Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Mastering the Alpha Male

I met Ann Jacobs at my very first Romantic Times Convention back in 2004. Because authors are often seated alphabetically at book signings, we've been next to each other, not only then, but several times since. I'm pleased to welcome Ann today to talk about the wonderful Alpha Male characters we all know and love.

What is it about romance readers that draw them to the Alpha Male, that commanding, sometimes exasperating guy they’d most likely strangle if they had to live with him every day?

I believe it’s the fantasy—the secret dream of every woman to be protected, wrapped in the strong arms of a man who will take on all her problems and make them go away by the sheer force of his will. On an even deeper level, it’s the need to escape a modern world full of responsibilities, decision-making, high pressure demands of bosses and society in general…to relinquish the iron control she must exert on a daily basis to a man strong enough to shoulder all those.

A hero to die for—he is hard to buy in a contemporary setting unless… Unless he’s a desert sheikh to fulfill a modern woman’s harem fantasy, a larger-than-life figure so dominant he can master even the strongest woman… Unless he can reach into a reader’s psyche and make her think, “I want this man to take me—anywhere he chooses to go.” That hero must connect with the reader on every level: physical, emotional, sexual, but mostly emotional. He must control the heroine (and thus, the reader) with care, with love, with an understanding of her needs that transcends her own self-knowledge.

Alpha males—they’re strong men, strong enough to tame stronger lovers. Sometimes unabashed Alphas are easier to sell to readers when their stories are set in worlds apart from the contemporary world where we all live, which I believe is what drives authors whose favorite story worlds are contemporary to detour into fantasy worlds of their own making.

Move basically contemporary Alpha heroes into a fantasy world, and an author’s ingrained inhibitions can take a backseat. I did this in a brave yet often terrifying futuristic world that I created, a world very loosely based on premises George Orwell put forth in his classic, 1984, in which Earthlings’ personal freedoms are first eroded and then destroyed.

The result: ten loosely connected novellas based on heroes who refused to accept strictures placed on their sexual freedom and who built their own societies in which there were no sexual bounds, no societal taboos to threaten and emasculate them.

No Bounds, my newest release from Ellora’s Cave Publishing, is the first, chronologically speaking, in the novellas. It is the story of the strong Alpha Dominant who follows and founds a colony off-planet after being banished from Earth—a resort where his fellow Earthlings may safely pursue their forbidden fantasies. No Bounds and the nine novellas (Note 1) that follow demonstrate what happens when Mankind’s personal freedoms are abridged—and how strong men and their even stronger lovers find not only sexual freedom but also the happily-ever-after endings they could not have achieved back home.      

 Ann Jacobs

Note 1:

  • Quest for Pleasure series: No Bounds, Topaz Dream, Gates of Hell
  • Pleasure Partners series: His Pleasure Mistress, Pleasure Slave, Enslaving the Master, Imperfect Partners, Perfect Master, Her Alien Masters, Training the Master, Alien Pleasures, Alien Masters

Your turn! If all the rules were off, if no one was there to tell you, you can't....what would the men be like? The women?

Brainstorm on paper (in your journal is a good spot. Napkins work well, too!). Make a list of characteristics for each gender.

Then write a scene of interaction focusing on dialogue. Let the sparks fly!


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