From Wattpad to Film: An Interview with Kate Marchant, Author of “Float”

Andrea Bang in denim overalls and Robbie Amell in sweatpants and shirt sit on a wooden wall.
Andrea Bang and Robbie Amell have a conversation in their movie ‘Float’. Photo courtesy Wattpad.

Float is a new movie, produced by Robbie Amell, and is based on the Wattpad hit novel of the same name by Kate Marchant. I managed to sit down for a talk with the Marchant about the story, why Wattpad, and more.

The YA book is a coming-of-age romance: a young girl visiting a small town in Canada almost drowns, and falls in love with the lifeguard who saved her. When asked about where she got the idea, Marchant is honest. “I was just such a bookworm,” she said. She started writing when she was 15 or 16. “I really loved Sarah Dessen and Jenny Han. Lots of summertime romance. And I just wanted to write my own: I think most teenagers want to make your own version of the art that you love. So I started piecing together Float.”

Float did very well on Wattpad with a lot of initial interest. “I knew that that style of bad boy romance was doing really well: everybody was gobbling them up,” Marchant said. “Storytelling has always been an important part of my life. And this industry is all about good luck and timing. You have to put in the hard work, but so much of it comes down to luck and just the right person at the right time seeing your story.”

She got the first email about adapting the book into a movie at the start of the pandemic. “I get this email, and it’s a Canadian production company with Robbie Amell that’s interested.” She admits like with all adaptations, it’s not exactly what’s in the book. “I would say it’s a further iteration of it,” Marchant said. But, “I’m not precious about the details. From day one, I was like Robbie’s attached to the project, and I trust past decisions from there. I did give some notes on the script, but it was mostly, ‘Oh, I really liked that moment,’ or ‘I think this moment could be longer.’ I wanted to try to give back based on what I did out of the original novel.”

There are a lot of publishing outlets out there. I asked why she went with Wattpad versus any of the other options for her novel. “I found Wattpad because there were so many other platforms,” Marchant insisted. “I was searching for a place to read. So I started looking online and I found a lot of different platforms that were doing this kind of thing. I think everybody decided on Wattpad because that’s where the community is. They have a lot of community-building features, and there was something really fun about participating in the self-publishing landscape.”

a young white woman with long brown hair and a black shirt stands in front of a grassy area
Photo of Kate Marchant. Photo courtesy Wattpad.

“I really gravitated towards Wattpad, because that is really a home for original fiction. I’ve been writing there for a decade. I like the community, I like the instant feedback. Writing is such a solitary thing: sometimes you get lonely, and you’re like I really liked this chapter – I want to share it with people.”

She goes on to say Wattpad was very helpful when she first saw interest in the adaptation rights, especially since they’ve dealt with that aspect before. “There’s been a lot of like, ‘We have your back, we’re right here. We understand that this is chaotic and weird and you’ve never done it before. We’re here.’ There’s many people that I’ve worked with that are really talented, lovely people, which has been a really nice experience.”

Of course, Marchant still has her fangirl moments. “In the long run, it’ll be fun to say that Robbie in some weird way knows I exist, or my book exists. I loved him in a lot of his movies and shows. And then it just kept going well, and I kept getting the updates that, you know, ‘oh, we’re moving. So we’re going to start filming: we would like you to come up and visit the set.'”

The film is co-written by Jesse LaVercombe and Sherren Lee, and I asked if she considered writing the screenplay herself. “I took a screenwriting class at USC,” she said. “I think for me, I enjoy the practice of it, but it’s not my thing. I enjoy it the same way I enjoy taking poetry classes. I’m like, ‘This is a really fun exercise. This stretches my brain and gets another creative muscle going.’ I guess all my books are very introspective, and I feel like that’s more difficult to do in screenwriting. It’s a skill I just don’t have yet. I don’t know if I’ll develop it over time. I’m never going to say never, but it’s definitely not my focus right now.”

As for what’s next on her plate? She’s writing adult romance under a pen name that, “I have not disclosed just because I want to make sure there’s enough distance from Float. I know that a lot of Float readers are teenagers, and I’m not ready to tell them, ‘Hey, there’s an adult romance out there by me.’ Just because I’m kind of cautious. So, what I’m up to lately: working with Wattpad, and we’ll see what else comes out.”

Float the movie version went into commercial release in February, and is available on streaming platforms now. Float the book version is available wherever you get your books.

But Marchant may not autograph books: “I’m still very shy with [signing books], especially if I’m signing another person’s book. I feel like I just get very awkward. I have to actually process the idea of people buying my art and caring about it enough to want me to physically sign a book; it’s still very strange to me – really humbling.”

Author: Angie Fiedler Sutton

Angie Fiedler Sutton is a writer, podcaster, and all-round fangirl geek. She has been published in Den of Geek, Stage Directions, LA Weekly, The Mary Sue, and others.

She also produces her own podcast, Contents May Vary, where she interviews geeky people about geeky things. You can see all her work (and social media channels) at

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