The fishing village of Calendria, where much of "The Deliverers: Sharky and the Jewel" takes place, was inspired by some of the living history museums I've been visiting since I was a kid. The entire village, although located in the tropics in the book, is based on a New England 19th century village.
Calendria is located on a sheltered harbor. It has a wharf and fishing related buildings such as a fishmonger and a netmender. I guess I was influenced by trips to Mystic Seaport in Mystic, CT, where I'd view scenes like this:
Up the hill from Calendria's harbor, lies the village green. The concept of this came from a traditional New England colonial green, such as you'd see in places like Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge, MA. Usually, tradespeople would have shops on the green, and the wealthier members of the community would also have houses there.
In Calendria, Kate Endria, the daughter of the Lord Mayor--and the one who befriends Eric and Stig--lives in a large house at the head of the green. I imagined that it looked something like this:
It's scenes like these that formed the foundation of a new world that is different and yet familiar, both for the reader and for Eric, who has been pulled into it. If you can keep your fiction grounded in elements of reality, while also introducing something new, you're well on your way to creating a realistic, believable fantasy world.I think I've been able to do that. You can judge for yourself when the book comes out.