Q: You have such a vastness of landscapes, countries, places, how do you come up with ideas for these different Environments?
From reading as many books as I can get my hands on. There is nothing so instructive as to see what others have already thought of and then how you might shape the same problems and solutions for a different or unique outcome. But then of course there are cautions: plagiarism, for example, is considered bad form, while being labeled ‘derivative’ is to be dismissed. One can certainly use the same ingredients as others have — it’s the way, naturally, in which you put them together.
For example, you may feel you need a swamp setting to further a particular part of you story. But what might be interesting about your swamp that would be different from others a reader may have read about previously? Hopefully, some art would go into how you frame your swamp so that it is perceived by the reader as interesting, original, satisfying, and stimulating as well as accepted.
Q: Is it more intuitive or structured?
I think I may have answered a similar question as this in an earlier column. Please take a look at…
Q: Are there any particular places that have a very special meaning for you?
Hmm. Looking ahead, I’d have to say Thaddeus’ home, the Tower of the North — the way it was eventually configured. Waterfront property with a view! Who could ask for more? But it’s the people rather than the settings that make them memorable, I think.
Other places that might be intriguing, though, could include some of the cities of the Rus. Also, King Zaud’s court in Melisol, Mauretesia. Now that’d be a hoot!