Welcome KRISTIE COOK to The Alley!
Alpha Males and Bad Boys – Why Do We Love Them So?
Alpha males and bad boys dominate (pun intended) NA romance, to the point where some readers are wishing for something different. They’ve always been a mainstay in any category of romance, though, and there’s a reason for that. Actually, several.
First, readers are pretty dang smart, educated, and independent, including romance readers. We run around all day and into the evening, taking care of others, working or going to school, cooking, and cleaning. Those with families have equal (or even greater) influence in decisions regarding home, children, finances, and the family’s future. Younger readers have so many unknowns in their futures and are learning how to make decisions that have lifelong consequences.
When we read, we want to be swept away from it all—and sometimes we want a strong, alpha male to do the sweeping. We read books that provide an escape from our real life, where we probably wouldn’t normally fall for such a guy. Who wants to be with someone so damn headstrong and controlling in real life? In our fiction, though, we like a guy who will take care of us, take the pressure off, and be able to make decisions without an eternal back-and-forth of, “What do you think we should do?” They have to give in some to our badass heroines, but when we’re falling for an alpha, it’s because we know he’ll take care of her in the end. And she’ll take care of him.
Second, we women (sorry, guys, but the readership leans heavily on the female side) have an innate need to take care of others and help them become better people. In real life, it can be quite difficult to change another person, and depending on the situation, trying to help someone going down the wrong path is rather messy and failure is heart-breaking. So in our fiction, we like to see the heroine accomplish this, whether she’s knocking her alpha male off his high horse a few times or leading a bad boy to reform his bad ways. When the story ends with our hero as a better person, we cheer for both of them, and we close the book with hope that people in our real lives can overcome their own demons.
Alphas and bad boys are also mysterious, and regardless of the genre, readers like some mystery in their stories. After all, we’re reading to uncover the story of these characters’ lives. These edgy heroes usually have something significant in their pasts that make them the way they are, and we not only love discovering those life-changing events, but we flip through the pages to see if the heroine will still accept him and love him, because we already have.
My own heroes have border alpha and bad boy tendencies. Tristan, from my NA Paranormal Soul Savers Series, came to the story as a reformed bad boy, but he continues to battle his demons. He also has to fight the urge to go all alpha on Alexis, but he’s wise enough to know he can’t hold her back, so he ensures he’s always by her side. Jeric, from The Book of Phoenix series, also NA Paranormal, was a cage fighter and a playboy for a long time, and I guess Leni reforms him to an extent, but as you learn in The Space Between, they both change for reasons much larger than the two of them. In The Space Beyond, which releases next month, Jeric tries to deny his leadership position while also acting a little alpha with Leni because he wants to keep her safe. All of my heroes, whether they admit it or not, want to be accepted and loved for who they are.
I love to read a story that makes me fall for an alpha or a bad boy, because that means the author has succeeded in taking me away to another world. I’m too Type A to fall for a real alpha, and I don’t have patience or energy for true bad boys, regardless of how sexy they are (and as a biker chick who goes to rallies, I know how sexy they can be—from a distance).
How about you? Do you love a good story with an alpha male or bad boy (or both)? Would you marry one in real life? What’s your favorite hero type?
Kristie Cook is a lifelong, award-winning writer in various genres, from marketing communications to fantasy fiction. She continues to write the Soul Savers Series, a New Adult paranormal romance/contemporary fantasy, with the first four books, Promise, Purpose, Devotion, Power and Wrath available now. She’s also written a companion novella, Genesis: A Soul Savers Novella, currently available.
The Space Between kicks off her second New Adult paranormal series, The Book of Phoenix. The Space Beyond, Part Two, releases May 2014, and The Space Within, Part Three, releases July 2014.
Besides writing, Kristie enjoys reading, cooking, traveling and riding on the back of a motorcycle. She has lived in ten states, but currently calls Southwest Florida home with her husband, three sons, a beagle and a juggle.
She can be found at:
Author's Website &Blog | UK Fan Site | The Book of PhoenixWebsite | Soul Savers SeriesWebsite | Facebook | Twitter