27. Along similar lines, do appearances play a big role in your stories? Tell us about them, or if not, how you go about designing your characters.
Yes and no? I'm obviously thinking about this one too much. Appearances do play a bit of a role with the Emissaries in my Geren books and beyond, because of the links between the Emissaries and the objects of power. Other than that, it quite varies. The avarii culture is very big on appearance, so that would have a larger role with any avarii character than, say, a hyarmi, who is far less focused on externals of that sort. But of course, any individual character can be more or less interested in such things as well...and then there's human mages, that are generally more interested in power ranking and ability than how a person looks. The hyarmi in general and the humans of Delarun are probably the most appearance-blind places I've written, and the avarii the most appearance-focused. The Shado's race pay attention to appearances (among the powerless in particular) strictly for survival purposes.
'Designing' characters in regard to appearance? I usually just keep in mind where they're from, as a Sutherulian will look quite different than a Glashwalian, and northern hyarmi tend to be larger and paler in pelt color than the southern forest-dwellers. Also inheritance with hyarmi and avarii characters--two generations of brown-and-tan hyarmi wouldn't suddenly produce a fawn cub. Things like that. Since I tend to 'see' many of my main characters, the intentional design bit comes more strongly into play with bit-roles and side-characters than the main ones.