I received a fabulous compliment yesterday. My friend Jamie, who I have known since grade school, recently turned one of her employees on to my work (Hi, Gary!). As he was talking to her about it, he said my stories remind him of Piers Anthony. I was floored! Piers Anthony is one of my favorite writers, and to have someone compare me to him was very flattering and humbling. Needless to say, that totally made my day yesterday!
It got me to thinking about how we writers try to model ourselves after the greats. Any class, editor, or other author will tell you that if you're serious about writing, you need to read, read, and read and then mimic the greats. They say to mimic the successful writers because, well, they're successful. Eventually, you will find your own voice. It is really a great exercise and helps you figure out what works for you and what doesn't. I know I am greatly influenced by things I read and even things I watch. For example, while I was writing my YA zombie novel, we were reading a particular vampire novel for book club that I thoroughly did not like and couldn't get through. I decided to poke fun of it a little in my story. The zombie books by Brooks were what influenced me to write my book in the first place. It is good to be influenced by the greats, even if you don't particularly like them.
What authors have influenced you, for good or bad?