Saturday, November 29, 2014

How Much Alpha is Too Much Alpha?




Like so many romance readers, the occasional alpha male makes me smile. A strong man who knows what he wants and how to get it is definitely one of my favorite things about the genre. Of course, there are some characters that pass from the realm of the alpha, into the realm of the jerk. Never a good thing.

 

This happened a lot in romance novels in the 1980's and 90's. (Okay, yes, I am definitely dating myself here.) One of my favorite romance novels when I was younger was WHITNEY, MY LOVE by Judith McNaught. While a lovely story in many ways, filled with fabulous, sexy situations and compelling characters, it had an alpha who crossed the line more than once. The duke who was our hero lied to the heroine for months about who he was, only to rape her when she pissed him off. How, I ask you, does a woman come back from that? Somehow, the leading lady took him back and made it all ok for the both of them, after a bit of groveling on his part, but honestly there is not enough groveling in the world to make up for that kind of heinous behavior.

 But enough about my personal dislikes. The real question is, how much alpha is too much alpha?

 I explored this tightrope walk myself in my novel HOW TO TAME A WILLFUL WIFE. Any man who sets out to "tame" a woman as if she is a wild dancing bear already has problems. But can those problems be overcome? The answer for me is yes, though some of my readers love to hate Anthony for his high handed ways.

 The way I solved the problem for myself and for the majority of my readers was to make my heroine as strong, or stronger, than Anthony. Caroline gave as good as she got, and she never backed down. She and her willful husband had to learn to live together in peace, and they had to do it as partners, as equals, or the whole thing would have gone down.



 So this leads back to my question: On a scale of 1 to 5, five being Love That Alpha and one being Hate The Alpha, where on the scale of Alpha Male Hero do you fall? Leave your answer in the comments section below for a chance to win a signed copy of HOW TO TAME A WILLFUL WIFE.

These shenanigans come from the mind of Christy English.
Ever since Christy picked up a fake sword in stage combat class at the age of fourteen, she has lived vicariously through the sword-wielding women of her imagination. Sometimes an actor, always a storyteller, Christy works happily with Sourcebooks Casablanca to bring the knife-throwing women of her novels to life. A banker by day and a writer by night, she loves to eat chocolate, drink too many soft drinks, and walk the mountain trails of her home in North Carolina.
Christy on Facebook
Christy on Twitter
Christy's Blog

16 comments:

  1. I think there's a hard line between an alpha and a alpha-hole. The real problem is that not everyone has the same line. What I consider too far over that line to be redeemable doesn't bother some readers. (I dissected the alphahole phenomenon on my blog at http://www.laurakcurtis.com/blog/2013/08/ticas-tropes-i-cannot-abide-1-alphaholes-abusers-sympathetic-pasts/ ). I think a great deal of what defines the position of that line in the sand is the history of the reader. That's not something an author can know or consider, however! So I guess I probably fall about the 3. I like Alphas, but I prefer them to own their issues.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL Laura! Amen! I love your Alpha/ Alpha-hole distinction. Thanks for the link to your post...I really enjoyed reading it. I love a strong man, but I draw the line at stalker myself

      Delete
  2. Oh, probably a 4 or 4.5 lol. Alphas are exciting (in stories that is). As long as he is not mean spirited - he still has to have a kindness to him.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So true catslady...no matter how much power a man has, kindness goes a long way toward making him attractive. Thanks for commenting :)

      Delete
  3. I like alphas a lot. I don't care much for an alpha who rapes a woman. That's a criminal.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am with you Shana! That guy may have been a bad example. A dude who needs to be in jail is not an alpha...

      Delete
  4. 4-5

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  5. Have you ever read the two different versions of Whitney My Love? She toned the sex scene down later (and removed the whipping). Clayton is a bigger than life character, that's for sure. But rape is never acceptable, never. Alphas a fun to read, but I would never live or marry one. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I never read the new version Sally! I need to! I still enjoyed Clayton but that one scene pushed it over the edge for me. I'm so glad it got revised in a later version.

      Delete
  6. I love a good Alpha - put in my the 3.5-4.5 range (just to be a little different). However, whether you call it 'forced seduction' or rape - that is NOT what I consider hero - Alpha or otherwise - behavior. I've stopped reading books after scenes like that. There's enough of that in the real world, why would I want to read about a supposed hero who thinks it's ok?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Congrats to catslady! Winner of the drawing! Please leave an email here or email me at aceng2511@yahoo.com so I can get your snail mail :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thank you all for hanging out with me :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  10. This is just the information I am finding everywhere. Thanks for your blog, I just subscribe your blog. This is a nice blog.


    Yong
    www.gofastek.com

    ReplyDelete