Author: Anne McCaffrey
I also don't have organized religion on Pern. I figured - since there were four holy wars going on at the time of writing - that religion was one problem Pern didn't need.
But I will say that living in Ireland has changed the cadence and fullness of speech, since the Irish love words and use as many of them in a sentence as possible.
I would recommend the short story form, which is a lot harder to write since you have to be so careful with words, until there is plenty of time to doodle through a novel.
I think the Internet, particularly the availability of information, is great. I do a lot of correspondence on-line and have a chat line to talk to my fans as well.