13. What’s your favorite culture to write, fictional or not?
I love the 18th Century in England (tell me something I don’t know!) It’s boisterous, loud, rude, self-confident, quintessentially English in a kind of lager-lout way, and yet at the same time it’s delicate, refined, intellectual, curious, self-controlled and full of groundbreaking new ideas about the rights of Man (and woman). It’s a spinning bundle of contradictions, generating energy like a dynamo, an age full of hope and enthusiasm and change, where the ancient meets the modern (and they beat each other up before slinging an arm around each other’s shoulder and going off to the pub to get horrendously drunk together.)
14. How do you map out locations, if needed? Do you have any to show us?
If I can find a map (even if it’s an approximate map) I will do so. For “Blessed Isle” I found a great map of Rio de Janeiro in 1769, which seems to have unfortunately been taken down since – my bookmarks now point to a “Page not Found”. But I also used Google Earth to have a good look at Ducie Island, where my heroes are shipwrecked.
If I can’t find a map and it’s a fantasy location, I will draw one myself. This is a map of the elf Queen’s city under the hill in the aptly named “Under the Hill.”
I haven’t filled everything in, as it’s only to give me an idea of what sorts of districts George will have to run through in order to escape. As a matter of fact, I learned from drawing it that his best bet is to get down into the system of pipes carrying the underwater river to various districts. The “one single road to everywhere and it’s guarded at every quarter turn” thing proved to be more of a difficulty to get around than I’d hoped.