So when I set up my author profile on that other book site, it asked me to list my influences.
Like I'd have more than one.
Oh, sure, there are a lot of authors I love. Some I've purchased every book they wrote for a period of time. But there's only one author I think I've read every single book by (even the religious stuff, and I'm not religious) and that's Madeleine L'Engle.
While there are other authors I wish I wrote like or were as smart as, L'Engle will forever be the pinnacle of "wish I was" for me. From the moment I first picked up A Wrinkle In Time, I was hooked. She was the first author I experienced as a child who, quite simply, buried me in feels. She told me it was okay to be a smart girl. It was okay to be different. It was okay to be nerdy and weird and that sometimes, very special things would happen if you were. It was okay to question God and religion and science and everything we think we know.
Mostly, though, she taught me that you could create a phenomenal world with rich characters by setting yourself free from what was expected. You didn't have to follow a formula or do what everyone else was doing, and you could think outside the box and include fantastic things and people would still want to read it.
I'll spend the rest of my life trying to do something even one iota as good as her books are, as well as rereading everything she wrote, from her young adult books to her picture books to her memoirs. And marvel at the worlds she built.