Taryn Bashford lives the typical writer’s life, with characters from her books insisting they help make dinner. This can be disconcerting as many of them can’t cook. Having read over 300 YA novels, Taryn knew that this genre was her happy place, a place where she could provide comfort and inspiration to teenagers in those tumultuous, emotional years.
Your debut novel, The Harper Effect comes out on 27 December, 2017. What was the inspiration for the story?
I wrote the very first draft of The Harper Effect over thirty years ago when my 15-year-old brother was playing at Wimbledon and won a scholarship to the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Florida. At the time, I was training for the Olympics in the 400m track event. Sport was and still is an important part of my life, and even as a teen, I could see how it helped me through the usual teen angsts that we must all survive.
You mention that you want to inspire young people with your writing. What are your hopes for this novel?
I hope that my novel, The Harper Effect, will do two things for my readers: firstly, be that helping hand, that metaphorical hug that any coming of age story provides, and secondly, represent sporty women as normal, cool, admirable and successful so that teen girls can aspire to a new type of role model. If girls can see themselves represented as strong, powerful and athletic, they will be more likely to participate in sport. Instead of bombarding girls with images of external beauty that they should live up to, let’s bombard them with confident, healthy female role models.
The Harper Effect shows that through dreaming big, working hard, and believing in yourself, you can achieve anything. Let our teens, both boys and girls, see that women can play sport—they can be confident, they can be winners, they can be star athletes. Let them see their sister or best friend or cousin can be involved in professional women’s sport.
Let’s present girls with alternate choices for their future. Let’s empower them and help them find self-realisation. Sport can help girls to BE SOMEBODY.
Do you play any sports yourself?
Yes. I’m currently training for triathlons. Training makes me feel strong and fit and confident and this in turn, makes me feel powerful and full of positivity, yet when I’m ill or not training, being physically weaker and less fit affects my self-esteem and my ability to cope with the challenges in life.
When you aren’t writing, what do you love to do?
Of course, I love to read and try to read at least one book a week. But to get away from the world of books, I’m a bit of an adrenaline junkie and I enjoy training to feel fit and strong. I recently competed in my first Olympic length triathlon, and at my last writer’s retreat I found myself dangling from an abseiling rope 2000m above the ground.
About The Harper Effect:
The Harper Effect is the story of a girl who learns to win from a boy who has lost everything.
Harper Hunter doesn’t know how it came to this.
Her tennis dreams are collapsing; her coach says she doesn’t have what it takes to make it in the world of professional tennis.
Her new doubles partner is moody, mysterious and angry at the world. What is he hiding?
Harper’s in love with Jacob, her neighbour, but he is her sister’s boyfriend. Or, he was. Harper could never betray Aria with Jacob … could she?
As her heart and dreams pull her in different directions, she must figure out exactly what she wants. And just how hard she’s willing to fight to get it.