leather cover, “bonded.” Vintage is a paperback imprint of Random House Inc.

James’ erotic trilogy was acquired by Vintage last year and has sold more than 70 million copies worldwide. The Inner Goddess journal will be published May 1.

Read more:
‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ coming in hardcover
James Deen on ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’: Christian is ‘a character I could have a lot of fun with’
‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ screenwriter wants NC-17 rating, studio says no rating designated yet

'Fifty Shades of Grey' coming in hardcover

There are so many puns that come to mind with this news, but we’ll spare you. The Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy is finally coming in hardcover – just in time for Valentine’s Day — after becoming massive best-sellers in paperback and digital forms. The three hardback books and a shrink-wrapped box set will be available on Jan. 29.

Different editions of E L James’ paperbacks took up four spots on Nielsen’s list of best-selling books in 2012 — there may be four more in 2013.

Read more:
Meet Babies Grey and Anastasia: ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ inspires baby names
Bad Sex in Fiction Award: Which books beat out J.K. Rowling, ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’
Goodreads Choice Awards 2012 finalists announced

Meet Babies Grey and Anastasia: 'Fifty Shades of Grey' inspires baby names

Call it the Fifty Shades bump — literally. BabyCenter has released their yearly list of most popular baby names and — shocker! — the Class of 2030 will be seeing a lot more Anastasias and Greys. Wait, Greys? Yes, readers. When bestowing a Fifty Shades-inspired moniker on their child, parents chose not Christian, but Grey. The name saw a 20 percent jump from last year. On the girls’ side of things, Anastasia rose ten percent, while Ana climbed 35 spots. I suppose we should just be thankful these parents are still together. Make love, not war, right?

As the child of a voracious reader, this news strikes particularly close to home. My father named me for Gone with the Wind, but my brother was not so lucky (in his eyes) — his name is Dickens and he’s been clamoring to change it to Will since he was 10 (don’t even get me started on our dog Trollope). So on that note, what are the worst book-based names you can think of? Here are my top ten: READ FULL STORY

Laters, baby: Woman cites 'Fifty Shades of Grey' in divorce

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Fifty Shades of Grey has inspired many things: jewelry, baby onesies, cookbooks, Christmas ornaments, and now… a divorce?

No, you gasp! It cannot be! No other book screams (literally) undying romance quite like E L James’s erotic trilogy. But alas, dear readers, it is (allegedly) true. According to a report in the UK’s Daily Mail, a British woman cited Fifty Shades of Grey as evidence of her husband’s “unreasonable behavior,” claiming that he maintained a “boring attitude” towards sex and refused to recreate scenes from the steamy book.

“She thought their sex life had hit a rut — he never remembered Valentine’s Day and he never complimented her on her appearance,” the wife’s lawyer Amanda McAlister said. “So she bought sexy underwear in an attempt to get her husband more involved. She said, ‘Let’s make things more interesting.’” But her husband could not be swayed. “He went ballistic when he found out the name of the book she was reading and told her, ‘It’s all because you have been reading that bloody book.’”

READ FULL STORY

Watch the exclusive trailer for 'Fifty Shades of Chicken': 'I'm going to bind your ankles so your juices will build' -- VIDEO

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There’s no shortage of Fifty Shades of Grey spoofs, spinoffs and coattail-riders. Some of them are kind of weird, some are sad and some are downright desperate. We were ready to write off FL Fowler’s dirty cookbook Fifty Shades of Chicken as just another notch on E L James’ bedpost, but then we watched this exclusive trailer and began to reconsider: READ FULL STORY

'Fifty Shades of Grey' heats up: Charity orders public burning of the erotic novel

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Fifty Shades of Grey just got a whole lot hotter. (Couldn’t resist the pun.)

A British charity for domestic abuse has announced plans to hold a mass burning of E L James’ erotic novel. Clare Phillipson, director of Wearside Women In Need, described the book as “dangerous” and insisted that it could potentially encourage domestic abuse.

“I do not think I can put into words how vile I think this book is and how dangerous I think the idea is that you get a sophisticated but naive young woman and a much richer, abusive older man who beats her up and does some dreadful things to her sexually,” Phillipson said. READ FULL STORY

The latest in 'Fifty Shades of Grey' imitators

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Every day brings news of more and more projects hanging onto Fifty Shades of Grey‘s coattails (or cat o’nine tails).

You can’t blame any of the bandwagon-jumpers, though. E L James’ S&M trilogy is quickly joining the likes of Twilight and The Hunger Games in terms of sales, and Amazon UK has reported that the books have become the best-selling books in the website’s 14-year history, overtaking the Harry Potter series in just four months.

So here’s what’s going on in the world of Fifty Shades. READ FULL STORY

'Fifty Shades of Grey' author netting $1.34 million a week?

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As Anastasia Steele would say, “Holy crap!” E L James, the doyenne of erotic Twilight fan-fiction, reportedly earns $1.34 million per week, which breaks down to around $191,000 per day. That’s not quite Christian Grey money, but James is getting close. Gawker crunched the numbers here:

++ E.L. James earns 7% royalty on every $14 paperback and 25% royalty on every $10 ebook sold.

++ Last month 4 million paperbacks and 1 million ebooks were sold.

Who knows if the numbers are exactly right, but it’s been obvious for a while that the enormous success of Fifty Shades of Grey is not a flash in the pan but an ongoing phenomenon that won’t go away any time soon — even if you’re one of the people who wish it would. READ FULL STORY

E L James' husband writing a 'gritty' young adult novel

Niall Leonard, husband of best-selling erotica author E L James, is stepping out of Christian Grey’s shadow with a book of his own. Random House Children’s Publishing has acquired his young adult novel Crusher, a “gritty” crime thriller about a London teen who’s being accused of murdering his stepfather. Said Leonard in a statement: “Crusher is a story I have wanted to write for years and it finally all came together last November when my wife encouraged me to take part in the Nanowrimo novel-writing event. I am thrilled and delighted that RHCP have picked up Crusher for publication, and it’s a fantastic honor to join the distinguished names on their writers’ list.” The novel will be released by Doubleday in September.

Are you curious about the novel? Are you disappointed that it won’t be “daddy porn”?

Read more:
Bret Easton Ellis bravely volunteers to write ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ screenplay
Now ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ has its own fan fiction. Where does it end?!

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