When a teenage Beth Reekles checked her emails before school one morning, she was shocked.

The young author from Rogerstone in Newport had been uploading chapters of what would become her first novel for young adults, The Kissing Booth, to the story-sharing site Wattpad every few days, and her readership had begun to build.

But she was totally unprepared for, as she described it, "a few hundred emails" in response to her latest chapter, which had left the story on a thrilling cliff-hanger.

Beth, who attended Bassaleg School, had been using the site to write her book since she was only 15.

Author Beth Reekles, 25, from Newport

"I had always really liked writing, I was the kind of person who wrote short stories in school that were five pages when they were supposed to be one page," she told me over the phone this week.

"I really liked how I could write anonymously on Wattpad, because at the time I think I saw writing as kind of a weird hobby.

"As the story started to get more popular on the site I became more open about it with friends and family."

The online attention on the site kickstarted a whirlwind success story; in October 2012, Beth, now 25, received a message from publisher Penguin Random House saying they were interested in publishing her novel.

"I was 17 at the time - it was actually a week after I submitted my UCAS application for university," she remembers. "I freaked out and ran into my parents to show them the message."

After scouring LinkedIn to verify the person who contacted her was real, Beth travelled to London with her dad to sign a three-book deal with Random House.

For a teenager yet to finish school, it's something that to this day she describes as "like a really strange dream".

"I never expected anything from it, and then we were sitting in this fancy office in London, with people talking to you about publishing, contracts and everything," she admits.

Still, for Beth the story was not to end there. The Kissing Booth, which tells the story of teenager Elle Evans who falls in love with her best friend's brother Noah, was published by Penguin Random House in 2012.

A year later, she was named by TIME magazine as one of 'The 16 Most Influential Teens of 2013'.

It was when film and TV company Komixx came on board that plans for a movie blossomed, though it wouldn't be immediate.

"There were five years between the book and the movie coming out, so it was a slow process," Beth said of the timeline for the movie release.

"It was a lot of activity in the background but not a lot of news other than the odd update saying 'we've got a scriptwriter', 'we've got a first draft' etc. There was a lot of people asking me 'what's happening with the movie' and I honestly didn't know.

"When they first started talking about it being on an online platform, Netflix wasn't that popular, but by the time they told me Netflix were on board with it, everyone I knew had it in their house. I couldn't have imagined it being done in a cooler way."

Beth said she was always kept in the loop and spent a week on set in Cape Town during filming. She remembers the film's release day in 2018 well.

"I remember I took a day off from my job at the time. I came down and turned on Netflix in the morning and there was my movie.

"Luckily I'd been able to see it beforehand - I'd had a bit of a watch party with family and friends - but the reaction was amazing. I don't think anyone expected it.

"I must've sent hundreds of tweets - I was basically attached to my phone charger in the phone trying to keep up with all the messages. I was so excited to see people talking about it and being so invested in it."

Beth on the set of 'The Kissing Booth'

The Kissing Booth became a popular watch among Netflix users, with Netflix's CCO Ted Sarandos citing the film as a "hugely popular original movie" for the streaming service.

It's no surprise then that more success has followed; On July 24, the sequel was released on Netflix, and earlier this month Beth announced the exciting news that a third book, based on the script of the upcoming third film The Kissing Booth 3: One Last Time, is due to be released next year.

While details are being kept under wraps, Beth, who studied a physics degree in Exeter University, said she is now at a stage where she is more comfortable with her writing flow than ever.

"After I was first published, I sort of had a time where I tried to take myself seriously as a writer, and I don't think it really worked for me.

"I like to have fun with my books, and I felt there was a lot of pressure because the first book had done so well online.

"I just had to remind myself not to think too hard about it - it's a character driven story and so I had to just stick to that."

Despite her success, Beth, who is now based in Solihull, works as an IT service manager and prefers to dedicate her spare time to her writing.

"I always saw myself in an IT office job growing up and still see myself trying to build a career in that, so I don't see myself giving up any time soon to pursue writing," she said.

"I know that I might be able to write tens of thousands of words in a week or two, but then not write again for two months, so I need something to fill the time when I'm not inspired.

"I'm completely rubbish without a routine, so at least I know if my time is limited I have to get things done!"

Telling a story on the subject of young love, one must imagine, be quite different when you're 15 compared to when you're 25?

"The thing about the books is that the characters aren't polished, they make a lot of mistakes," Beth said.

"I have had a lot of people say things to me like 'if they'd just had a conversation about it it would've been sorted', and I think that's very true in real life.

"I never tried to make them perfect, I tried to make them human.

"At 15 or 16, at least in my friend group, there was a lot of boy talk, relationships, first kisses, discovering all that, and things like having communication issues.

"It's more drawn from emotion than actual experience though."

Finally, what would Beth say to someone who, like herself, has a passion for writing at a young age, but might not think it was the coolest hobby?

"I would say that the internet can be a force for good. It gave me a sense of community, and of finding people who are like you.

"Being anonymous and having people comment on my work who weren't my friends or family, it gave me the confidence to put myself out there."