Naturally, Paulsen would be the best source for this. Paulsen's "role models" seem to be more of his background and experience that allowed him to enter the world of literature and writing as a way to escape the dreariness of his own condition and life. His parents were not highly visible in his early years and his adolescence saw them engage in bitter confrontations and fights. The presence of nature in Paulsen's work comes from his own experience of going outside and taking sanctuary in the outdoors to escape the fights at home. In terms of a role model, I am not sure that Paulsen exactly identifies one. He is influenced by the movement in American Literature which link nature and interaction with it to the individual experience, as well as his aunts who were his self described "safety net." The librarian who also guided him into the world of literature might be seen as a role model, one who "gave me a five gallon bucket of water when I was dying of thirst" as he puts it.