Thursday, October 27, 2016

Q is for Quarrels

An editor thought Debra's first hero was too angry.

As you've heard from me before, I cut my romance reading teeth (so to speak) on the Harlequin American novels back in the mid-80s. The heroes tended to be domineering males, many times with a chip on their shoulder, who often didn't bother to show their disdain for the heroine at first meeting...and for many pages after that.

When I sat down to write my first romance, perhaps it was natural that some of these characteristics wound up in my hero too.

Logan Reed definitely has a chip on his shoulder. He grew up on the wrong side of the tracks and is back in town to prove he's far from the poor boy who left. And he's definitely irritated with Sharlie because of how their relationship ended twelve years ago. And he's definitely not afraid to show her exactly how he feels. They quarrel. A lot.

On my first query/submission of this story, I got a note back from the editor saying that while she enjoyed the story, she found my hero was too angry.

Since then my heroes have morphed into more of a hybrid alpha/beta mix.

I think in general the alpha male has changed in romance. Oh, there are still alphas out there (thank goodness), but they tend to be the 'bad boys' our heroines fall for: the cowboys, the military men...and even they have a softer side...that we see sooner than the declared "I love yous" at the end of a story. They still may have a bit of a 'take charge' attitude, but not in a domineering-bordering-on-bullying kind of way. In a good way that makes a girl's heart skip a beat. They don't seem to be angry just for the sake of being angry. There's more depth. More to them.

And the heroines have definitely changed. I think some of the heroines of today's romance are somewhat alpha themselves. They're not always the damsel in distress or the helpless gal who needs a male to get through life. They hold their own. They're strong. Capable.

Quarreling and tension definitely have their place in a romance. After all, the conflict is central to the story. But often times it's more of an undertone, rather than an 'in your face' kind of thing.

Of course it's dangerous to make such a wide-sweeping generalization when there are so many different types of stories out there. Something for everyone's taste. So if angry, domineering males are your thing, I'm sure there are plenty of stories out there for you: whether you're writing them or reading them. As for me, I myself am enjoying the 'new' hybrid hero.

Until next time,

Happy Reading!



  1. You nailed this, Debra. The swill of news surrounding the US election sure has brought male vs female attitudes to the fore. Values about who's alpha are changing. Behaviors will surely follow. And what editors and readers want in a hero will change alongside.
    Great post!

  2. I've never been into the arrogant, domineering bullies that appear in so many 'romance' books. Could n ever understand how any self-respecting modern woman could find them attractive. I've always preferred the alpha minus, beta plus kind of hero, confident in his own skin, but also caring.

  3. Exactly, Debra. There has to be a balance in the attitude of both the hero and the heroine. While I do love seeing the hero soften throughout the story, I don't want him to bully her.

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.