Me and alpha male characters, a history

I’ve always written what people call strong female characters in a way they never say, “He writes strong male characters” of male authors.

I love strong female characters but encountered few of them in fiction as I was growing up, so that’s one reason I like to write them. Another is that I’m kind of prone to kicking men in the balls myself.

A few years ago my editor made a remark about how my male romance characters are beta males—that is to say, compassionate and supportive individuals who don’t demand to have their way all the time, in contrast to the alpha males (muscular, opinionated, testosterone-fueled) that are commonly preferred by romance readers. I mean no one in real life wants one of these guys unless they are very confused but they are fun to fantasize about.

That is to say, I get the appeal of alpha males when they are safely pinned to the page and not trying to tell me what to do in real life.

And while I have tried to write them in fiction, I have never really succeeded, I guess because I can’t get past the desire to give them a nice warm punch in the mouth. I don’t want to send a perfectly nice woman into their clutches.

You’d think I could remember that all such characters are just words on a page, but that doesn’t seem to make any difference.

So I guess this is an advertisement for people who are interested in strong female leads and a warning to anyone looking for an alpha male. You won’t find any of those in the vicinity.