Dianna Wynne Jones. Period. She is an amazing author and has such a knack for tangling comedy and tragedy that it often leaves me dazzled. Her characters are so real and refreshing. I have read every book she has ever published and I would read them again. I also love a lot of Piers Anthony's books and Robin Hobb's trilogies.
The writer I admire most is: J.K. Rowling. She had several rejections, was a single mom, and kept plugging along at it. She never lost her vision. She tried, tried again and her persistance paid off for her and her readers.
Another writer I admire is Ayn Rand regarding "Atlas Shrugged." She wrote a book most men would shy away from because it would be a hard idea to sell. She was a woman ahead of her time, she didn't censor her inner critic, and certainly didn't allow the outward critics to foil her writing. She wrote a book about capitalism and it's still one of the best-selling books at all time. She had vision and didn't allow the obstacles to get in her way.
Most of my friends are writers. I admire so many of them, but to start I admire these Australian authors:-
James Roy and so many more
International authors I admire include:-
JK Rowlings ... and heaps more
Karl Marx, Kabir, Michel Foucault, Jean Baudrillard, A.G.Frank, Francis Fukuyama, Tagore, Gandhi, Hajime Nakamura, Kakuzo Okakura, David Bohm, Stuart Koffman, V.S.Ramchandran, Nagarjuna -there is an endless list. I admire each and every thought- warrior.
Reinaldo Arenas, Alberto Moravia, Ernest Hemingway, Hunter S Thompson, Paolo Coelho, Kahlil Gibrain, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Albert Camus, Mark Twain, William Shakespeare William S Burroughs, Carl Jung, William S Burroughs, Homer, Plutarch, Pythagoras, Sam Shepard and Voltaire to name but a few.
My favorite author of all-time was Arthur C. Clarke, for fiction. "Childhood's End" was my favorite. I loved reading Issac Asimov's editorials and humorous stories. Oh, and I also remember Robert Heinlein. My brother gave me a copy of "The Green Hills of Earth" to read and I was fascinated with him. Especially the juvenile fiction. "Starship Troopers," of course---way before the movies. "Farmer in the Sky" really fascinated me. The funniest coincidence was when I picked up a copy of "Who Censored Roger Rabbit." I cannot recall the author, but I found it laying around when I was stationed overseas. I thought, "Man, this would make a cool movie." I guess Stephen Spielberg and I think alike. You won't hear him admitting it, though.
Jane Yolen, Charles de Lint, Orson Scott Card, L.M. Montgomery, Louisa May Alcott, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Margarer Atwood.
These are all authors whose books inspire me beyond belief; when I re-read Montgomery's Emily books, I want to get down to business immediately (probably because Emily herself is a writer). Jo (Alcott's Little Women) is another character who inspires me.
Mostly I admire these authors because they have distinct voices, and because their books are character-driven. They have created worlds and characters that speak to us and comment on our lives and on society - that is something to aspire to.
I love the stories and characters of Mark Twain and Charles Dickens.
Yair Davidiy, Steven M. Collins, Richard A. Gabriel.
Can't remember, there are so many...
Oh, so many! Off the top of my head, Jodi Piccoult, Marge Piercey, Starhawk, Anne Rice, Stephen King, William Horwood, Pam Houston, Annie Proulx, Pat Conroy, John Irving, Tolkien and a host of others.
What is meant by well known? I don't read a lot of bestselling authors, and I almost never admire those that I do read because I find the majority of the stuff that ends up on the bestseller's list is fluffy crap. This doesn't mean that I am one of those snobbish literary types, but it does mean that I have more appreciation for writers who don't write like everyone else, who deal with real issues, who do more than just have action-packed plots, and who write something that intrigues me.
With that in mind, I admire writers such as Tananarive Due, Octavia Butler, Tobias Buckell, Ginn Hale, Jo Farthing, Samuel R. Delany, Kage Baker, Frederic Jameson, Dipesh Chakrabarty, Elizabeth Bear, Poul Anderson, George Schuyler, Neil Gaiman, Thomas Pynchon, Paul Genesse, Christopher Balzak, Uppinder Mehan, Darko Suvin, Brian Francis Slattery, and many others. Hopefully that is a sufficiently lengthy list!
A. Scott Berg, Edmund Morris, Walter Issacson, Jon Meacham, Gore Vidal, Phillip Roth, David McCollough, Ken Burns, Shelby Foote, John Irving--dozens of others who come to mind.
Emma Holly, Lora Leigh, Kathy Love
Margaret Drabble, Georgette Heyer, and Hunter S. Thompson. Oh yea, don't forget Chuck Palahniuk, Charlaine Harris and Christopher Moore.