Which authors or books have inspired your own writing the most, and why?
Oh, jeez. Hmm. Well, JK Rowling has inspired me in general, just to imagine and write and to try to create something at least half as magical as what she created for me. Meg Cabot's Princess Diaries inspire my writing a bit, just in the way that they feature a normal girl thrown into an extraordinary situation and they seem to stay pretty realistic, at least in my opinion, which is something I'm striving for.
There is another book that has inspired me in my writing of this novel, but I can't remember the author or the title. It was just a random young adult novel I pulled off the shelf at the book store years ago, about two very different girls who fight over the same fantasy book in the book store and end up inside the world of the book. I'm going for a similar thing here (again, ordinary girl in an extraordinary situation) and I just loved that book, so I keep thinking about it.
Oh, and I've just been reminded of one of my favorite fantasy books, The Two Princesses of Bamarre, by Gail Carson Levine. I love the fantasy world portrayed in that book, and the characters are wonderful and the plot is just amazing. It is surprisingly touching and smart for what is essentially a children's novel.