I am a bit of a head-in-the-sand person as concerns things happening beyond the walls of my study. And I don't feel particularly guilty about that. I figure that my primary job is producing the very best stories I am capable of writing, and that is what I concentrate upon doing. That is within my control.
I don't know quite how a story develops in my head. It is a bit chaotic. If I am working on a series, one of the main characters at least is already in existence as well as some setting and minor characters. Finding the other main character can be a challenge. Sometimes this character already exists in a minor role in another book.
I have a British voice and a rather formal one at that, having been brought up in post-WWII Britain. My voice is perfectly suited to the sort of book I write, I think. It would not fit a contemporary, besides which I do not know enough about the contemporary world to write convincingly or comfortably about it!