Love Thomas Hardy. His characters always have a fatal flaw in the beginning and this does them in at the ending. Endings should never be happy. Love Theodore Dreiser for recreating the reality of a courtroom into a novel. I read Leo Tolstoy recently and see the vividness. They make their characters believable, their stories real, and I could imagine it happening.
I don't really have favorites. I bounce from book to book and author to author. I love whatever author I am currently reading that is entertaining me.
Liz Curtis Higgs
JK Rowlings, Jane Greene
Pete McCarthy, Anthony Bourdain, Bill Bryson (though I will deny it if you press me on it) and James Patterson but purely for the ability to convince publishing houses to continue to give him sacks of cash for writing shit books ten years after his one and only decent read. The guy is like Thomas Harris with head trauma!
I think Stephen King is a true genius. The way his stories unfold, and intertwine with one another amazes me.
Dean Kootz I admire because he makes you fall in love with his characters. You really care about them, and even feel for the villians in his stories.
T.C. Boyle, Joe Haldeman, Christopher Brookmyre, Hilary Mantel, Denis Johnson, Richard Bausch, Christopher Moore, Val McDermid, Donald E. Westlake, John Kessel, Karen Joy Fowler, Michael Chabon, Jonathan Lethem, China Mieville, M. John Harrison, Michael Swanwick, Maureen McHugh...this is just the start of a much longer list, believe me.
Richard Wilbur is the finest living writer of English-language poetry with whose work I'm familiar.
I love Alicia Stallings' poetry, and Kim Addonizio's, and Tony Barnstone's, and Dick Davis's, and R. S. Gwynn's, and Marilyn Taylor's, and David Mason's, and Annie Finch's, and so many more. There are so many fine poets working today more or less in the metrical tradition.
Richard Ford, Patrick White, Alice Munro, Nina Bawden, Amy Bloom, Elizabeth Strout, Helen Garner, Michael Cunningham, Alan Hollinghurst ... these are just the ones who spring to mind. So many more ...
I admire the occasional well known author and many less well known authors. Right now I'm reading Stieg Larsson's trilogy with joy and admiration.
John Grisham, 'cos I love legal stories, and Clive Cussler, author of the Dirk Pitt stories, 'cos his dialog really sparkles.
Bill Bryson - 'A Short History of Nearly Everything' is one of the most fascinating books I've ever read, mainly because of his delivery style of material that could be dull or dry in other hands...
|I can recite these straight off the top of my head:
Robert E. Howard
They have all written some of my favourite stories of all time, they have all had a massive affect on me as a writer.
Piers Anthony's post scripts in his novels are heavy weight inspiration, he almost makes the hard work seem somehow magical. His wit and satire are also amazing. Thing I admire most about his writing though are his characters.
Robert E. Howard, or the books I've read of his, (pretty much all the Conan novels, and all the Solomon Kane novels), are worthy of being classics, for not being worthy of being classics. They are a best of breed, the pulp fiction. Its not all about being a great writer, its about telling astounding stories, much in the way of comics today. What I would like to be able to take from his writing is the sense of adventure, and the speed, my own writing develops more so slowly, I build into the action, I raise the anticipation - and I think I don't quite achieve the same heights that pulp fiction does with its wham bam, thank you ma'am approach. I'm trying to capture at least some of that with my latest project.
Frank Herbert - he writes some pretty tough books to read, and its makes them all the more amazing. Every time I reread Dune, I take away some knew understanding, whether its of the story itself, the characters, or simply the scenery. There is so much detail, information overload, that you can afford to read it again and again, and not be bored, not feel that you know it all already. I'm not nearly as good at detail, but in future projects I'd like to try my hand, in the meantime, I can just hope to get the detail just right in my current project.
Ben Bova is a massive influence, his sense of science and sociology is absolutely amazing to me. His tour of the solar system books are one of my favourite series of books, they beautifully explore the consequences and potential of humility at its best and worse. Yet he can also write such an amazing adventure as his Orion series, which I adore. His short stories are much the same, a mix of the best and worst he exploit from his characters, and somehow they're a bit Scooby-Dooish, but with style. I remember the one about the mathematician, and the great quake thats meant to wipe LA into the ocean, or the one with Russian and American bases on the moon that have found peace purely because the bullets they fire go round and round again, and for all his chastising about mixing sci-fi and dragons, he did it wonderfully himself.
I think I admire any writer that has an affect on me, my understanding of the world, the past, and the future - but most of all these four have had the biggest impact on me as a person, and as a writer.
I could go on and on with this list because I admire so many writers. Some names that immediately come to mind are James Joyce, William Falkner, Yeats, Auden, Woolf, Dickens, and more recent authors Salman Rushdie, Peter Carey, Margaret Atwood, Tim Winton, Richard Flanagan, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Dorothy Porter, and China Mieville, but there are others - many more and some that I'm sure I'll discover before the year is out.
Dr. Maylo Angelo her work is inspiring, touching on the human soul.