James asks, "I was wondering if there are any other authors or pieces of literature that you feel inspired / influenced you, or that you would recommend? Basically I'm looking for more things to read to fill the gaps between updates ;)"
I'm glad you asked. By far the biggest writer that has influenced me is Brandon Sanderson. You may know him as the guy who finished "The Wheel of Time" series after Robert Jordan passed away. He was literally picked by Robert Jordan and his wife before he passed away so you know he's good.
Brandon Sanderson is a high fantasy writer but he doesn't forget natural laws. He creates worlds where the effects of his magic systems spans throughout society. His magical fight scenes are pure cinematic beauty. The series I recommend you read is Mistborn. Start with Mistborn: The Final Empire, complete that trilogy, then read his new Mistborn books which move from the usual fantasy setting to his world after they've experienced their own Industrial Revolution. It's like the Wild West meets fantasy and is even more increidble!
But the biggest way he's influenced my writing is actually not through his books but his weekly podcast he's done with other writers called "Writing Excuses." You want to know how good Writing Excuses is? MGP as it was originally written (what I tend to call MGP Alpha) was before listening to Writing Excuses. What you're currently reading is the influence of that podcast. If you have any aspirations to write, Writing Excuses is great... plus their tagline is amazing! "Writing Excuses! 15 minutes long, because you're in a hurry and we're not that smart."
Rvernon321 asks " If she trained her voice by singing along with the radio how good would Robynne be at singing ?"
If Robynne were just singing along with the radio, she'd become a proficient but not amazing singer. She has a pretty voice but she has never really "trained" at singing before. If she had an actual voice coach though, she'd have an amazing voice for country or more folk rock. Her accent colors how she sounds. If she wanted a different style she'd need to take more voice lessons to learn how to compensate for her accent. Robynne insists her accent "isn't that thick" but she does have a twang and it's more noticable as a girl than a guy.
Also, I'm disappointed "My accent isn't that thick" isn't listed as a Running Gag on the MGP TVTropes page.
Zexand asked "First, how do you envision the Ardent Empire? Is it a super high-tech society? Or one of those super-advanced, long-lost civilizations that often come up in fantasy games? Second, and I could ask this in another month's follow-up question, what kind of technology did the average citizen have? Computers? TV? Cars? Planes? Electricity and running water? Personal flying devices? Full-immersion VR? I'm trying to pin down the overall technological prowess of the civilization and pin it on the Kardeshev scale."
Wow. Big question.
First, let me say I have NOOOOO clue what the Kardeshev scale is. And without getting too spoiler-y, let me just say the way I envision the Ardent Empire's tech as being more... mundane in how it looks vs what it does. They don't have computer terminals. I sort of see them as pre-information age technology. They've been at war for a while so they don't have televisions in homes. Communication happens easily but there isn't an internet-like repository where people connect to legions of information. They have an email-like system of sending data but they still write by hand.
Where they are super advanced though is in space travel. Empathokinetics allowed them a form of propulsion that we cannot match. It's why they can span the stars despite no TV or internet... or maybe it's not "in spite of" and more because they have no TV or internet. They aren't bogged down by watching reality TV and cat videos.
It's a trope I like (sorry to direct you back to the place) on TVTropes called Schitzotech where their technology is sort of all over the place. In some ways they are way advanced and in others, nothing. Like how in Batman: The Animated Series they had the bat-computer and virtual reality but cops also used blimps and nurses dressed like it was the 50s. Speaking of...
Kenneth asks "Is ViD meant to correspond to a particular era in our world, or are you going to take the freedom to mix and match?"
Villain-in-Distress is meant to evoke sort of the era of comics where they transitioned from the golden age to the silver age. Vaguely post-WW2. I've been trying to subtly hint that it's not modern with things like checks having the numbers printed on them being a brand new thing and the gender dynamics going on. Also the style... I am a sucker for the late-40s to early-60s style of things. I need to get a goal where we do Villain-in-Distress art so you guys can see it... hmmm... okay. I'm putting that on the to-do list!
Thanks for the questions! See you all next month!