and other alpha males . . .
Well, fictional alpha males, anyway. The real ones certainly do just fine without my help.
This is in response to various posts/blogs/comments I’ve seen lately about writers bemoaning the fact that every time they turn around they’re reading about a SEAL, FBI or CIA agent or some other, ‘I can save the world with my big toe’ type of guy. They ask where the variety is, why we can’t get more creative. I also notice that most of the time, this complaint comes from writers of historical romance. And then I think that their complaint would be kind of like me complaining that they’re always writing about lords and warriors and rakes and rogues. It’s sort of like asking why Mary Higgins Clark ALWAYS has a mystery to solve in her books or why Sherrilyn Kenyon’s DarkHunters are ALWAYS defeating the demons . . .or why John Grisham ALWAYS writes about lawyers, judges, etc. No one comes down on them for writing the same type of characters over and over. In fact, I’d rather not call them stereotypes, but rather, prototypes. It’s about wanting the hero to be smart as hell and able to save the world as well. And if you think about it, today’s SEAL is really the modern counterpart to the rogue, lord, etc.
As for prefering the alpha male over the beta, I always think of one of my favorite books – Gone With The Wind. You’ve got Ashley, the beta, soul of a poet, dreamy eyed and idealistic man Scarlett spends the entire book chasing down because she feels she loves him. Enter Rhett, the dashing rogue, rake, scoundrel, undeniably alpha male (with the heart of a tortuured soul as well) who is determined to win Scarlett’s heart. Because really, what alpha male doesn’t love a challenge? It’s why alpha males really need alpha females and maybe that’s why some romance stories seem to fall apart. I think that perhaps sometimes the heroines in the romance world aren’t strong enough for the alpha hero, and thus the story comes across as another alpha saves the world and the heroine at the same time, when really they should be saving each other. And they can absolutely be in the same book, which is why I personally don’t think the Bombshell line is going to last any longer than the Flipside line lasted – because when you center an entire line around only the female POV, things get boring, the same way they get boring if you’ve got an alpha male with a wimpy heroine. (And notice, I say an entire line – I know there are plenty of great books out there that are written from only one POV, but with a category line, you need variety). So yeah, a kick-ass hero deserves a kick-ass heroine. It helps the plot, the emotional depth of the book and it keeps the reader from thinking, ‘same-old, same’old.’ So bring on those SEALs, Special Agents, rakes, rogues, Lords and warriors with the hidden souls of a poet and the outward ability to take on the world. Just give them a good woman to help them win the war.