Poetikat challenged me to compile a list of 25 of my literary heroes, those authors who made me realize the magic and power of literature and words, and who inspired me to write. Here is my list:
Youthful impressions: Beverly Cleary, EB White, Lucy Maud Montgomery, Mary Norton, and Mildred Wirt Benson (Carolyn Keene) awakened my mind's eye and developed my imaginative muscle.
The Conjurers: Madeleine L'Engle, Ray Bradbury, George Orwell, Margaret Atwood, Marion Zimmer Bradley, and CS Lewis introduced me to speculative fiction, alternative worlds, and mythopoeia.
The Bard: William Shakespeare taught me how delicious words can taste.
The Dame: Margaret Mitchell began my love affair with historical fiction.
The Songwriter: Carly Simon's confessional songwriting taught me that music is what feelings sound like.
The Poets: Carl Sandburg, Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson and TS Eliot made me aware of something immense running through me, and forever rearranged the furniture of my heart.
The Naturalist: Henry David Thoreau helped develop my capacity for wonder, self-reliance and simplicity, and continues to send me out to chase the wind.
The Storytellers: Whether exploring the hidden motivations and psychology of human nature, creating unforgettable and rich locations through traditions and folklore, exploring themes of aspiration and lost innocence, or weaving threads of fate, hope and social observation into a literary tapestry, my most influential storytellers have been Karen Blixen (Isak Dinesen), Mary Shelley, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Thomas Hardy, Leo Tolstoy, and F. Scott Fitzgerald.