I think that we, as writers, don’t generally like to think of ourselves as being derivative of other creators. To be cliche or derivative is taboo, at least in theory. Still, is it so wrong to have influences and acknowledge them as such?
A friend of mine edits the self-published work of another writer, and her stories of his exploits provide endless material for future posts. Of relevance to this post is the fact that he claims to have no actual influences, that his ideas are entirely his own and only coincidentally similar to works he loves. He describes his books as, “A Crichton-like plot in a Tolkien-like world with Rowling-like characters who talk in Pratchett-like dialogue,” yet when confronted with these similarities he invariably states that he had these ideas independent of having read these authors’ works. As you can probably tell, I don’t believe him. I don’t fault him for being influenced by works he loves, either.
Everything that I write is a love letter, an open admission of admiration and adoration for works and creators I have loved over the years. I am, admittedly and proudly, a product of my influences. If I should achieve any modicum of success, I will owe it to other creators whose works have inspired my own ideas and strengthened my resolve to create.
I see no shame in being influenced. To not admit to it, I think, is to say that you have never loved something to the point that a little bit of it stayed with you.