Questions posed to writers range from where they get their ideas to how they became writers and everything in between. One question in particular continues to come up regularly which I find difficult to answer.

“Who is your favorite author?”

I would like to say one name, but it so happens I have four and each is a favorite for different reasons. (Understand that they all hold my number one spot, so despite the order, they are all shining brightly in my mind’s eye.)

Edgar Allen Poe was one of the first great writers I found as I was discovering my love of stories. He crafted his poems and short stories with a mastery that I will always love. His works touched me deeply and helped me respect the written word while finding both the joy and tragedy in storytelling.

The second writer is Neil Gaiman. I discovered this amazing writer at a time when I was still obsessively reading comic books and hadn’t yet discerned what good stories were until he shared a great one. It was a comic book entitled The Sandman and I only picked it up because the cover had a hidden face that glowed in the dark. I read the story that very night and have never been the same since.

The third is Dean Koontz. I first read him when I was in my thirties and, like Neil Gaiman, I picked up the book Strange Highways because the cover drew my attention. It was glossy silver and depicted the shadow of a man standing at a crossroads. The story drew me in at once and by the conclusion had me thinking seriously about second chances. I soon found the courage to pursue my passion for writing once more. I owe Dean Koontz more than I can say, for he helped me look deep inside and discover the passion I always yearned to follow.

The fourth is an especially favorite author because his inspiration was not by his writings alone. His PRESENCE impacted me like none other. I owned several books by Ray Bradbury the day I learned he was going to attend a seminar where he would speak. When I saw he would sign autographs afterwards, I rushed out to see if I could attend. It was a full house, but I made it in and by the end of the discussion I nearly forgot about the books I carried for him to sign. His passion was so overwhelming, I could feel his energy filling the room. The intensity of his words remain with me to this day. He was a true artist who followed his dreams throughout his life. If I can hold onto a fraction of that passion when I have doubled my years, I will consider it a blessing. Mr. Bradbury, I thank you. May your works and words inspire generations of writers for all time.

There are many other authors I enjoy reading and many I hope to discover in the years to come. As far as my all-time favorites go, these four are mine. I hope yours lift you up and carry you forward always.

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