My approach to writing has always been a multi-media experience. It's not uncommon to ask a writer what his or her favorite book is, or which writers have influenced them. While these are valuable questions, they will never give readers a full picture of the writer's craft, at least not for me. That's because books are not the most inspirational art form when it comes to the way I approach writing. Literature was crucial in my early development of style and structure, but so was music and images.
Whenever I start a project, part of my note taking process includes collecting images that will inspire me. It's not unusual for me to translate an image into words and insert my characters among the chaos they depict. My imagination is very visual, and for me a picture is literally worth more than a thousand words. I always aim to create a story that the reader will be able to see clearly.
Music has always been the way I set tone. When I'm working, I chose albums that generate a similar mood within me that I hope to project into the work. For me, it's important that a piece of literature cause the reader to share the same emotions that the character is feeling. The rhythm of the words, the language that is used, all this helps achieve these ends. I wouldn't be able to do this with the sounds that steer me through the pages.
Writing like any other art is one that borrows from all sources. It's not something created in a vacuum of the imagination. It everything around the artist filtered through the imagination.