Friday, August 21, 2009

Creating and (Living with) the Alpha Male

Hi, All! My name is Teirney, and J. Hali asked me to do a guest spot here on Paranormal Romantics today. Hopefully I do her and ya'll justice with my post. As I was racking my brains last night for the perfect topic that would knock your socks off, my mind went blank and my back was hurting too badly to think straight. (I'm preggo and the baby decided to park on my spine).

So, instead of this amazing thing that I wanted to write about, which never occurred to me, I would instead, like to share with you my own little secret on creating the Alpha Male. My favorite books all include the elusive Alpha Male. Lora Leigh, Stephanie Meyer, and even a few other greats that I can't think of this early in the morning without another cup of caffiene have did it wonderfully.

When I started writing seriously and full time, I tried desperately to create a well rounded hero with absolutely no flaws. Mistake #1. As I have learned with reading other works and living with my own Alpha DH, the perfect alpha is the farthest thing from perfect you could possibly get and still call him hero. In fact, between the villian and the alpha, for me, there is often a fine line. We often think of the hero as the knight in shining armor and the villain should have an evil third eye.

When I created Jax, the hero in the first of my Alpha Team Soldiers series, Ivory's Addiction, I threw out the rule book and studied my husband. Now, writing about soldiers and the kind of man it takes to be a soldier, I realize I had an inside view. I lived with one! But there were other qualities that Jax needed that my own DH didn't display. He was just too nice, and Jax needed to be a bad-ass all around. Sean, my hubby, couldn't be cold if I begged him to. He'd look at me with his adorably raised left eyebrow and smile. It would all be over from there, unfortunately, because I melt like a puddle. Instead, I looked to his team members to discern the rest of the unique personality aspects of the ultimate bad-ass.

Sean is strong and silent. Check. But the innate coldness I envisioned for Jax had to come from somewhere else and I couldn't describe it myself until I saw it. Voila! I met a soldier who gave me the willies just by being around him, even though I knew deep down he was a good guy. So instead of taking you through burning out the impurities of each of my husbands friends, I'll just let you know the end product: A complete and total A-hole.

So what makes creating this alpha male any different than the villain? As I was writing Ivory's Addiction, I let Jax have his head. Instead of dictating what kind of man he would be, I gave him his personality traits and let him have his way. This is often hard for a writer because more often than not, I wanted him to be a different way than he was! Jax stayed true to himself throughout the progress of the story. He never lost that coldness that made him so dispicable in the beginning of the story, but he did show me, and Ivory, that beneath the layers of crud and steel, lurked a man with a big heart.

I sat back after I read the last chapter and I thought, WOW! He exceeded my expectations! The truth is, creating the alpha male doesn't happen because the writer says, "Okay, Jax, you're an alpha male." It happens because I gave himt he tools and he became the alpha male himself. To this day, Jax is my favorite character that I've created. Since I wrote Jax and Ivory's story, I've gone on to finish the first draft of the second book, Axel's Obsession and am currently working on the third installment, Loving Luke.

All these men are hard to write, hard for my heroines to live with and worse, they're foul mouthed with a devil may care attitude! They're stubborn and unique, but, I couldn't dream of a better male lead if I tried. I went looking for an alpha male and discovered the truth is, he's got to find me. I'm supposed to be working on my paranormal romance, The Stone Angel, but Luke came knocking. Not only did he knock, he broke down all the mental doorways and stormed his way into my creative process.

The only problem with creating alpha males, once they have control, they never give it up!

I hope you enjoyed this blog as much as I enjoyed writing it. Alpha Males are my favorite character hands down in any romance, and as I set out to create my own, I wished someone had given me a formula for making the perfect man come to life. Truth is, they existed already, right there in front of me in every soldier I knew! I just had to look, and Jax, Axel and Luke were born.

Thank you to the Paranormal Romance bloggers for giving me this time today to share with you and I hope that I did you all justice with my rambling blog. Have a wonderful weekend!


Sandra Sookoo said...

Welcome to the party! You do Alpha males great! I need to learn how to do it better :-)

Teirney Medeiros said...

Thanks, Sandi! I'm so happy I could do this today. I've got another long day of travelling tomorrow cause that Alpha Male (IE-Sean) is coming home earlier than planned!

J Hali said...

HEY, Teirney:
Love the alpha males, where's that gorgeous cover? Thanks for subbing for me...I'm back to editing now.

I'll have to have you over more often. You're awesome!

Rebecca Royce said...

I like how you point out that they don't give up control once they have it. They really really don't. All of a sudden, its not your story, it belongs to them and good grief it you have a spunky heroine, you wonder if you'll ever get to HEA.

So glad to have you here.

Teirney Medeiros said...

I enjoyed this, Joann. I'd love to guest spot for you some other time. And I didn't even think about the cover! LOL.

Glad to hear your appt went well and baby is fine. And I agree. Writing Luke's story, I've done the feeble heroine who takes her own strength in hand, I've done the just as stubborn heroine who can put a man in his place, and now, with Sarah, I've got a volatile heroine! LOL, she and Luke are going to be so much fun to write, but I have no idea how I'm going to get them to reconcile.

J Hali said...

Thanks, Teirney. Still want to see that cover! Guess I can grab it next Friday...

Annie Nicholas said...

Sorry, I'm late in Welcoming you to Paranormal Romantics. Hectic day at work yesterday. Great post. I have a bad habit of neutering my heros with overly strong heroines. LOL When I edit I must remind them to play nice and fix things.