As a writer, I get asked the question about favorite authors a lot. And that's a somewhat easy question to answer, because I love to read and have many, many favorites. But the ones which inspire me, the ones who make me want to do better work? Four names come to mind immediately. These four are not only writers whom I've read almost every word they published--and hunger for more, they have truly made me want to be a better writer and that, for me, is what inspiration is all about. So the four writers are: Ruth Rendell, Patricia Highsmith, Flannery O'Connor, and Stephen King.
I admire them all for many of the same reasons, but
each has a particular strength that inspires me. Ruth Rendell (aka
Barbara Vine) is, in my estimation, not only the best mystery and
psychological suspense author working in the genre today, she is simply a
brilliant novelist. Period. Her prose is crystal clear and deceptively
simple. Patricia Highsmith walks in the darkness with her writing and
never settles for easy answers when it comes to human nature. Flannery
O'Connor, too, has an almost poetic voice without ever being flashy. Her
unique--and dark--southern worldview comes out clearly in how she
brilliantly arranges words on a page. And Stephen King has been with me
since I was young. From him, I learned a writer's best question--what
would happen if?
All of these writers have a twisted, dark world view that I admire.
Their characters are always flawed, living, breathing people that come
to life and that I can always care about. They all taught me that
character is key in any fiction.