For starters, I admire my fellow blogmates. I believe they all have the dedication, the creativity, and the talent to succeed.
I admire contemporary author Cynthea Liu. Don't laugh, but I haven't yet read her book, Paris Pan Takes the Dare. It's on my list. But, I've heard Cynthea speak and read her blog. She is an energetic, and seemingly tireless person, who knows a lot about promotion and appears willing to share.
Truth be told, it was Stephanie Meyer's success that finally convinced me to sit down and start writing after many years of dreaming about it. If she, in her mid-thirties with small children, could find the time to bang out a manuscript, than why couldn't I? I know that there are plenty of writing moms out there, but I guess it was simply the right time for me to be motivated.
I set out expecting to hate Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games due to its premise, but the plot is so deep, the characters so engaging, and the writing so terrific that I ended up loving it. I admire anyone who can wrap readers up so completely in a story that it is ridiculously easy to suspend disbelief.
I think that Sherman Alexie did a great job of crossing over from adult to young adult fiction with The Absolute True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. By finely weaving grace and wit, humor and tragedy he conveyed not only what it is like to live on a reservation, but also why it's so difficult to break away even in today's society. And he did this through the voice of a pimply-faced adolescent with girl trouble.
While not comparing the subject matter or the styles of writing, I think Alexie's work will stick with me, much the same way Cry the Beloved Country and the Power of One have since I read them 20 years ago.
I guess you could say that I admire writers who use history or current events as a backdrop for an amazing story. Slaughterhouse Five is another that comes to mind. When I went backpacking in Europe, I dragged my friend to see the bombed out buildings in Dresden, not because of history class, but because of Vonnegut's book.
OK. I'll stop now because it seems I've created a tall order. Write a book with terrific characters that somehow brings history alive, suspends disbelief, is written to stand the test of time, and then figure out how to self-promote. Oh, and do it all after the kids go to bed.