Oh, I used to love the alpha guys – like Robert Beaumaris in Georgette Heyer’s Arabella – the ones who are good at everything and know everything. And you’re riding in the carriage thinking you’ve risked it all on a crazy elopement, and then find out he’s actually taking you on a visit to his grandmother and all your agonizing problems have already been solved. (Wait, why don’t I like that?)
I’ve created some alpha heroes in my time. But something happened to me along life’s way, and I shifted my allegiance to men like Freddy in Cotillion and Adam in The Civil Contract. These beta guys get things wrong, and they worry. They aren’t completely sure of themselves. In fact, they’re the opposite of arrogant; they don’t know how competent and charming they actually are. And when the heroine tells them, they’re often surprised. How endearing is that?
So, these days, I like writing about a hero who has a few problems, as well as the (eventual) willingness and courage to try to deal with them. He may not know how. He may be kind of (or very) annoying as he figures it out. But when he does, he’s well worth the angst. And his personal journey is interesting and moving.
Times change; people change. Give me an endearing beta guy and let the alphas do their thing someplace else.
You can see what I mean in my book The Bargain, out in re-issue next Tuesday. The Romance Reader said: “If, as I do, you love historicals set in the Regency era, filled with great wit, funny family relations, and a beta hero to die for, you will simply want to devour this book.”
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