Speaking for myself, I think I truly started to appreciate epic and heroic fantasy more once I started spending a great deal of time outdoors. So much of fantasy literature takes place in the wilderness, in imaginary times that precede any sort of industrialization or modern conveniences, that I found myself enjoying it all that much more when I could think back to days I spent in the woods or on hiking trails, smelling that cleaner air, hearing the crinkle of leaves, feeling the icy cold of a mountain stream run through my fingers.
Even if a fantasy is set in a more urban or wastelands setting (like, say, City of Scars and Path of Bones), as both a writer and a reader I still feel that spending time outdoors and learning to savor all of nature’s details really lets me capture and appreciate fantastic settings much more clearly, which is why I still make it a point, regardless of where I am or what time of year it is, to get out and snap some inspirational photos.
Steven Montano writes fantasy, blogs, goes on a ridiculous number of hikes, is a husband and father of two, and works as an accountant. All he needs to do now is learn to use that damn katana he bought. Check out his lunacy at http://steven-montano.com/