For an author, I think I'm a little bit weird when it comes to reading. I don't really read in the genre I write. At least, not that often. The last few books I have read were a mix of regular suspense and non-fiction.
My non-fiction reading as of late has all been focused around North Korea. Although I just picked up Laura Hillenbrand's book "Unbroken" about a World War II vet who ended up in a Japanese Prison Camp. But if you read a good book about prisoners in North Korean prison camps, let me know...
I think some authors would find it strange that I don't read in my genre (paranormal suspense). For me, I think it helps to keep my plotting purer. I don't head down a path that is familiar or 'expected.' I write what I want to write. I don't care if it's unusual or different than the books already out there.
If I read every werewolf book available before I wrote Blood Moon, perhaps I would have followed a plotline that 'fit the market' rather than what worked for me.
This can be a problem, though, because maybe my books don't fit in a category. I know that was true when I was looking for an agent for my book, The Little Black Box. A mind-controlling black box that makes people commit suicide...uh, what now?
I did get a few requests for the first few chapters. One agent asked for the whole thing and had very complimentary things to say...but no one decided to sign me and try to sell the story to a big publisher. Was it too weird a concept? Maybe. But these are the stories that come out of my head.
After taking a break for a few years from my writing, I am diving back into some old projects. Currently, I am reviving an idea I had for a 3-book series about strange things from outer space and a Navy petty officer who finds herself caught up in the middle of it all. I think it's a fun idea. Since I was in the Navy for 6 years, perhaps this would come with a built-in selling feature...who knows?
One thing I won't be doing is reading science fiction or military thrillers to see if I'm doing it right. If this book is too weird for the regular publishing world, I can just publish it myself in this day and age. Let the book speak for itself. Right?