Alpha males and the women who can kick their butts
I’ve read a great deal of paranormal fiction in the past few years, many of them romances. In keeping with the alpha male archetype, many of the novels portray the man as not just an alpha male, but possessed of superhuman qualities. He’s a vampire or a werewolf; he may be a demon, or possibly an angel.
Either way, he’s far more capable than the human woman who falls in love with him.
Those archetypes don’t work for me.
I’ve always enjoyed writing about strong men and strong women. I trace those enduring archetypes back to Robotech, one of the foundational series that shaped my affection for science fiction. In Robotech, Lisa Hayes always outranked Rick Hunter. He did physically save her a time or two, but it didn’t keep Rick, a take-charge alpha male, from addressing his admiral wife, in public, as “ma’am,” and it certainly didn’t keep cool-headed Lisa from managing the star fleet or, on occasion, vetoing her husband’s military decisions.
In my Double Helix series, Danyael Sabre is an alpha empath with the power to heal or kill with a touch. His conscience however, frequently gets in the way of him exerting the darker side of his mutant powers. However, the human woman he loves, Zara Itani, rarely lets her conscience get in the way of anything. She is an assassin and has trouble expressing herself without a gun or a blade in her hand. On a good day, she can wreak more havoc with love than most people can with hate.
Naturally, the theme of the alpha male who loves an alpha female would find its way from my science fiction novels into my first foray into fantasy. In Eternal Night, it’s all well and good for Jaden Hunter to be an alpha male, but he’s human, and Ashra, the woman he loves, is an immortal icrathari who can break bones as easily as a child snaps a twig. More importantly, no matter what happens as a result of their love for each other, no matter what he transforms into, he will never be as strong as she is.
So, what’s an alpha male to do?
It’s not stopping Jaden from protecting Ashra, much to her exasperation. He’s not trying to prove anything to her or to himself; it’s just who he is. It means learning to fight side-by-side while admitting that her hair-raising aerial acrobatics turn his stomach and he’d rather keep his two feet on the ground. For Ashra, it means accepting his misplaced concern for her as his way of expressing his love for her. It means recognizing the courage and heroism in his spirit as equal to hers, constrained though it is in his frail human form.
It certainly guarantees a great deal of friction and conflict as they come to terms with their love for each other.
Real life relationships often walk as delicate a balance as Jaden and Ashra’s relationship. Real life relationships are often as fraught with friction and conflict, but in the end, I’ve always believed it’s not really about who’s stronger or about who’s the alpha in a relationship. It’s about what you can do together, and ensuring that the outcome is greater than the sum of its parts.
It worked for Rick Hunter and Lisa Hayes, for Danyael Sabre and Zara Itani. Perhaps it’ll work for Jaden and Ashra too…
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jade Kerrion developed a loyal reader base with her fan fiction series based on the MMORPG Guild Wars. She was accused of keeping her readers up at night, distracting them from work, housework, homework, and (far worse), from actually playing Guild Wars. And then she wondered why just screw up the time management skills of gamers? Why not aspire to screw everyone else up too?
So here she is, writing books that aspire to keep you from doing anything else useful with your time.
Her debut novel, Perfection Unleashed, spawned the Double Helix series which has won a total of seven science fiction awards, including first place in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2012 and the gold medal in Readers Favorites Awards 2013. She is also the author of Earth-Sim and When the Silence Ends, which placed first and second respectively in the 2013 Royal Palm Literary Awards, Young Adults category.
She lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with her wonderfully supportive husband and her two young sons, Saint and Angel, (no, those aren’t their real names, but they are like saints and angels, except when they’re not.)
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Genre - Fantasy, Paranormal
Rating – PG-13