I mentioned before that each book in the Dragon Portal series takes place in a different part of Sabine's world. Each place they travel has its own set of rules, culture, and characters.
That's a big part of the reason why it takes me so long to write each of these books.
In Facets of Power, I knew going in that it was going to take place within a mountain city. I began trying to visualize what it would be like to travel into the city.
Drawing upon influences like J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (yep, I went there), and even video games like Bioware's Dragon Age and tabletop games like Warhammer, I was able to get an idea about how the dwarves of Razadon would build their crystal and stone cities.
For all weapon-related matters, I usually refer to my son and his group of merry men and fellow gamers. They love D&D (Dungeons and Dragons). They helped me understand weapons a dwarf might use and even how their government might be set up. With their assistance, I was able to visualize each weapon infused with magical crystals.
For naming each character (because I stink at names), I went to some online fantasy generators to get ideas about typical dwarven names. Each surname needed to be a family name and something tied to each particular guild. I created notecards for each guild leader, listing their name, alignment, and a brief description of their character. If you hop on over to my Facebook reader group (Jamie Waters' Book Dragons), you'll have a chance to help me come up with names for new characters and places!
I'm the queen of whiteboards. I have one in my office scribbled with notes about my current WIP (work in progress). I have another one in my bedroom I use when inspiration strikes at 3am (that happens waaaaay too frequently). My whiteboards became FULL of notes about dwarven life.
For the individual characters, I try to find pictures to help inspire me. Dagmar's character was modeled after Ly Kivihall's Innkeeper's Daughter. Astrid's character was inspired by Ona Kristensen's artwork. Stunning artwork, don't you think?
What inspires you in day-to-day life?