Tammy: Tortall actually just grew. I started with the girl and her brother, and the destiny their father decreed for them, and I needed a castle. Then I needed a ride to the royal palace, and a city to surround the palace. After that came the palace itself, and the forest, and bit by bit I filled out the surrounding area until I realized I needed a country. I’m not really sure how I came up with it, though obviously I had Spain in my mind somewhere. As I wrote, I filled in the map. I feel like every place ought to have something like a Mediterranean, and then an Africa, and I filled in island archipelagos becase I like archipelagos. And the reason the Tortallan map gets more complex and detailed with each rendering is because I discover different parts of the countryside.
I first went back to Tortall because I wanted to see how things had changed with a reformer king and queen. Then I began to wonder how the first known girl to try out as a knight would do it, and what problems she would encounter. I knew there would be political issues to deal with as well. You could say the universe has unfolded, like the map, as I realize certain questions in the way the world and the people grow simply demand answering.