Did you model any locations/events/characters in your story off of real locations/events/characters?
I’m originally from the northern mid-west (Illinois/Indiana) and moved to the south approximately 9 years ago. Though I have come to appreciate and even like the south, my heart still longs for the cooler, northern climes of my childhood. Thus, the kingdoms of Norvue (North) and Suvall (South) reflect a bit of that longing in this story. However, they are not completely accurate to the regions they are based on. For example: I describe Norvue as very mountainous, whereas Illinois and Indiana are probably the least mountainous regions in the world.
The characters are mostly from my own imagination, with the exception of Karyna, whose personality and mannerisms are based heavily on my sister-in-law and a good friend. Karyna gave me fits at first, and was very difficult to write. I had all these ideas of who she wasn’t, but as I worked through the edits I realized I had no idea who Karyna was. Fortunately, Kaycee Browning was doing a series of blog posts on the Meyers-Briggs personality types and how they fit into writing characters. I decided to figure out what Karyna was in an attempt to figure out how to write her better. I discovered she was an ISTJ, and threw the question up on facebook, “Are any of my friends ISTJs?” My sister-in-law and another good friend replied that they were, and I got their permission to “study” them for a bit. Mostly we chatted and I paid much closer attention to their mannerisms and the way they talked, and I asked them a few questions about how they react when they are feeling certain emotions. It was kind of weird, but also fun, and Karyna really began to “step off the page” so to speak after that.
Speaking of characters, have you taken the “Which Beauty from Five Enchanted Roses Are YOU” quiz? It was super fun to put together, and neat to see how different all of our “Belle” characters were. You can try it here: http://uquiz.com/lB6f8t