Guest blogger: Nina Pierce
So who doesn’t love a hunky, take charge guy in a romance novel? Well, it turns out … I don’t. Well, I mean I thought I did, but then writers and readers started talking about the alpha heroes they love and it occurred to me, that’s not really who I write.
I thought all my guys were alpha heroes. Not that they steamroll over the heroine or completely wall off their emotions, but they do step up to the plate when the time comes. The problem was they didn’t seem to have that pushy, never-give-an-inch attitude many people associate with alphas. But they definitely didn’t fit into the more gentle, less obtrusive sidekick beta hero either.
Okay, I know technically (especially in stories with shifters) there is only one alpha leader. Therefore if you write a story about the other guys, like I do, they would be considered beta. But I just can’t go there. In my opinion, the beta hero is a pushover. He wouldn’t come to the heroine’s rescue. He’d send in his best friend, the alpha, who would save her. He’d be the one to comfort her when the hero’s been a jerk, but then turn her over to him when the guy showed up at the front door. But no one writes characters like that. I’m always looking to write the next story so even my ‘best friend’ characters offer more than a supporting role.
So maybe I have the definition all wrong.
In my confusion I checked out a bunch of posts about alphas. Frankly, the description didn’t make me think of the men in romance stories that make my knees go weak—they seemed kind of pushy and insensitive. I kept bumping up against the beta who didn’t quite have that ‘protect my family’ kind of persona. Then I found someone who described not alpha, not beta, but a gamma hero? Wai … whaaaat?
Yeah, the gamma hero pulls the best from both the alpha and the beta heroes. He’s a man with all the chutzpah of an alpha but the emotions of a beta. In other words … the strong male who doesn’t run roughshod over the heroine in his quest to bring down the bad guy, but works with her to find the key and discover the lost treasure or slay the dragon or free her world or … well, you get my drift. This is the guy of romance stories in my opinion. The hero who could don the pages of any GQ magazine, but knows how to BBQ a mean steak for his lady and draw her a bubble bath. *sigh* Yeah, that’s the ticket.
So I guess I’m aiming to write gamma heroes. Who knew?
The reality is. It doesn’t matter what we call them. It’s their heart and soul that brings the reader back to our stories over and over again. Readers need to connect to the hero. Believe he’s real. Believe he’s the only one for the heroine. Believe in their love story.
What about you? Do you like your guys all alpha in stories and keep your betas for real life or are you a combo kind of gal like me … enjoying a gamma between the pages?
My recent romantic suspense novel, Uncontrolled Burn has a gamma hero vampire who has a way of taking care of the woman he loves even as he works with her to bring down a rogue vampire. This novella is found exclusively in a firefighter-themed boxed set.
A woman forced to live a life she didn’t choose. A vampire bound by honor to protect humans. A deadly game of revenge that threatens both their lives …
Thirty years ago, a horrendous attack thrust Chemistry professor, Alexandra Flanagan into the secret world of vampires. Saved by the blood of an ancient vampire, she unhappily walks among immortals. Now, deadly fires in her quaint town have brought her to the attention of Reese Colton and his elite RISEN team. Undercover as a firefighter, Reese has been called in to flush out and eliminate the rogue vampire burying a string of murders in the ashes of deadly fires.
With the body count climbing and the number of fires escalating, the evidence pointing to Alex is piling high. Discovering the identity of the vicious vampire hell-bent on revenge may be the easy part of Reese’s job. But bringing a murderer to justice could mean the difference between honoring his duty—and losing his heart.
Even though it’s been 10 years since USA Today bestselling author, Nina Pierce, first put fingers to keyboard, it still amazes her that she hasn’t written all the stories swirling around in her head. But then again—the woman is never at a loss for words! A former science teacher, she now spends her days making stuff up, killing off imaginary people (who may or may not look a lot like her nasty neighbours) and finding her characters their perfect soul mate. Married to her high-school sweetheart of thirty years, Nina believes everyone deserves a little sexy romance in their life!