I think writers get asked this question a lot. What is your muse? How do you find inspiration? Where do you find inspiration?
Being too lazy to write accurate history books and too steeped in mythology to not see the bones of those stories in every book I read, I guess I could say I find a lot of inspiration in historical accounts and myths from other times and places. Realistically, this means me scrolling through academic papers and my old textbooks at odd hours of the night when the story just isn’t working. I don’t really plot my books and then write from there, which may be why I write so slowly. But as I write and fiddle with things, the jagged edges slowly reveal the other pieces they go with, and hopefully a coherent story emerges. In terms of language or culture, I either borrow from real languages that exist, or just plain make things up.
And that’s the purview of the teller of tales, isn’t it–to just make things up? I think so.