This is the last of the main genres that I write in though in romance I take many twists and turns. Thinking back on who really inspired to write romances two authors came to mind. I'm not sure exactly why but I read both of these authors when I was rather young. Anna Karenina in third grade and nearly got suspended from school since the teacher thought this was not a book a child should be reading. My father asked the teacher if I had understood what I was reading. She had to admit I had since I wanted to change the ending of the book. Jane Austen came in my teen years and my English teachers were glad that I read these books.
One is Jane Austen. I have read everyone of her books several times except Pride and Prejudice which I've re-read at least a dozen times. I've found the subtle touches of the developing romances in this book and her other ones to be fascinating. I think her character development is excellent. I don't write like her but her books sowed seeds for me.
Leo Tolstoy is the other. What I was fascinated in his stories was the scope, not to mention the casts of characters, In many of my books I tend to have casts of , perhaps, not thousands but hundreds. In a romance this can create a problem since romances tend to be one man and one woman stories. But from his writings I learned is that every story needs as many characters as it takes to tell the story.
So here we have it. I'm sure there are others but these two are ones I read before I ever decided to write romance or any other genre.