Well, with no doubt...my mentor...Walt Disney...:)
I admire a lot of writers, currently the top ones are Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, C J Cherryh, John Scalzi, Robert Littell, Ursula K Le Guin, and many many others.
Kafka, Burroughs, Lethem, Selby, Winterson, DeLillo, Selby Jnr, Peace
I like Carolyn Keene, Brian Jacques, Dixon, Joan Lowery Nixon, Terry Brooks, and some others.
Suzanne Brockmann, Karen Robards, James Patterson, Karin Slaughter
Terry Brooks, J.R.R. Tolkein, Gene Wolfe, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Billy Collins.
I mentioned earlier my 3 faves are: Terry McMillan, (The late) E. Lynn Harris; Dean Koontz and I need to add, Alex Wheatle to my list. I've recently learned of his work since moving to London. He's another fascinating story-teller.
Leonardo Da Vinci
and my super guilty pleasure is 'Dan Brown novels'
Peter David is my favorite. He writes in a way that is smooth and easy to read.
One writer I admire a lot right now is Dean Koontz. He writes in the horror/suspense genre and really keeps you reading but at the same time manages to sprinkle in these amazing bits of humanity and wisdom. I would love to be able to do that. I prefer a dark, gritty sort of realism that nevertheless lets you see hope and good things, too - think Dick Francis, Ed McBains early work, very few current writers seem to really do that. I'd like to. I miss hard core reality adventure type writing with action that makes sense, risk you can feel, and a strong story with real people who have flaws and fears and who sometimes make bad decisions.
I don't tend to have favorites because I think writing is essential for education, therefore I seem to like books or pieces of books that help me learn more about anything. But I can say, that lately, I've been more intrigued by Italo Calvino and Haruki Murakami. I learn from their creativity and their world as I read them.
Enid Blyton, Jacqueline Wilson, Daisy Meadows, Meg Cabot, Rowan Coleman, Tamsyn Murray, Freya North, Mike Gayle, Caroline Smailes... I could go on.
There are so many. Roger Zelazny, Ursula K. Le Guin, Boris Vian and Michael Moorcock first, for the sheer beauty of their writing, the poetry of expression; Emily Bronte, for the complex construction of her novel, which usually gets overlooked; Jane Austen, for the humour and understanding; Terry Pratchett, for the same reasons; and, lately, Ekaterina Sedia, for her uncanny ability to find the beautiful and the fantastic in the ordinary.
Emerson, Shakespaere, Frost, Hughes and the best writer of them all GOD!