I didn’t go to RWA in Orlando last week. Every July the Romance Writers of America hold their annual National Conference. I’ve been twice, in San Antonio in 2014 and San Diego in 2016. It’s where 2,000 Romance writers from all over the country (and world) get together to learn more about the craft and business of writing Romance, meet with editors and agents, and celebrate the genre we all love.
I wasn’t able to go this year, but I did follow many of my writer friends who either live tweeted from some of the workshops or set up an alternative online Tweet-stream to enlighten those of us not there.
One of the topics that comes up every year is the Alpha Hero (and to some extent heroine). Love him, hate him, or have no idea what that means, the Alpha male is a stereotype that has long been a staple of Romance. Without going into the psychology of alphas vs. betas, I’ll just sum up. He’s the strong, silent type. The Billionaire, Navy Seal, Bad Boy, Vampire, Police Chief, etc. They are often powerful, rich, take-charge kind of men, both in and out of the bedroom.
For better or for worse, he’s the kind of hero most people think of when they think of Romance novel hero (and I suppose for some, the reason they don’t want to read Romance).
But there is a growing segment of readers who prefer a kinder, gentler, man to sweep them off their feet. Betas might be the boy next door who has grown up into a surprisingly sexy man. He might be the guy you’re just friends with until you realize he’s everything you didn’t know you wanted in a man. He could be a co-worker who works with you on an important project rather than competing with you for a promotion. But he’s no less of a man, by any means.
In fact, he may be more of a man because he doesn’t have to constantly prove himself to the world.
I tend to write more Beta heroes and heroines, but they all have some aspects of their lives where they feel in control. Like Fisher Jones, the heroine of my upcoming book Diving In. She’s kind of an Alpha on the river. She’s confident, strong, and knows what she’s doing. But when it comes to relationships, well, she’s in way over her head.
But that’s the fun thing about Romance. Finding that special someone who can not only see past their lover’s weaknesses, but help them overcome them. While their lover helps them overcome theirs.
Diving In (A Swift River Romance #3) is available for preorder.
For more information about all my books, check out my website.