Thursday, October 09, 2008

Thursday Talk Time - The ABG's of Hot Heroes!

Today, Fiona Harper opens a can of worms by asking you to choose between hot men! Do you love the alphas or the betas, or even the gammas? Confused? Then come with Fiona while she chats As, Bs and Gs…

We all love a romantic hero – he’s the man of our dreams, Mr Perfect. But the more I talk to readers and writers, the more I discover a divide over which type of hero is the most melt-worthy. Although every hero is different, some people place them broadly into one of three camps:

A is for Arrogant, Autocratic and absolutely Alpha

He’s that charismatic animal whom you just can’t tear your eyes from when he walks into the room. Female hearts flutter, pulse rates rise. He’s charismatic and strong. And, whether he’s a leader, a guardian, a rebel or a bad boy, he’s definitely in charge. In other words, he’s exciting! (Think James Bond, Mr Darcy or Han Solo).

However, while I like my alpha men in my fiction, I’m not sure I could live with one. I reckon I’d be sorely tempted to give him a good slap and tell him to get over his sweet self. But then, I’ve always been a bit of a sucker for a Beta…

B is for anything-but-boring Beta

The Beta guy is the sweet guy next door who is sensitive to your needs and interested in your thoughts and feelings. He’s more likely to cook you an exquisite dinner than snap his fingers to order one. He’s the keeper you’d want to be your partner in life and the father of your children. I do love a Nice Guy… He’s sweet, quirky, imaginative, maybe just a little shy or insecure, but that just adds to his charm. Sigh. (Think Jack, the nice brother in ‘While You Were Sleeping’ or anything with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks in it.)

G is for Gorgeous, Gallant and gloriously Gamma

So rare is this animal, some people say, that they’re not even sure he exists! Some say he’s just an alpha relabelled to make him more palatable. Others say he’s a magical mix of the Alpha and the Beta. Full of charm and charisma, he’s sure of himself and strong without being overbearing. Hmm. Gonna go get myself some binoculars and see if I can find myself one of these…

One good way of deciding which is your favourite flavour of romantic hero is to think about popular films and TV shows. Which character appeals to you the most? House or Dr Watson? (I love to watch House as a character, but I’d probably smother him in his sleep if I had to live with him – hence, I’d plump for the Nice Guy this time around.)

What about the men in Pride and Prejudice? Would you marry amiable, cheerful Mr Bingley or would you hunt down the delicious Mr Darcy? They're both rich, not bad looking. Bingley would never look at another woman and he'd never do the macho I-know-I'm-wrong-but-I'll-argue-til-I'm-blue-in-the-face-rather-than-admit-it thing. Sign. Still no contest, is there? I’d thought I’d choose the Betas every time, but I just can’t abandon the fantasy of Mr Darcy. One-all so far, then…

Okay, how about the heroes in Sweet Home Alabama? You’ve got slick – and let’s face it – rather yummy Patrick Dempsey as Reece Witherspoon’s new fiancĂ©, versus Josh Lucas as Jake, her seemingly non-ambitious soon-to-be ex-husband. But then it turns out that Jake has the soul of an artist and is so romantic under that rough exterior that it makes me want to melt. Hmm. Hard choice. Can’t I just have both, please?

And then there’s Grey’s Anatomy. McSteamy? AKA Dr Mark Sloan… (No! Not the Dick Van Dyke Dr Mark Sloan! Will you please just keep up?) Where was I? Oh, yes. McSteamy…No prizes for guessing which category he falls into. Irrisistible Alpha all the way. And I was going to label McDreamy as a Beta, but then I thought of George, who’s the real Nice Guy of the piece. He’s so sweet and sensitive he’s almost a girl, for heaven’s sake! So, (gasp), maybe McDreamy is one of the rare Gammas – he is a brain surgeon, after all. And he has his moments of pig-headedness, but – oh my goodness – he is just so….well, DREAMY!

Well, after starting to write this post thinking I was going to plump for Betas and Gammas all the way, I’ve surprised myself. Seems it’s a tie between all three types. Never mind. They say variety is the spice of life, after all. And you can never have enough hot heroes can you?

But enough about me… What about you? What hero type do you find most appealing and why?

Fiona's next release, Christmas Wishes, Mistletoe Kisses, is out in the UK and North America in November, and Australia and New Zealand in December.

Three wishes for Christmas…

It’s taken all of Louise Thornton’s courage to start again with her young son. This will be a different life, one away from the paparazzi – and her cheating celebrity husband! Louise is determined to make this Christmas perfect for her son. But it’s not until she meets Ben Oliver that she starts to sparkle again. When Ben catches Louise under the mistletoe, he realises only he can make Louise’s wishes come true…

Fiona Harper's Christmas Wishes, Mistletoe Kisses (4.5 stars) pairs a simple plot with complex characters, to marvelous effect. It's both moving and amusing. Romantic Times


  1. Hey Fiona!!!

    I love a Gamma, I think that's what I write kind of accidentally as any Alpha I try to write ends up washing a dog, or babysitting a kid, or holding the heroine's hair while she's sick ;).

    So I vote Gamma!!!


  2. They all have their uses :) For writing, I dance back and forth with Gammas and Alphas...

  3. Definitely a Gamma girl :) although you've got to love those Betas. Alphas are great eye candy and fabulous fun to watch and read about but full on would be a little hard to live with.

    Actually I suspect that most men have aspects of all three in their makeup. Thank goodness.

  4. Gamma gamma gamma!

    But maybe that's a Romance hero after all. He leads, he's proactive, he's strong and reliable and when push comes to shove, he'll smack some ne'er do well down a peg for being a jerk.

    And he'll hold the heroine's head when she's sick or...well...he'll save the cat. or make dinner. or fold a load of laundry.

    The alpha characteristics of a gamma make a woman's heart race...and the beta bits give it the awww factor. No wonder I love writing for this line. :-)

  5. I think I love a gamma too if I think hard about it. It's the fantasy man with just the right amount of softness to make him temptingly real.