After that was the series that influenced almost everyone; Harry Potter. I don't think I need to say more.
Then I found Neil Gaiman. I particularly loved the variety of genres and art forms he wrote for. No matter what he was writing the plot was wonderful and the characters felt so real. It was while reading Neil Gaiman books I realized that I wanted to become a writer.
Most recently I learned about Brandon Sanderson. He wrote a letter for NaNoWriMo writers during my second year as an Municipal Liaison. At the bottom of the heartfelt letter there was a link to his first novel, Elantris. The letter had piqued my interest, so I downloaded a sample onto my Kindle to look at after November. During a break I decided I really needed to completely distract myself from the novel I was writing. "20 minutes of reading should do the trick...." The next day, after no sleep and no writing I finished reading Elantris. I was instantly in love with the characters, the magic system, the writing, and the complex tangle of subplots. The bar was placed higher. I put that book down knowing I wanted, needed, to write something as good as that book.
Since then my writing has grown. I've read all of Neil's blog posts, listened to over half of Writing Excuses, and have started to watch Brandon Sanderson's writing classes on YouTube. All have been a huge influence on my writing journey!