I have a colorful history behind me--and am merely 26 years old! I wrote my first book Not Everything I Say is Nonsense after requests from friends to compile some of the stories I've told them over the years that just seem too crazy to be true. In doing so, I checked "write a book" off my To Do List in Life.
I'm influenced by the good in people on a daily basis. The reminder that when things look bleak, people won't always disappoint you. After a major travesty--they'll be there to help each other.
As far as writing goes, I love to read and I've read a lot over the years to be influenced by, but I write the way I speak, so my real influences are my family and their storytelling abilities. No one has the Gift of the Gab like my family!