I’ve been reading for a long time, specifically in the Fantasy genre. The first novel that I can distinctly remember reading was The Hobbit. It was quickly followed by the Narnia series and the Lord of the Rings. Along the way, many authors have had a short lived spot on my shelf where they are venerated for their awesomeness.
But I wouldn’t say that any of these authors (except Tolkein) really inspired me. I started writing a rather young age, but I didn’t have a strong influence except for whatever I happened to be reading at the time.
There are really two authors that have had a major impact on my writing, and they probably won’t come as much of a surprise.
David Weber is the first. His Honor Harrington series has been a major influence on my Sci-Fi writing. I started the series with Ashes of Victory (Book 9); I saw the cover in the bookstore and had to have it (a point for having quality good cover art). I liked the book so much that I went back and bought the previous eight novels.
His universe is tightly constructed, technically accurate to a level that I could never hope to mimic and involves a heavy dose of politics and character interaction.
The second major influence on my writing has been around for a long time, but I only recently read his works in their entirety: George RR Martin. His A Song of Ice and Fire series is a major inspiration for my Griffins & Gunpowder universe; his use of intrigue, back-stabbing and extremely complex worldbuilding are awe-inspiring. His willingness to kill off major characters is something that my delicate mind will never quite recover from.
There are other writers that have earned space on my shelf, but these are the ones that have had the greatest impact on my writing. As I read more, maybe someone else will be added to the mix.