This tale doesn’t take place on any Earth we know.
I designed a map then populated it with people we may be familiar with, in some cases. (Honestly, the further you go down the list, the more I totally made up).
The region is called the Ibari Peninsula. If that strikes you as somewhat like “Iberian Peninsula,” there’s probably a good reason for that, but the similarity doesn’t extend much past the name.
There are 5 countries on the peninsula and a sixth on an island south of it.
Most of the story takes place in Corby, which is divided into provinces each ruled by a baron (or by the duke in one case). I had the grand idea that Corby had once been two countries, but one had been overrun by the other a long time go. Southern areas tend to have Germanic names and northern areas are a little more British.
To the west, there’s Sonjikstan, where Elaina attends school. They’re Russian, sort of, but with a greater fondness for martial arts and a somewhat more Catholic religion.
East of Corby, there are two countries: Gada and Toshiro. I stopped gathering cultural aspects of real countries, but used name parts (a little less so for Toshiro) from Israel and Japan, respectively.
South of Corby, there’s Indira, and if you guess India as the source for names and other little quirks, you’d be right there.
The island nation of Dabir is south of the peninsula. That one is loosely (very loosely, even more loosely than Toshiro is Japan and Indira is India) Arabic.
The sequel is going to take place (so far) in Corby and Toshiro.
When is this happening? I picked the Renaissance era. Most fantasy tales, whether they contain sorcery or not, tend toward the Medieval era. It’s all swords and snazzy armor and so on. I picked the Renaissance because that gave me rapiers to play with (Elaina is fairly skilled with one), and I used to study Renaissance fencing, so I know a bit or two about it.
Then, after I’d written the first couple drafts, a beta reader suggested I needed black powder weapons. If the tale is Renaissance, they had muskets, black powder pistols, cannons, and so on.
Okay! A bit of research and a few YouTube vids later, and I became an impromptu “expert” (ex = former, spurt = drip under pressure, so “expert” = former drip under pressure) on black powder weapons. Have I ever fired one? Well, sort of.
One year, I got to play in a San Jacinto (last major battle of the Texas Revolution) re-enactment. At the end of the second day, one of the gents had a few shots left and asked me if I wanted to give it a try. He loaded the rifle, and I tried to lift it so I could pull the trigger, but the silly thing was too heavy (I am an original 100-pound wimp). He helped me out, and I pulled the trigger. That’s as close as I got to shooting a black powder gun.
So, anyway, Lines of Succession took place in a made-up world in a roughly Renaissance time frame.