If anyone epitomises the kind of writer I would like to be, it is Diana Wynne Jones. She combined extreme intelligence, intricate plotting, humour and fantasy in a unique mixture and she did it consistently over four decades.
I found her by accident one summer holiday when the library had a copy of Eight Days of Luke. It drew some neat parallels between the highly disfunctional Aesir and a modern day Midlands family without being in the slightest bit preachy. It also made me laugh hugely and sent me out on a marathon hunt for every other book of hers I could find.
Diana died last year and although I happily re-read everything she wrote, I still hate the thought that there will be no more from her.
She was that rare thing - an author who simply did not seem to know how
to write badly. She always makes me laugh, wince and look over my
shoulder. I understand exactly how her characters work and love the
worlds she creates. She's also driven me round the bend trying to
follow the ramifications of her plots. Hexwood remains a thoroughly enjoyable enigma, to name only one.
Luckily she was prolific as well as consistently good and her bibliography is long. If you have not encountered her, please try reading some of her work. If you have, share your favourites.