I've been writing since I was very young, and it never really let me go. I have stories that I want to tell, and feel a need to reach others with them. If I touch one person, then I'll feel like I accomplished something. If I touch a thousand people, I'm going to need a clown mask to avoid anyone making a positive identification (but still, it will be quite an accomplishment).
As far as influences go, the two writers who made me want to write as a youth were Frank Herbert and Issac Asimov. When I first picked up Dune, and The Rest of the Robots (which contained some short stories along with The Caves of Steel and The Naked Sun) from the public library, I immediately became obsessed. I began to write, and I never stopped.
I still love those authors, they will always have a special place in my heart. Hellstrom's Hive will never leave my mind. Since then, I've also gotten into Octavia Butler, William Gibson, Fredrick Pohl, and a healthy dose of Stephen King and Clive Barker thrown in for good measure.