Friday, January 27, 2017

Cheryl Bolen Asks Alpha or Beta Hero?

What kind of heroes do it for you? One school of thought has it that Alpha heroes rule. You know, those sexy billionaires who are strong, handsome, and powerful. Then there's the school of thought that likes a sensitive guy, one with a soft spot for babies and pets. This kind of hero can be a regular guy—like many of our husbands. Perhaps he's a fireman, who's heroic in his day job.

When I cut my teeth on romance novels many years ago, I loved the Harlequin Presents formula. Handsome tycoon. Shy, submissive heroine who's swept off her feet like a Cinderella. (After all, Cinderella was my all-time favorite children's story!) When I morphed over to historical romance, naturally I wanted aristocratic heroes.

So when I started publishing historical romances back in the nineties, my first hero (A Duke Deceived)  was a duke. My second (A Lady by Chance) was a marquess. Other books that have followed have names like My Lord Wicked, The Earl's Bargain, and His Lordship's Vow. You get the picture.

Now that I'm finishing up my second decade publishing romance novels, I've discovered something about myself that parallels with my creation of heroes. When I was junior high age—twelvish—the class bad boy who smoked behind the gym was attractive to me. (Wonder what those losers are doing now?) But by the time I started college, my taste in guys did a one-eighty. Glasses started holding appeal. I was no longer enamored by the goof-offs. I wanted a guy who was not only smart, I wanted a guy who was smarter than me.

In this age we live in, it's the smart Bill Gates' types—and yes, they wear glasses—who rule the world. Now in the twenty-first century, there's something sexy about a computer guru. 

Because of this mindset, my Regency-set historical romance Love in the Library, a Brides of Bath novel, features a nerd hero. It's a lot of fun to watch his slow awakening to the heroine and his confused emotions. Why in the heck are her kisses dominating his thoughts? And how in the heck can a kiss feel so . . . so wonderful? Of course, he's strong and, I think, heroic. My readers do, too. That book has a 4.4-star Amazon ranking after 58 reviews. 

Who else likes nerd heroes?-- Cheryl Bolen's latest release is Ex-Spinster by Christmas, a House of Haverstock novella. 


  1. I love beta and always have. Although I think I used to crush on alpha guys, it was the beta ones who held my heart. (He still does. He was one of the ones smoking behind the gym, too. Like most of us, he grew up.) Mostly I want them to not exactly fit into a pattern, but if they have a sense of humor and some nice, healthy flaws, I'm there.

  2. If a character is well written then I believe the reader will fall in love. I've hesitated buying some books because the character wasn't one I'd normally read, then read the first chapter and fallen in love. As long as it has a HEA I'm okay with either one. Great blog!

  3. Interesting post, Cheryl. Alpha or Beta? Both can be captivating and compelling. It all depends on the story.

  4. Coming to you from lovely Las Vegas this morning and must say I had a discussion about this very thing yesterday with a writing buddy who lives here. She thinks there's a shift coming ... from billionaires and really arrogant alphas to betas and now that you mention it, nerds! Great post!

    1. Gosh, I must have just missed you, Bonnie! We came in that Sunday and left Wednesday. WISH I would have known you were in Vegas.


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