Mar 1, 2014

Favorite Authors and Why They Inspire Me

by Cindy R. Williams

I'm conducting a straw poll here. Please take a moment in the comments section below to list a few of your favorite authors and how they inspire you.

I will start.

L.Frank Baum, author of the WIZARD OF OZ Series. My mother used to spread out a blanket on the front room floor after lunch. We children snuggled with her as she read wonderful fiction books to us. The Wizard of Oz was one of these, along with Mary Poppins, Shadow Castle, Pippi Longstockings.  Later, as a reader myself, I read the entire series on long Sunday afternoon's shut away in that same formal front room.

Dr. Suess:  The first book I ever read in front of a school class was in Kindergarten. It was "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish" by Dr. Suess. This author strikes the fun bone, not just the funny bone. Brilliant!

Harper Lee, author of TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. I have always wondered why she published just this one book. I guess when you write something close to perfection, that is all that is needed.

The Grimm Brothers Fairy Tales:  These were flat out scary. The brothers traveled the country collecting old stories and legends and put them to pen. They are certainly harsher than Disney chose to portray them, but to a child that lived fairy tales, I devoured them all with relish.

Hans Christian Andersen, author of man Fairy Tales. These fairy tales were not as dark as the Grimm Brothers, but most of them were not as buttery as Disney. Again, I ate them all up.

J.K Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series. No brainer here. She is a genius in my book.

Bruce Colville, author of THE UNICORN SERIES. Magical writer about magical things.

Jane Austen, author of wonderful romances of days gone by. Love them all.

Marian Cockrell, author of SHADOW CASTLE. This book is out of print, but my sweet sister ordered it for me somehow. This is one of the magical books my mother read to us as children. It is an amazing fairy tale and to this day, the model for what REAL goblins look like.

Russell Hoban, author of A BIRTHDAY FOR FRANCIS and other Francis books. I found these when my children were young, and they delighted me along with my children. Francis has the cutest sense of humor.

Geda Bradley Mathews, author of WHAT WAS THAT!  A FUNNY STORY ABOUT NIGHT NOISES. My sons LOVED this one. Funny noises little bugs make when three bear brothers are trying to go to sleep.

Shel Silverstein, author of WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS. This man's sense of humor was off the wall and wonderful.

Kathleen Stevens, author of THE BEAST IN THE BATHTUB. This book is so cute. In fact I just read it this week to my two itty-bitty grand babies, ages one and three. They both giggle and love it.

Florence Parry Heide and Roxanne Heide, authors of A MONSTER IS COMING! A MONSTER IS COMING!  Children like to be spooked, safely spooked that is. This story has anticipation built in it and the illustrations are charming.

Clement C. Moore, author of THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS. I adore everything about Christmas. This poem brings the magic of Christmas every time I read it.

Eion Colfer, author of the "ARTEMUS FOWL series. What a riot.

Joanna Cole, author of BONY LEGS. Another spooky story that is actually an old story told in Europe to frighten children into being obedient. That in itself is scary. The story has just the right amount of "thrill and chill" to make kids tingle with fear, but the fun kind.

James Owen, author and illustrator. If you attend the ANWA Writers Conference 2013, you know just what I'm talking about. James was the Keynote Speaker and is one of the most inspirational people I know. When I visited with him for the first time at the conference, he held out five or six small printed little cards fanned out like a normal deck of cards and asked me to pick one. I did, and it said, "I believe in you!" Wow! I think all the other little cards said the same thing, and that he probably handed out a bunch of these, but it still did the job and touched my writers soul.

Jenni James, author of over a two dozen books. She is a ball of energy. I think she's a female version of Robin Williams, the comedian/actor. I met Jenni James at the ANWA Writers Conference 2014. This single mother of seven wrote 13 books, successful books in one year to support her brood. What an incredible inspiration she is to us all.

There are a many more authors that have inspired me, but it's time to hear from you. What authors inspire you?


  1. That's a great list. Have read most of them, except for some of the children's books. One of, well, two of my newest favorite authors are Jeannette Walls ("Glass Castle" and "Half-Broke Horses") and Nancy Turner ("These is My Words"). I also love James Michener. I prefer "Jane Eyre" to "Pride and Prejudice" myself. Thanks for making me think for a minute :)

  2. Love your choices. They are great ones! I also like Susan's choices. I add them also.

  3. I used to correspond with children's/YA author Robert Newton Peck (A Day No Pigs Would Die, the "Soup" series). What a blessing to me! He taught me about making hard choices in writing, and that every writer has his or her "war" that informs their work. His was the French & Indian War; mine is, pretty obviously, the American Civil War.

    Frank Roderus (300 Western novels) taught me about the power in titles. Margaret Mitchell (Gone With The Wind) taught me about writing intriguing characters. Louis L'Amour taught me about writing series. I wish I had more time, or hadn't started so late.

  4. Good comments, Susan, Christy and Marsha. It is amazing to see the authors that pave the way or inspire us.


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