Courtney Bowen grew up with fond memories of going to her local bookstore or library and reading books full of humor, excitement, and drama. She gravitated towards fantasy books, and they inspired her to write. 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.
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.
In 1950, Joseph Webb boarded a Washington D.C. bus to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the beginning of a two-decade career under J. Edgar Hoover in Nebraska and Texas. No Regrets, Mr. Hoover Part One vibrantly details the author’s first experiences as an FBI agent during the 1950s and 1960s from training to meeting Mr. Hoover, first assignments and gaining expertise.
In the tradition of A Song of My Heart, The Harper Call is a collection of song lyrics and poems written over several years. Several were inspired from the Legends of Arria and Legends of Arria 2002 series, as well as an unpublished novel. The rest have ties to the writer’s life or the writer’s whimsy.
A Legend of Arria: in the final days of the Golden Age, Doomba and his forces approach the walls of Coe Pidaria. But something happens that none of them ever expected, and the Wastelands are created in the first act of the Dark Age.
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.