This was an extremely difficult decision. First, let me list a few writers that are runners up: J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, Jane Austen, Sarah Dessen, John Green, Robin Mckinley, Sarah Beth Durst, Gail Carson Levine, and Mary Hoffman.
Among other writers, I have never thought of choosing a favorite, because each writer brings their own elements to their stories, and in many cases they can't be compared to writers.
To me, writing is not just an activity. It is a way of life. There are so many layers to writing, and each author brings something unique to their stories.
But once I examined the number of times I read these authors' books, Juliet Marillier won.
What I enjoy about Marillier's stories is the element of folklore and the powerful voice of the protagonist. She combines mythology, magic and the coming of age story into a powerful epic. Of the books I have read by her, I become completely emmersed in the world and the main character's role in the story. Listening to the character tell their tale is magical.
Reading Juliet Marillier's writing reminds me of the stories I want to write, and the strong voice I want the main character to have. So with many favorite authors on my list, I chose Juliet Marillier because her stories balance the human condition with the elements of folklore.
If you're curious, here's her website: