The first authors I loved were Agatha Christie and P.G. Wodehouse. They both wrote a lot of books, and I read every one of them as a kid. I hope to be as prolific as them.
In my teens, I idolized J.D. Salinger. Salinger brings a voice to his characters that I think every teenager can relate to, and his self-deprecating humor was something that particularly spoke to me.
Another one of my early favorites was F. Scott Fitzgerald. Throughout high school, I spent every summer reading at least one novel by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. It started as a test of my reading stamina, but I was drawn in by the emotionalism of Dostoyevsky’s stories, particularly the unexpected vulnerability of his male characters, even as I struggled to keep track of their names.
In college, my tastes got grittier and more modern – Bret Easton Ellis, Joan Didion, and William Burroughs. Paul T. Rogers’ Saul’s Book is probably my favorite novel of all time. I owe my gay political awakening to Urvashi Vaid, Michael Signorile and Eric Marcus. I was also inspired by feminist writers like Adrienne Rich and Susan Pharr.
Some of my favorite contemporary authors are Gregory Maguire, Michael Nava, Junot Diaz, Shyam Selvadurai, and Peter Cameron.