• Sat. Apr 20th, 2024

Kate Marchant dives into story and seeing her book come to life onscreen – Metro Philadelphia

Float


When 15-year-old Kate Marchant started writing ‘Float‘ on Wattpad in 2012, it was a way to get her love of books and interesting stories out for some of the world to see. Fast forward to the year 2024, that story has now become a movie, starring Andrea Bang and Robbie Amell, which hit theaters and digital earlier this month. To chat more about how it all came to be and what fans of the book can expect for the adaptation, Marchant sat down to dive a little deeper into ‘Float.’

Float

Tell me about your start on Wattpad? 

I think I joined in 2011, which feels like a century ago. I was a teenager when I joined, and I was kind of an insatiable reader and really was blowing through my book budget from my parents. They were like, you have got to join the library at your school, you have to find something else—and the library just wasn’t hitting, so I ended up reading online. 

I actually started on some other platforms that are no longer around, a lot of fan fiction, a lot of original fiction, and then I ended up on Wattpad. It took me about a year to work up the courage to start writing and share my own stuff. I started writing teen fiction romance in 2011, and then I started ‘Float’ in 2012 and the rest spun off from there. 

Where did the idea for ‘Float’ come from? 

It came out of the books that I was reading. I was a huge Sarah Dessen fan and I was a huge Jenny Han fan, and I love that we’re having a renaissance of them right now. It’s been fun to watch and I can really see where I was coming from as this young writer. 

A lot of people asked, is ‘Float’ based on real life? No, I did not have a fun summer out, summers were spent at home and my family didn’t do a ton of traveling when I was growing up. It was very much, just use your imagination. I picked Florida for the book because I just wanted to imagine somewhere so different, and to me, it was like Florida’s on the other end of the country and that’s the summer vibe. That’s where I’d want to go. So I would say the inspiration for the book came from a lot of different places, but a lot of it was just that teenage imagination and kind of yearning for a fun summer vacation. 

What has the experience been like for you getting to see your work go from the page to the screen? 

It has been a really cool process. I think a lot of people don’t really know much about how movies are made—it’s a funky little industry, and getting a peek into it has made me respect whole other areas of creative industries. I think when you’re an author, you really dig down deep into your specific creative field, and it’s cool to witness a much more collaborative creative endeavor. 

Float
Lionsgate

I was talking to both the writers of the script, Jesse (LaVercombe) and Sherren (Lee)—they did a great job. Sherren was the one kind of pulling from ‘Float’ and really trying to pay homage to the actual original text, while also adding her own spin on it. I think you see in the movie, obviously the lead is Asian Canadian or Asian American I think, and Sharon is Asian Canadian. I am not Asian or Canadian, and it was really cool to watch another creative come in there and put a little bit of sparkle in it and kind of add their own thing. I think that’s probably been the coolest part of the process just from a writer’s perspective.

Did you have any creative input with casting or anything like that? 

From day one, as soon as I heard Robbie Amell was attached to the picture, I kind of was like okay, I think we’re in good hands. At the time I was working on editing my second book for publication and doing my own thing, and I don’t know enough about film. So I told them from day one, listen, I’m going to be pretty hands-off with this. This book, it’s my baby, but I’m also not somebody who’s got a huge ego [to say] this is a perfect book and you have to adapt it just the way it is on the page. 

My first conversation with Sherren, I think she was a little nervous. She had some big ideas to adapt it, like moving it to Canada and changing the ethnicity of the main character. And I told her right off the bat, I love that and I’m very excited for that. I want you to go and do something with this so it feels like it’s a piece of art that you made and that you really care about. 

Sherren was really sweet to reach out several times and share the script and ask if I had feedback. I gave a couple of pointers where I [said] I think this scene was really good, or I think this scene really gets to the heart of who this character is…Sherren and I had discussions about important parts of the movie and of Waverly’s story, and she was able to really honor that. 

For fans of the book, what would you tell them to expect from the movie? And vice versa? 

I would say that this movie is definitely a grown-up version of the book. The book is YA, and a very lighthearted rom-com. It’s a little bit silly and it’s this coming-of-age story…I think Sherren’s film is ultimately the grownup version of that. It’s kind of, okay now in your twenties and you’re trying to figure out who you are and trying to figure out where you belong—which is a slightly different story.

Float
Lionsgate

I think for a lot of the OG fans of ‘Float’, the people who read it when they were teenagers, I think they’re now going to be at the age where it really resonates for them. Waverly is going to be a character that looks a lot more familiar and feels like somebody they can relate to now versus a 17-year-old fumbling their way through high school. 

I would say anybody who’s seen the movie and has not read the book yet, It’s a single POV book and it’s that YA first-person narrator. So you’re going to get a lot more introspection and you’re going to get a lot more of Waverly’s voice and her internal struggle that you don’t get from a movie. I think even though Andrea (Bang) and Robbie both did such a good job of putting those emotions on the screen, I think anytime you read a book, you’re just going to get a much bigger peek into the head of the character.

Catch Float now in select theaters, on digital and On Demand. 



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