Recently I had the opportunity of asking Australian author Taryn Bashford a few questions in the lead up to the release of her first novel The Harper Effect. Many thanks to Taryn for taking time out to answer my questions. A big thank you to Pan Macmillan for sending me a review copy and just in time for the Australian Open too.
The Harper Effect has just been released and there is a link to my review at the end of interview.
TB- Thank you so much for featuring my novel on your blog Jodie, and I’m thrilled that you enjoyed reading The Harper Effect.
1. You originally wrote the first draft of The Harper Effect when you were 14 years old. What were the main changes you made from that first draft to what we see in the final product?
TB- I wish I could say I only made a few changes, but that would be a huge whopper! I think the seed of the idea, the concept of contrasting a sporting champion with her rather difficult personal life, is still intact. Harper may be amazing at tennis, but her personal life is pretty messy – just like any normal teen. Back when I was fourteen though, Aria and Harper were twins. I was given feedback by the industry though, that the market was ‘over’ twins, so I changed that. They are still very close in age, and they do look alike. Secondly, the novel was originally a MG novel. Harper was just 13 years old. But when I re-wrote it, it was clear the consequences of her immature choices would be greater if she was older, and that would make for more emotion and conflict to improve the page turning quality of the novel. I’m really thrilled with the change.
2. This book is influenced by your brothers professional tennis career. Does that mean you relate more to Aria’s character in the book or is he more of a Colt character?
TB- That’s a great question. But I’d have to say my brother is more a mix of Colt (for the reality of the sport rather than the issues he had with his dad), and Harper (for his experiences and feelings as a teen inside an adult world). As for me, I relate to both Harper and Aria. Harper is a determined character who chases goals and it’s that side of her that I relate to. As a teen I trained for the 400m event, hoping to make it to the Olympics, and so I can relate to her fears, triumphs and low spots. However, I also relate to Aria as I play the piano, clarinet and violin, and love opera and classical music, and I think I’m level-headed, a trait she has over Harper.
3. You mention in your acknowledgements that you have a book that is currently unfinished. When might we see it in stores and could you tell us briefly what it will be about?
TB- The unpublished book to which you refer is actually an adult novel. I have spent most of the last 20 years honing my craft by writing adult novels, and that’s not the only unfinished manuscript I have. It was only when I looked at re-writing The Harper Effect, that I considered the YA genre. I can credit Susanne Gervay for her book That’s Why I Wrote This Song, for helping me decide to write YA. After finishing her novel, I knew without doubt that it was the genre I wanted to work within. It had provided me with a comforting hand, a metaphorical hug that I could’ve done with when I was a teen. I wanted to provide the same thing for other teen readers. I read about 100 YA novels in order to learn about this genre, and I loved it to bits. I’ve now read over 300 YA novels. I’ve been asked if I would ever write an adult novel, and the answer is yes. But for now, I’m wholly loving the YA world and I have a few more YA books in me yet.
4. I have to mention that the Backstreet Boys are also in your Acknowledgements. As a massive fan of BSB, I am curious to know which of their albums you most listened to while writing The Harper Effect?
TB- I mostly listened to the Backstreet’s Back album and especially the song As Long As You Love Me because it reflects how Harper learns to feel about Colt and vice versa. But I tend to just have my playlist on shuffle, earphones on, and I really love the Never Gone album.
5. Lastly, I would love to know who your favourite author is and how they have inspired you?
TB- I think favourite authors change as you grow up and develop. And there are so many of them! When I was a child I devoured Enid Blyton. I would write fan fiction based on The Magic Faraway tree, and many of her other books. To this day I respect her work ethic and her awesome imagination. Last year my favourite author was Jandy Nelson, and now it’s Cath Crowley. I’m putting it down to their lyrical style of writing and the way both authors make me want to curl up with their books and read and re-read them because they’re so delicious. The Harper Effect is more about inspiring people than being delicious, but I hope to leave the reader with that same ‘feel-good’ emotion when they turn the last page.
Where to buy a copy:
Head over here for my review and as always, happy reading x