I've already mentioned some names of great authors that have influenced me and continue to do so, thus I'm afraid you won't find many surprises from here, but in case you find it interesting, I have put together a few words about some of my very favorites.

John Ronald Reuer Tolkien. When it's time to talk about world development and adding details to the setting, it's really not a shame to admit being among the majority who seeks example from the work of this great man. It's so easy to get lost in Middle-earth's rolling hills and deep, mysterious forests, and the magnificent wonders they withhold. It's easy to point out that after more than 70 years since the first appearance of a Hobbit, Tolkien's incredible setting has passed the test of time.

Robert Ervin Howard I learned a lot about brutality and harshness of character from this man, and I'm sure this process is still very much ongoing. The explosive and, to a degree, downright rude attitude of his protagonists creates an amazing atmosphere that I enjoy diving into over and over again. Taking place in Earth's mystic past, soon after the sinking of Atlantis, Howard's stories draw inspiration from the glorious Roman Empire all the way to the medieval Vikings, combining the savage nature of men together with beautiful and mysterious lands. It's simply something that is very difficult for me not to like.

Clive Staples Lewis The whole idea of having a gate to another world inside a wardrobe tickles my mind. Unlike his friend, Tolkien, Lewis followed perhaps a bit more childish approach to fantasy, but the depth and details of Narnia continue to mesmerize me. The characters are not heroes by any means, but altogether they end up completing the most heroic deeds on their journey through the land. My mother used to read The Chronicles of Narnia to me when I was a kid, and later I rediscovered it during my attempt to satisfy the unending hunger for more fantasy.

Alexandre Dumas This guy was a true mastermind of how to write brilliant adventure stories. I can't say that I've ever really followed his footsteps very closely, but I was immensely immersed into his works right before I began to study more modern fantasy pieces. The pure thrill of the adventure pulls you in and refuses to let go until the very last page. I wish I could have adapted more from Dumas' writing, but as a writing style, it is quite far from what I generally like to do; however, I'd like to think there are some little things that have stuck with me along the years.

Stephen King We can always argue if Stephen King should be categorized as a fantasy author, and I will always say that's what he truly is. The sheer amount of horror pieces he has written is amazing, but he has in fact created a few very unique and interesting fantasy settings. The Dark Tower saga is definitely his flagship story on this front, but I would not forget the post-apocalyptic masterpiece, The Stand. As a whole, it's very rare to see anyone writing with such passion and versatility, and still keeping true to their own style as Stephen King does. I'm sure that even if he went on to write purple prose, he would still come out as himself.