Every author who has ever submitted their work to be evaluated has my respect. Perhaps its just me, but submitting work is terrifying. A piece of writing is like birthing a child: it is wholly separate from me, but I have created it and wish it to do well. I can help it improve, but first it has to be put out into the world and shown its flaws. Nobody likes to be shown their flaws. So, for this reason, I admire anyone who has been rejected and continued to submit their work anyway. It takes courage, persistence, and faith.
In specific instances, however, it is difficult for me to select specific authors who inspire me. This is not because they do not impress me, it is because they ALL impress me. It is much easier to weed out those who i feel are overrated than to list all of the writers whom I admire. Then again, I do not believe in degrading others so I’m not going to list those writers who do not impress me either. Sometimes that is just a personal preference, anyhow.
I can tell you, however, that I am wholly impressed by William Goldman’s ability to trick an entire audience. Decades later his audience still google searches for the unabridged version of The PrincessBride. They still email the publisher asking for the unpublished love scene. His ability to convince all of these people, myself included, that each of the different story lines were true is pure skill and awe worthy.
J.R.R. Tolkien also inspires me, specifically in world-building. Not only is Middle-Earth a real place (map and all) to anyone whose heard of the book, it also has its own language. Scratch that, it has MULTIPLE languages. You can buy a dictionary! Talk about dedication to your craft. I’m simply awe-struck.
Margaret Atwood also deserves a place on this list. She is a well read, literary author of science fiction. Let me repeat that: SHE is a well read LITERARY author of SCIENCE FICTION. She also incorporates subjects such as femenism, and depression, and regularly has her characters question authority. I think I have a crush. She is everything I want to be. I feel that I may fall more to the genre fiction side than the literary fiction side. However, I also believe that a genre fiction book that is written well enough can BECOME literary fiction. This, is my goal.
I love Janet Evanovich’s sense of humor. It’s real and I feel that it connects to real women. Where many fictional heroines would perfectly place a roundhouse kick to the villain’s side, Evanovich’s characters seem much more likely to attempt to put their hands up in surrender and accidentally knock the villain out with an oversized purse full of books. I’d like to connect with readers, especially the female reader, in a real way like this.
Nancy Mehl also inspires me. I am lucky enough to know her, and she was kind enough to invest time in me. Its amazing to know someone who succeeds in their art, and she inspires me for doing so. She has also managed to work her faith into her novels, which is important to her. However, she has managed to do so without pushing it upon the reader in an uncomfortable way. It’s natural and unobtrusive.
One more blanket inspiration goes out for all those who write on taboo subjects. We can only overcome our stumbling blocks when we reveal that they exist. So, those who write about depression, racism, sexual abuse, inequality, LGBTQ, feminism, war, PTSD are inspiring just for attempting (and succeeding) in publishing a work including one of these subjects. Bonus points to all of those writers who have incorporated these subjects into their works of fiction, without making it the point of their story. While any one of these subjects are stories for each person experiencing them, stories who display this characters as MORE than that single story are helping to erase the stigma surrounding these subjects. Richelle Mead, for example, made Lissa Dragomir a self harming character with depression. While this character carried this trait, it was only one small aspect of who she was. It was a story-line WITHIN the story, but it showed who she was as person before that, and incorporated this trait into the story at hand, rather than incorporating a story into her trait.. Well done.
To each of you I say, “Thank you”. Thank you for what you do, for your dedication to the craft, for making it real, for connecting me to someone I never would have known without you.