Authors are influenced by everything they've ever read. If you've read widely enough, it helps you create your own mix.
I find the presence of the sea quite inspiring, and sometimes I do just get out and walk around and take in the sea breeze to try and clear my mind.
I tend to think of stories and books as being for everyone, just with an 'entry reading age' rather than an age range.
In all my books, I try to have a strong element of realism underlying the fantastic.
Interestingly, it is often the younger members of the audience who ask the most sophisticated questions.