David Morrell, author of "First Blood" is a favorite partly because of his books and partly because of his generosity. He gives advice, support and encouragement to other writers.
I also enjoy Jonathan Kellerman, Baldacci, Hillerman, Doris Kerns Goodwin, McMurty, Freidman. I read avidly, in fiction and non-fiction. It is hard to pick a favorite.
There are too many to list them all, but I tend to have a favorite in most every genre. Tim Cahill and Pico Iyer in travel. Neal Stephenson in science-fiction. Mark Twain in fiction and humor. John Irving for character studies. And James Barrie for creating the greatest children's icon to ever grace literature, stage, and screen.
Steve Erickson, Cynthia Hendershot, Neil Gaiman, plus the obvious: Kerouac, Burroughs, Hemmingway, Fitzgerald, Holmes... i could go on forever
John Steinbeck, Alice Munro, Truman Capote, Shirley Jackson, Alice Walker, Augusten Burroughs
The ones who have worked hard and improved their craft. I don't admire a writer for being well-known, I admire writers who help others become better writers and who stick with their writing even though the chances of being the next Stephen King or John Grisham are statistically near impossible. Some of the writers who have had a positive effect on me would be:
F. Paul Wilson
There are others, but I don't think people want to read an endless list!
I enjoy the work of the Coen Brothers (Fargo), Akiva Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind), and my all-time favorite writer Richard Matheson (The Night Strangler, The Night Stalker, Duel, several original Twilight Zone episodes).
Virginia Woolf. I love her style and I feel connected to her.
Paullina Simmons, Mary Renault, JK Rowling, Janet Evanovitch
Bill Peet, Jane Yolen, and all the Battletech Authors.
Ursula K. LeGuinn for her "anthropological fiction" (her father was Alfred Kroeber, founder of the science of anthroplogy, and this must've rubbed off on her; I have an anthropology degree, hence the attraction)
Gary Zukav - Love his "soul" books.
Any classic sci-fi writer. There are many; will have to add more later.
I mentioned many earlier, but I'll add: Charles Bukowski, Sharon Olds, Joyce Carole Oates, Jack Kerouac, W.H.Auden
Anais Nin, Joan Didion, Carson McCullers,
Paul Theroux, Bill Bryson, James Baldwin,
John Irving. Charles Dickens. Carl Hiaasen. Rory Stewart