I have the absolute honour of helping one of my dear writing friends, Taryn Bashford, launch the new cover of her upcoming YA novel, titled The Harper Effect. I met Taryn through my SCBWI group and regularly catch up with her at writing conferences. She has been a great support to me and it is fantastic to be able to likewise support her. Here's Taryn to tell us more about her novel and your sneak peak of the new cover!
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.
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. To prove the point, those girls who haven’t dropped sport in high school have more positive body images than non-athletes (Sabo & Veliz’s study, Go Out and Play; Youth sport in America).
I know that when I’m training – I’m now doing triathlons – I 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.
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.
I’m thrilled to finally be revealing the cover for my characters who are dying to get out into the world.
So, want to know more about the novel?
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.
An excerpt from The Harper Effect:
The dining room is where the ghosts and monsters play. That’s what Jacob said when I was five and he was six, necks curling around the half-open door, our eyes blurting fright. On a dare, we’d tiptoe into the room, dash around the table then jump through the French windows into the garden, screaming with delighted terror. Nearly twelve years later, it’s still my least favourite room in the house. Maybe that’s because it’s where the recent pep talks have taken place and the grandfather clock seems to count down the seconds to the end of life as I know it.
To pre-order THE HARPER EFFECT:
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Taryn 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. The first draft of The Harper Effect was written when Taryn was 14 years old, and evolved over many drafts to include details from the real life of a professional tennis player and coach, her brother.