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Authors Who Inspire Me to Be a Better Writer

Here are some absolutely fabulous authors with who I am completely in love! They make me want to aspire to greatness.

The Brothers Grimm - "fairy" tales as they should be - undisneyfied. Their stories are an unending source of inspiration.

Brothers Grimm: Information from

Bradbury - A prolific author of hundreds of short stories, fifty books, numerous poems, essays, operas, plays, teleplays, and screenplays, he was one of the most celebrated writers of our time. In his 2005 book of essays, he wrote: In my later years I have looked in the mirror each day and found a happy person staring back. Occasionally I wonder why I can be so happy. The answer is that every day of my life I've worked only for myself and for the joy that comes from writing and creating.

Richard Matheson - named a Grand Master of Horror by the World Horror Convention and received the Bram Stoker Award for Lifetime Achievement, as well as the Edgar, the Spur, and the Writer's Guild awards. Inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2010, Matheson epitomizes success in the science fiction and horror genres. His literary creations are both inspired and inspiring.

Shirley Jackson - most well known for her controversial short story "The Lottery." If you ever read and loved this story, I highly recommend checking out her other work. This woman could draw a frighteningly realistic portrait of the human psyche and psychosis that lurks within us all. That is why I love her!

Ransom Riggs - Makes films, blogs, and writes for His first novel, "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children" was recently released and it blew me away. His concept for combining 'found' vintage photographs with the story he tells is fantastic! He is currently working on a sequel and I can assure you that I will be present and accounted for when it is released.

Kasey Mackenzie is a new edition to the world of writing and the daughter of a close friend of mine. She just published her second book in her 'Shades of Fury' series and I quite enjoy her work. Her central heroine, Marissa Holloway, puts me in the mind of a female Sam Spade with mythical powers. If that aesthetic appeals to you, I highly recommend checking out her writing. I find the fact that she was working in a law office last year and is now writing full time which is something she always wanted to do extremely inspiring!

Ken Kesey once described himself as a link between the beatniks of the 50's and the hippies of the 60's, explaining that he was too young to be the first and too old to be the second. "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" is one of my favorites and represents Kesey's 'claim to fame.' His series of adventures with the Merry Pranksters is documented in Tom Wolfe's "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test" and is as inspiring as his writing.

Neal Shusterman is a fairly recent addition to my ever-growing list of beloved writers. His Young Adult novel "Unwind" is an absolutely brilliant piece of writing for which I have written numerous lesson and unit plans geared toward high school students. This wonderful dystopian novel draws in even the most reluctant readers and I would love to see it implemented into high school curricula.

Neal Shusterman: Bio

Lewis Carroll was one of the most linguistically talented writers ever. He not only played with semantics, syntax, pragmatics, and specificity; but also used blending and coining to create his own vocabulary that while consisting of completely nonsensical words, strictly adheres to the rules of generative grammar making his words understandable, if not recognizable to his readers. Brilliant!

William Faulkner's "As I Lay Dying" is a brilliant piece of writing and one of my personal favorites. I feel a definite connection to the seemingly uncaring practicality of Faulkner's characters, and I love his use of multiple narrators to tell the stories of the other characters rather than their own. The rural south in the 1920's takes me back to my own roots and reminds me of my grandparents.

Stephen Chbosky touched a generation of adolescents while putting their parents on the defensive when he created The Perks of Being a Wallflower, a realistic story about graphic situations that touch the lives of many kids (things many adults would rather not talk about). I loved the book and I love the way Stephen has calmly dealt with all the adversity surrounding it.

H.P. Lovecraft not only created a linked world within his stories, he constructed an entire mythos that existed there. His delightfully creepy and twisted images have inspired not only writers, but people from across the creative genres. He did it first and he did it best. Long live Cthulhu.

Billy Collins is a relatively new addition to my list of inspirational writers. His poetry is awesome and accessable to any and all readers. His use of "plain language" in an eloquent manner is indicative of his work and is why I love him so.

Kathryn Nuernberger is my sister-in-law, but I assure you I am not playing favorites simply because of this fact. Her first book of poetry, Rag and Bone, was recently published and it is chock full of fantastically constructed pieces. She inspires me to pursue my own writing with an insatiable need to create. She uses details from life that many of us either ignore or forget and weaves them into emotionally moving poetic art. Love her and her writing!

Samuel Clemens, a.k.a. Mark Twain, brought the "common folks" voice to his writing and changed the world of literature as we knew it. Reading his work is like sitting in the front yard and listening to my dearly missed Grandpa tell stories of his childhood in the Depression-Era Ozarks. To inspire that kind of emotion in a reader is what good writing is all about.

Nathaniel Hawthorne is a man who could construct the hell out of a story. I love everything of his I have ever read even though some of it (like The Scarlet Letter) has been completely beat to death in Lit courses. His penchant for social and moral commentary colored by his past family history and woven throughout his work makes me enjoy his writing that much more. Inspiring.

E.E. Cummings was a brilliant and revolutionary artist, poet, and writer. His work moves me deeply and isn't that ultimately the goal for writing? Cummings was quite a character in real life and his writing is nothing short of exceptional. If I could accomplish 1/10th of what this man did with my writing, I would be content. *As a side note, I also love the time when being photographed with a cigarette in hand was not a social faux pas.*

Elizabeth Hand totally rocks! Every single piece of hers that I have picked up has been absolutely fantastic! Her writing is dark and twisted, but ultimately very smart - a kick-ass combination as far as I'm concerned.

Catherynne M. Valente is a new inspiration to me. Having completely devoured both installations of her Orphan's Tales, I am utterly smitten. Her writing is beautiful, rich, and intricate - I love her!

Regardless of how you feel about Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling has one of the most inspirational life stories of any author in recent history. I personally love the Harry Potter series, but most of all I love the world she created within them. So, am I looking for the magical quill on Pottermore? You bet I am! I can't wait to see what she comes up with next! As long as she continues to write, I will continue to read what she has written.

JK Rowling drops hints of possible eighth Harry Potter book

Stephen King is one of my personal and oldest favorites. I started reading his work many moons ago and I love it all! When you add in film and small screen adaptations along with merchandising and pushing the envelope for delivery methods, Stephen has it all. - About the Author