Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Paranormal Hero: The Quintessential Alpha Male

Before we get started, since everyone is posting their book covers, lets post mine. I don’t have a release date yet, but it’s called Her Wolf: The Westervelt Wolves Book 1 and it will be available at some point from Liquid Silver Books . They have a great catalog of books that I suggest you check out if you’ve not been there. (I have sold other books but I have no book covers for them yet, as soon as I do…and all of you authors know how I’m nervously waiting for them…I’ll post them here.)

So, having gotten that out of the way, I decided today to talk (write) about the Paranormal Hero, our Alpha male. To give credit where credit is due, this idea stems from a conversation I was having via e-mail today with the extremely talented author Sandra Sookoo . So thank you giving me the idea for this post, Sandi, otherwise I’m not sure what I would have written today.

Anyhow, one of the things a reader should be able to count on when reading a Paranormal Romance is that the hero will be of the Alpha Male variety. If you’re writing a romance, and I’m still relatively new to this so if you have a different opinion please tell me, I am completely willing to admit to being wrong, you want your reader to fall in love with the couple. There needs to be chemistry, mistrust, betrayals, misunderstandings, and ultimately a Happy Ever After that leaves everyone feeling satisfied. Some people would argue that there also needs to be sex but this is not something I’m going to discuss today. I think we’ll leave that for Annie Nicholas, Rae Lori, J. Hali Steele. They are much better on that topic than I am.

In the contemporary genre, sometimes you can get away with having a less than dominating man as the hero. Our heroine can be a highly successful, genius in her own right with a child she has no father for, and fall in love with the subtle, gentle dentist down the street who is happy to watch her shine.

This is true also in the historical. Our heroine is so abused from the terrible destruction of World War I that she falls in love with the almost blind American soldier who has come over and really just wants to spend the rest of his days growing grapes on her family’s vineyard and it is his gentle soul that attracts her.

Actually I wish I could write these stories. I would love to read them. I’m half-obsessed with historical romances at the moment (Must be the fact that I’m watching The Tudors religiously on Show Time.) But every time I sit down to try to write something, someone ends up having supernatural powers. I have therefore accepted that my creative bug is drawn to the weird and mythical and I’m leaving it at that.
But the Paranormal hero is not a gentle soul. Maybe he has one under layers of violence and mysticism but it is not so obvious at the start. Let’s face it, do we want to see a Wolf acting like a Mouse? No. Part of what makes it interesting to read about Werewolves, Shifters, Vampires, Dragons, Ghosts, and any other being you can imagine is the very danger associated with them. Let’s face it, the Vampire might drink your blood and accidently/on purpose kill you.
It’s the fact that we write them, and read about them, and they are so on the edge, so close to losing control but don’t (or maybe do but that’s a topic for another day) that makes them so fascinating to read about.

I don’t think you can write a Paranormal Hero that isn’t a true Alpha Male, otherwise he doesn’t seem to fit the genre. In real life, we don’t want our men telling us what to do all the time (god help them if they try) but in the world of the Paranormal that’s what we love about them.

There is an exception to this statement and it comes in some of the Vampire novels, and to be honest, it is why I read a very select few Vampire novels at this point. Sometimes a Vampire hero can spend half the book (or more) lamenting. You know the kind: “Oh dark night, why was I called to thee? Where is the light to my very dark soul who will bring back the sun to my never ending darkness?” Some people love this but when I read it, I feel like screaming ‘gag me with a stick please.’ But this is a personal preference and in all truth those vamps are still Alpha males as they talk their women into becoming the Undead by the end of the book.

I hope you’re all well. Do you have a favorite Alpha male? Do you like the Vampires who lament? All opinions are most wanted.


Sandra Sookoo said...

LOL Glad I could help out with the blog at the expense of my werewolf LOL Oh, and my vampire gave up his paranormal abilities for my heroine. Is he still an Alpha? LOL

So, now that I'm re-writing parts of chapter 9-12 of the werewolf novel and after having re-found my original Alpha hero, I have to say you're right. It works much better now. :-) I had issue with him being an Alpha because I had just watched Underworld on Saturday and hated every moment of it.

Why? Because guys in my paranormal world just don't go around tearing people's throats out and killing because of what they are. I don't like writing the dark and gory, so my hero came out of the wash looking like a shadow of his former self.

Once the issue was identified, everything worked out. Oh, Xavier still wants to eat people and spends a good bulk of the time ordering "his woman" around but I'll be darned if somewhere along the way she hasn't grown a backbone too and is giving him a run for his money.

So, if your heroine has an attitude too, doesn't that still make the hero Alpha? These are the questions I'm dealing with now. :-)

Great post. Can't wait for more of your wolves.

Annie Nicholas said...

I've had issues with my alphas. They tend to want to take over the story writting. One moment I'm about to write a menage then the next one of the heros attacks the other. A knife gets pulled, my mood is lost, there goes the menage.

"Colby! Put down the knife. It wasn't in the script."

