And then we have the books we read and knew we wanted to write like that. For some people, it's probably the same. It wasn't for me, though. I don't remember the series changing me or the way I thought. Maybe made the idea of bravery more important, though I can hardly remember.
I caught someone reading a book with zombies on the cover, when I saw it was based in a video game world I wrote it off. The reader then told me the entire gory adaptation was written by a woman. Not sure how often that happens now, but back that, wasn't something I came across every day. I made a note of it, and later when our library stocked the entire series in the YA section, I checked out every one of them. I was working as a substitute then, and would use our between periods or that fifteen minutes you received in which you were either 1. pressured to work for another classroom or 2. expected to choke down food to camp out and read. I finished the series in a few months.
In case you haven't guessed yet, the novels were S.D. Perry's Resident Evil books. Who the hell ever gave me the impression these sort of books weren't fantastic? I should have picked them up the day I saw another person reading them. Maybe not all of them are. But these made you SCARED. Vulnerable to the scratches and bumps you hear in the dark. The descriptions are still some of the best I have ever encountered in the world of detailed bloody horror, and I wasn't a super fan of Resident Evil as a game series. It was okay, it's fun to play co-op in ways most other spooky games never have been, but the writing here is great.
I read S.D. Perry's works and felt at home. I felt like I could do this. Like I was driven to write dark fiction and horror. Those books were my dirty secret inspirations. But I disagree with having to hide that, and would recommend any fan of this genre to go ahead and try these.
Not really long after that, I started looking into the Dead Space universe for graphic novels and was also REALLY impressed. These are dark, detailed worlds. Things toted as not wonderful writing or world building because of where they were based, but that is absolute bullplop because they are those things.
So, I guess long story short is don't be afraid to find your spark of inspiration anywhere.
It's not less valid no matter where you found it. Browse writing in every genre and form, and find what speaks to you as an author and a reader. And then, talk about it. You never know if your recommendations might help someone else discover what they need.