How many times have you "discovered" an author? Someone you had heard about but never read before or someone you've never heard of but can't put down. Somehow you end up at 3 am trying to finish the last chapter so you can finally get to sleep. And before you know it, you're on Amazon ordering their entire backlist. For me, this has happened more times than I can count.
I received my first Nancy Drew book for my 7th birthday and I was hooked. No, not on reading - that came at a much earlier age. For the first time, I was hooked on an author. I read every Nancy Drew book I could find in the library - eventually reading them all. Ok, so it wasn't until years later that I learned those books were written by several people under one pseudonym, but I think the point is still valid - once you like an author, you read everything they write. I'm pretty sure the entire publishing industry counts on this.
But beyond a few hours of escape into the book-world, I find that my favorite writers - those that I read again and again - inspire me. Now, I'm not saying that I want to become the character in the book (although at age 7, I seriously wanted to be an amateur detective). It's that I'm inspired to become a better storyteller.
For example, the way Janet Evanovich is able to take seemingly random events, knit them together and make them an integral part of the plot leaves me stunned every time. I realize that every action counts - from where Stephanie Plum parks her car to the doughnuts she eats. I can see that there is no room for filler and that inspires me to make every action in my story count.
Jonathan Kellerman inspires my writing in other ways. As I'm swept into the world of Alex Delaware, I'm noticing how he gets into (and out of) dangerous situations. It takes a delicate touch to put a MC into danger without seeming contrived or ridiculous. Jonathan Kellerman is a master at this and he inspires me to look more critically at the situations I put my MC into.
Since I consider myself more of a romance author (albeit an unpublished one), you might ask why my examples aren't from the romance genre? Although I read a lot of romance (including all of the sub-categories), I don't limit myself to only reading romance. As an author, I believe in the advice to read as much as you can from all genres. I find inspiration in the most unlikely places.
So now you know who inspires me. Leave a comment and tell me: Who inspires you?