"I don't care if you are the writer. I am not sleeping with Tane."

Honestly, they're so hard to deal with.

Gem said...

Alpha males are just bad boys grown up. "I want my way, and I want it now!" The interesting thing about paranormal romance, is how the alpha male is dominated by love and can't do a darn thing to keep it from happening. Conquered hero meets lfe mate. :)

Anonymous said...

Great post, Rebecca

I try and give my alpha's strength as well as heart. They put their women above all else but respect what strengths the heroine has as well. They strike a balance with one another.

Liena Ferror

Rebecca Royce said...

Sandi, I'm so happy you refound your Wolf too. I love him.

Annie, were you seriously going to put Colby and Tane in a menage? Really??

Gem, I've never looked at it that way, but you are totally right. It would be like my almost four year old never growing out of his mine phase. LOL

Lienna, You're right, they must have heart or why would we love them?

You ladies are awesome.


Kris said...

Rebecca, I agree completely! Even Jane Austen commented (to paraphrase), in her heart every woman has a soft spot for a rogue! You might not want to live with one long term but they do make our little hearts beat faster!

J Hali said...

OHHH! Rebecca,

Have you started me up this morning. First thank you for thinking I can tell someone about sex. *grins* We'll leave that to Purple P Rose on Friday.

The vampyre alpha. He's just got to be. Now, I do have a couple heroines who have decided to remain who they are for now. And my vamp's letting them think it's okay. But that's only because he's humoring them. You can believe in someone's story she'll get the bite of her life and fall in line. He will still be a sweetheart (to her) and let her flex a tiny muscle now and again - it excites him. After all, it's because of her he doesn't run amok on the world.

However, if she wants to continue ruffling his cape, I'll kill her to DEATH and find someone who understands him better dammit!

Christa said...

Hi Rebecca.
As a fellow paranormal author over at LSB I was glad to see your topic today.

Alpha males rock! I have been a long time historical fan and paranormal too. Been dabbling with merging the two, Roman gods meet Regency Lady. But while I love the concept, my "bug" is also paranormal in the present day. For me, the alpha male is the consummate leader. He commands through body language, is respected by others, makes hard decisions that might alter the fate of his heroine or his friends and on top of that he just oozes sensuality. He knows who he wants and is bound and determined to do anything, will stop at nothing, to have her. My vampires aren't "the undead" and they don't convert anyone but through their bite they will claim their mate forever. That's my favorite part of an alpha male, his desire and unremitting drive to protect and keep what is his. Their journey to finding love is always such a great thing to read.

Thanks for this blog. It was great to read your thoughts and everyone's comments.

Rebecca Royce said...

But does he lament? Because i must tell you, I cannot take the vampire lament.

Thank you for the Jane Austin Quote, Kris, I love her books.

Rebecca Royce said...

Thank you for stopping by! You put the description of the Alpha Male so perfectly. He will do anything. Thats exactly correct. Thank you so much!

Chiron said...

Great post, Rebecca!

I definitely see what you mean about the Paranormal Alpha Male. And I'd have to agree with you about the vampire lament. It's rare that I find a 'wounded soul' archetype appealing. Ho-hum, dude, get over yourself already! *laughs*

Chiron O'Keefe
The Write Soul: www.chironokeefe.blogspot.com

Sandy said...


I'm married to an alpha male and there are days I would trade for a beta. lol Now, if all the alpha vamps could be like Mick St. John I would read more paranormals, although I would miss the visuals. Smile.

Z(Aasiyah/Nolwynn) said...

Hey Rebecca

However much I've tried for toned-down heroes, they always come out Alpha. Maybe because I have one in my life and simply cannot conceive of the hero as not Alphas. But, that doesn't mean he goes around ordering everyone on everything (like you say so well, lord have mercy on them if they try!), but there are aspects of the Alpha that make it foward in my stories. One appeared quiet and go-with-the-flow until the moment he realised the heroine wasn't giving him half of what he was giving her. That's when you see the Alpha take charge and push himself through. Then I wrote the consummate Alpha, and though overbearing oftentimes, he was a joy to write!

I have yet to write a paranormal, but I'm sure that hero too will be an Alpha. Frankly, I don't fight it any longer! Strong men they will be, period!

And yes, there's always the lure of the bad boy shrouding them. What woman can resist?



Jen said...

I've only read one beta alpha (and I am not so sure you can really consider him a beta) that was written successfully in my 20+ years of reading romance. One.

But I have also read alpha's that drove me nuts. And not in a good way. They were either an absolute &*^, to cocky, to bossy, to something and I couldn't for the life of me figure out why the heroine was actually interested in the guy, cause I would shove him in a lake. LOL. However, If written correctly, I love it when they are an ^&*, to cocky, to bossy, to something.

So there is a balance. At least for me:)

Rae Lori said...

Great post, Rebecca!

I love the alpha male but even more I love the complex Alphas that seem toned down but have that air of taking over a situation when necessary. Yum. That quiet strength always gets me hehe.