Courtney Bowen


Courtney Bowen grew up with fond memories of going to her local bookstore or library and browsing through the shelves, searching for the right book to read, something that would suit her taste for humor, excitement, and drama. She gravitated towards science fiction and fantasy books, and occasionally historical fiction as well, so long as it had a unique, unusual bent on history. She continues to work on the Legends of Arria series and will publish the original The Legends of Arria 2002 series that the newer version is based upon. She occasionally writes poetry and short stories.

Smashwords Interview

What's the story behind your latest book?
Well, the story behind The Legends of Arria series dates back to sixth grade, 2000, when I had the idea of a girl in a rowboat adrift on an ocean, running aground on the shore of a magical realm called Arria. After a series of adventures, she would have found a new life for her there and tried to raise a family, until her daughter was lost and had to find her way back home. Yet the form of the ideas changed, and Arria changed, so that by 2002, it became the story of a young man who set out on a quest on behalf of the woman he loved in The Knights of Arria 2002, which had a rather simplistic style that developed a bit more in the year or two it took to write.

This story developed over several years, going further ahead a generation or two in the sequels. But then I felt the need to go back and start reworking the beginning of the story, again and again. The 2008 version (on Amazon) was mostly just a revamp of the 2002 version, which added some more depth and plot changes to the story, yet it wasn't enough. I wanted to find a better angle on the story, more mature and developed with characters having real thought processes and getting into backstories and realistic character motivations a bit more. Then I got the idea to get into Coe Baba, Basha's hometown, a bit more and really showcase his adoptive parents Habala and Geda, his sword-fighting mentor Sir Nickleby, Basha's girlfriend Jawen and her family, Oaka and his girlfriend Sisila, which then included her family and finally the Old Man, who became very important in this process.

The Old Man had been lurking in the background for a long while as an immortal storyteller, but he really had no story beyond that to latch onto. So I gave him one and created new characters, Nisa and her mother Brigga, to help him fill out his new role. When I first came up with the idea of Nisa, I thought of her as Oaka's and Basha's sister who would narrate the story and eventually team up with the Old Man. But being their sister didn't really work out and so the relationship was changed. I felt the need to delve into Jawen's home life more, introduce her extended family and get her father Lapo the merchant more involved. Previously, Jawen's romances with Basha and Hastin were simplified, so I made it more complex, unpredictable, and emotional.

This also happened with Sisila. I made her the baron's daughter, Hastin became her brother, and I moved away from portraying her 'crazy/grief-stricken' phase over Oaka leaving. Iibala became Sir Nickleby's daughter and more important as a character, more heavily involved in the action of the story, same with Sir Nickleby as well. Habala's and Geda's roles were more enhanced as parents and their relationship changed and developed, especially with the introduction of Smidge, Geda's brother, to complicate matters.

Coe Baba as a whole had been a rather simple, unfulfilled place. So I made the town bigger and more complex, with fully realized characters and places. It was also more mysterious and haunted, being genuinely threatened by evil outside forces. It made the lives of the characters inhabiting this place a whole lot more interesting. All of these changes were made with the start of Basha's story in The Smiling Stallion Inn. The consequences of these changes continue on in Servants and Followers, Power Over Death, The Tiger of Light and more coming soon.
Who are your favorite authors?
One of the first authors that I absolutely adored was Lloyd Alexander, who wrote such books as the Westmark trilogy, The Iron Ring, The Remarkable Journey of Prince Jen, The Arkadians and the Prydain Chronicles. The very first book of his that I read was Time Cat. Terry Pratchett became a favorite author of mine and I have read almost all of his Discworld novels. I really got into Neil Gaiman with Neverwhere, and went on to read Amerian Gods, Anansi Boys and several volumes of The Sandman. J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter also became a favorite of mine, although I never would have read the first book if I had not received it at a Christmas book exchange in 1999. I struggled somewhat with Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle, but it was rewarding, and I read Cryptonomicon.

I am fond of Michael Chabon and The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. Diana Wynne Jones is also a favorite of mine, especially with Deep Secret. Who can forget William Goldman and The Princess Bride? In 2006, I started watching Doctor Who, and I have gone deep into it, reading various New Adventures, Virgin Adventures, Eighth Doctor Adventures, IDW Doctor Who comics and Doctor Who Magazine comics. And the poor animals of Richard Adams' The Plague Dogs and Watership Down. In some ways, there is no simple answer as to 'Who are your favorite authors', for I like a lot of them.
Read more of this interview.

Where to find Courtney Bowen online

Where to buy in print


The Tiger of Light (The Legends of Arria, Volume 4)
Series: The Legends of Arria, Book 4. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 130,200. Language: English. Published: October 7, 2014. Category: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
Despite losing a brother and a lover, Basha and his friends continue, guided by fate and determination, to reveal the truth about Basha’s family and confront Doomba. Across the country, their allies prepare for battle as evil insidiously attacks them and a magical force for good revives. Please rate and review.
Power Over Death (The Legends of Arria, Volume 3)
Series: The Legends of Arria, Book 3. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 161,330. Language: English. Published: July 6, 2014. Category: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
The town of Coe Baba reels from a devastating massacre and prepares for trial. Basha and his friends learn more about their magical powers and how to wield the Swords of Arria. Yet doubts begin to surface about their capabilities as they face death and the darkness of Doomba’s shadows. The group begins to crack underneath the pressure. What power can overcome death? Please rate & review.
Servants and Followers (The Legends of Arria, Volume 2)
Series: The Legends of Arria, Book 2. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 136,570. Language: English. Published: March 15, 2014. Category: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
Basha and Oaka set off on a dangerous quest to retrieve Tau's Cup and survive several mad adventures. They are joined by Fato the talking falcon and Monika, a warrior who has suffered tragedy in her past. Oaka suspects the newcomers hide deep secrets. Back home, their mother suspects something is wrong and Basha's former girlfriend Iibala gets involved to help out. Please rate and review.
The Knights of Arria 2002 (The Legends of Arria 2002, Vol. 1)
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 151,220. Language: English. Published: February 1, 2014. Category: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy
The original 2002 YA version of ‘The Legends of Arria’ series, vol. 1-4. In the legendary land of Arria, trapped in a Dark Age for over 2,000 years, a young man named Basha swore an oath to his beloved to bring back the ancient relic Tau's Cup. He set off on a quest that would start a saga and a New Age, fleeing and fighting against the minions of the ancient Doomba. Please rate and review.
The Sable Valley
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 4,200. Language: English. Published: October 24, 2013. Category: Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera
And then she was waking up to the sound of klaxons blaring. Lieutenant Caroline Swanson, lately graduated from the Central Planet's space program, revives in the midst of a horrible nightmare on board her ship. Please rate and review.
The Smiling Stallion Inn (Legends of Arria, Vol. 1)
Series: The Legends of Arria, Book 1. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 126,630. Language: English. Published: September 15, 2013. Category: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
Basha the adopted son of the local innkeeper wants to propose to Jawen the wealthy merchant's daughter at the Courtship ritual. But family, former lovers, and past scandals get in the way. As the evil minions of Doomba seek to destroy the tiger of light before he can arise, unlikely protectors step up to defend Basha and the townspeople of Coe Baba. Please rate and review.
A Song of My Heart
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 1,710. Language: English. Published: September 2, 2013. Category: Fiction » Poetry » Contemporary Poetry
A short, abstract collection of poetry and song lyrics sharing feelings of love, lost relationships, and the art of music in expression. Please rate and review.

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