Firstly I would like to give my special thanks to Pan Macmillan Publishers for selecting me to be part of this Summer Reading Blog Tour and for sending me an Advanced Review Copy of this book.
Sadly, when I came on board, my excitement was rattled as a controversial issue came to light regarding the author of this book. Whilst I do not support any level of bad form anywhere, in any community, I would like to state my posting here does not endorse or reject the issue that came to light. As I was not directly involved in the incident that occurred, I cannot make comment on the matter other than I sincerely hope both parties are able to reach a mutual resolution amicably and I send my best to both of them.
The Harper Effect
I am a fan of the Young Adult genre and as an adult reading this book, I didn’t mind the story line as it was interesting to experience the life of a young tennis player who was dumped by her coach and is trying to deal with this and life in general. I agree, the character can be unlikeable with such problematic behaviour demonstrated throughout the book. However, the way I saw this character, it felt like reading about child stars. It doesn’t excuse the behaviour but it could explain it to a degree. Some say child stars who engage in reprehensible behaviour aren’t always held accountable as they may not have the maturity or capacity to understand or self-reflect due to the pressure to be perfection. Personally, I can see the book going 2 ways. I can see a contemporary young adult reader enjoy the story, especially with the sporty/tennis elements illustrated throughout the book that you would not often see and I can also see the reader having issue with the character herself.
As far as a recommendation goes – I would recommend anyone who has heard about this book simply to read it for themselves to form their own opinion on the book as I normally do with books I hear about.
Q&A with author, Taryn Bashford on 23 December 2017 as part of the Summer Reading Blog Tour
Is “The Harper Effect” is this your debut novel? Tell us what you have written/published to date.
Yes, The Harper Effect is my debut novel. That’s not to say there aren’t a fair few unpublished ones keeping each other company in a trunk in the attic!
What was your inspiration to write “The Harper Effect” and how did you come up with the characters in your story?
The Harper Effect has been through quite a transformation because it began as a middle grade novel when I first wrote it at the age of 14. At the time, my brother was entering the professional tennis world, while I was training for the Olympics track events. Sport was and still is a big part of my life, so it was only natural that ‘GAME FACE’ as it was once called, was pulled out of said trunk. I already had Aria and Harper in the original story, although back then they were twins! The feedback I got from publishers was that the market was over twins, and so they became sisters instead. I added Jacob and Colt because having read about a hundred YA novels by that stage, I knew I needed a love interest, and a bit of guy conflict is always good. They both came to me quickly and strongly, and sort of wrote themselves into the story.
There appears to be a tennis theme in “The Harper Effect” I am wondering if you a sports fan or player yourself? Is tennis your favourite sport?
My brother is the tennis nut. He played professionally and then became a coach, working with amazing players like Amelie Mauresmo, Michael Chang and Marcos Baghdatis. As an adult I’m very interested in exploring teens who surpass the norm – not just in sport but in any aspect of life. I’m keen to explore what it takes, why they are able to achieve such amazing things, and then to also reveal that they still have flaws, like any average person. I think that makes them more real, and it makes teens wanting to achieve great things feel like it’s a possibility – that anyone can achieve their dreams.
As you were writing this story, what was the best piece of advice you were given that you would pass on to aspiring writers?
To write every day. Even if it’s just for an hour. It keeps you connected to the story and the characters, and it helps you stay in control of all the threads that you’re weaving. I also find that it’s easier to stay immersed in the story world, and that means it becomes so real to you that the characters begin to tell you what story to write.
If you had to choose winter by the fireplace or summer by the beach to read your favourite book, where would you choose?
Definitely winter by the fireplace. When I’m at the beach I like to swim and rock climb and hunt for crabs.
Where is your favourite place to eat?
Do you have any book signing tour plans or scheduled appearances in Australia?
I have an exciting event planned for the 18th January at Annie’s Books in Peregian Beach, QLD. As I’m promoting #GirlsInSport, I have a panel of elite athletes coming to the book launch to reveal how they got into the sport they love and what it takes to reach the levels they have. The panel includes Queensland’s 18 & Under Captain and one of our sprint hopefuls who’s been selected for the Commonwealth Games nomination event. I hope that The Harper Effect will provide sporty and confident role models for our teens, and I hope that the story inspires girls to stay in sport and to dream big.
How can readers get connected with you?
I think I’ve covered most bases with this list 😊
Book trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vs7zV9t8YPY