I love reading and writing paranormal romance. I love the alpha hero, I really do, but – do they all have to be alphas? I don't like all these alphas that populate the books, or rather, I do, but sometimes I want something else. Something (God forbid!) Different!
That might be the reason why I've only made one Amazon order this year, and I've been to e-publishers far more times than that, where there is much more variety to be had. I’m beginning to groan, and not with pleasure, when yet another big, tough, gruff, bossy man strides into the scene and tries to take over. He'll solve the problem, he'll be forceful and gentle with the heroine by turns, he'll fight the bad guys, he'll have an enormous member, he'll have an inner angst which the heroine will solve, and there you are. I would really like to read something else.
Give us the alpha hero, but give us some betas and gammas too!
A beta hero would be great to read about. Why shouldn't a werewolf be a beta, a gentle, caring man? I adore gammas - I think a lot of gammas are labeled alphas, just for marketing purposes. The loner, the man who doubts himself sometimes, the man who actually talks to the heroine and discusses things with her, a man who respects her opinion and isn’t afraid to act on it if he thinks she’s right.
I write people. I deliberately avoid the alpha-beta-gamma thing, and I think that's why I have dozens of rejection letters along the lines of; “We love your writing but we don't see how we can fit it into our lines - can you make your hero an alpha,” or something like that. I could, and if I wanted to bore myself to death writing the same character over and over I might, but believe it or not, money isn’t my prime objective in this (not that I’d complain if a bit more came my way!). Now I’ve found a publishing home, and I’m happy there, I’ve learned the benefits of having an editor who genuinely loves what I write and encourages me to keep my vision intact (thanks, Gail!)
I spent years in business, working for big corporations, and the alpha male of the romance book wouldn't have lasted ten minutes there, not with the team work and co-operation expected of them. The entrepreneur who doesn’t listen to anyone but goes with his personal vision is the exception, not the rule, and it doesn’t lead to long term business success. Once you remove the ‘image’ many put out, you see the right hand and left hand men, the people a good businessman (and sadly, it is still usually a man) has with him, not to ‘yes’ him, but to give him valuable advice. So perhaps I write about men I’ve known, men who are strong but listen to people, and learn from them, men who make their own decisions, but try not to upset people when they carry them out.
A man who knows how to handle a gun doesn’t wave it about all the time.
And yes, I love Gil Grissom