I've finally gotten around to making a map of the world in which The Ryel Saga takes place, and now have even greater respect for cartographers. It's so much easier to just write, and let the lands fill out in imagination.
Although I didn't model any of The Ryel Saga's characters on actual or fictional persons, I was very much inspired by art. If it hadn't been for Donatello, I'd never have written the scene in which Lord Michael Essern, perhaps my favorite character in the story, appears in Almancar disguised as a grim and squalid street preacher. It was the statue of the prophet Habbakuk that made me envision my black-uniformed soldier-sorcerer with the shoulder-length skeins of blood-red hair as a shorn and ragged-robed fanatic, spreading the ruinous word of the Master, a deity in harsh absolute contrast to the gentle forgiving pantheon of Destimar's luxurious capital. This is a man tormented since birth by demon-bane, who once served his country honorably but has been corrupted by the false promises of a malignant power, and is now capable of terrible crimes. The statue perfectly captures his intensity and isolation.