I spent my career working in mental health centers and in managed behavioral healthcare. I wrote lots of dull reports, which whetted my appetite for creativity.
The greatest literary influence on my life has been Shakespeare. I was fortunate enough to be introduced to him when I was in the seventh grade. I'm not sure how my love of Shakespeare influences my writing vampire novels and other fantasy. However, there is no doubt in my mind that it does.
The next major influence in my life was Robert Parker. I enjoyed his Spenser novels because of the smarmy protagonist, and Parker's ability to say things with brevity. Back to Shakespeare. In Macbeth, Gertrude said to Polonius, "More matter and less art." Parker was a master of that.
The most recent major influence has been Dean Koontz. The level of his writing in the recent Odd Thomas series has been superb.
I try to learn from every writer who says something well, is creative, or, helps me to see how I can become a better writer.