It all began with the Hobbit. I remember being read it while in Primary School, a chapter per day over a few weeks. I think that was the moment I fell in love with fantasy. The brilliant characters, the excitement of the quest and of course, a huge dragon.
Now Tolkien is rightly famed for the elaborate detail and depth of his world setting. He created a vast history, family trees and even Elvish. He set the standard all other fantasy has been judged by. A few have come very close (George RR Martin, for example) but none, yet have surpassed him. So, when I decided to write my own fantasy series, I knew I have a lot of work cut out for me. So I did what every other lazy slob would have done. I cheated.
Let's face it, who has the time and patience to build a whole world when you can use the one we've already got. You just need the right setting. And few places are more fantastical than India.
Take the picture above. It's the Savage Fortress. The actual building I describe in my book. It's real, a rundown maharajah's palace on the banks of the Ganges, down river from Varanasi. I hardly needed to do anything (okay, I added the demons) but the fortress is for real. So are all the other locations in the book. The Lalgur, the burning ghats, the city out in Rajasthan, even the Seven Queens. I've changed the names, I've moved them about a bit to suit the story, but that's the thing about India, it's a fantasy world you can visit.