I started writing comedy sketches while studying Performing Arts, then moved on to short stories while studying music at college.
It wasn't until I was made redundant (from a job I hated anyway) that I had the time to finish my first novel. I knew then that this is what I wanted to do and have been producing a novel per year ever since.
Stephen King is obviously a huge influence on my work, more than any other horror writer, I think he has great diversity in the subjects he tackles. Douglas Adams is another favourite. He was probably the author who gave me the final nudge to try to write a novel, because although some of his ideas are exrtemely complicated, he explains them in a way that anyone can understand.That may sound easy, but it's not.
As far as my own style goes, my earliest influence would probably be An American Werewolf in London. I was warned when writing Vampire Dawn not to put humour into a horror novel and I always held that movie up (and seven seasons of Buffy) as an example of how it can work. My novels aren't comedies by any stretch of the imagination, but funny things happen in them, just as they do in life. Often at the most inopportune times.
At the moment I'm working on a new novel due for release at Halloween 2011.