Thursday, April 30, 2009

All About Alphas 14 - Michelle Styles

Today's author quote comes from another writer of Historical Romance - Michelle Styles. Michelle has written novels set in historical periods set as far apart as Ancient Rome and 1814, when her latest story is set. And her heroes reflect the times they lived in - but they also match up to the criteria that Michelle has in mind when she thinks of an alpha hero.

Michelle and I share similar opinions on the term alpha male - most importantly the belief that alpha must not mean domineering brute. One of the things that I envy the historical authors is that they are writing about a time when the idea of a man taking charge was often vital and not neccessarily something to be fought against and to see as being controlling or domineering. But whether in a Modern or a Historical - or any other romance - the point is that the heroine doesn't neccessarily see things that way. That is where the challenge/the conflict comes in - whatever date in history the book is set.

Here's what Michelle has to say - and once again that word 'code' comes in.

Alpha male means a leader. Just like you can have good leaders
and bad leaders, you can have good alpha males and bad ones. However, if you are
talking about alpha male heroes, you are automatically talking about the good
ones. The word hero gives it away. We are not talking anti-heroes here,
but full blown heroes. So good leaders and positive attributes. For me
this means: a leader who cares about his men, a leader who has
integrity, a leader who is strong and tough because he has to be. He has
strength of will. He is willing to make the hard decisions and does not shirk
from his responsibility. This is a man who understands there are lines which you
do not cross. He lives by a code. But he is also someone who does not
automatically give his respect. It has to be earned. And above, he requires a
strong mate.

One of the best exercises I ever did was to write down
the qualities I admired in my own personal heroes. I then try to incorporate
them into my fictional heroes. So for example, Simon Clare, the hero of
Impoverished Miss, Convenient Wife, demands as much of himself as he does of
others. Unfortunately he is also impatient and unforgiving of faults. This can
be a good thing when you are trying to solve problems in a mine. It is not so
good when you are trying to deal with your young son and Simon has to be taught
the difference by the very strong willed Phoebe Benedict.

Michelle's latest novel is Impoverished Miss, Convenient Wife which is out now.

His unexpected bride… Wealthy landowner Simon Clare shuns Northumbrian society. With his son gravely ill, the last thing Simon needs is an interfering woman assuming command of his household and nursing young Robert – no matter how sensuous her figure, or how tempting her luscious lips.

Phoebe Benedict knows what it is to struggle, and finds herself drawn to the badly scarred recluse. Despite his tough exterior, she knows that Simon is a father who yearns for his son to recover – and a man who misses the tender embrace of a woman…
Michelle has promised to drop by the blog - as have all the authors - if there are any questions but I think that she is busy today at the Hexham Festival so she may come in later.


Jane Holland said...

I've just finished reading Impoverished Miss, Convenient Wife, and have really enjoyed it. I don't want to spoil it for anyone who haven't read it yet, but I will say that there are certain key scenes where Simon Clare's 'Alpha' qualities come across very strongly!

The opening of the novel is also excellent ... highly atmospheric, it plunges you straight into the story, and Phoebe Benedict straight into conflict with the hero.

The book is set in Northumberland, but the first few haunting pages reminded me of Du Maurier's Jamaica Inn (which also happens to be one of my favourite places in Cornwall; I used to live near Bodmin and those rugged moors and wintry landscapes are just perfect M&B territory).

Anyway, congrats on writing another great Historical, Michelle, and I look forward to your next one!

Michelle Styles said...

Jane --
I am pleased you enjoyed IMCW.

About 15 years ago, I stayed in Cornwalland can remember Bodmin Moor. Isn't there a sign to the real Jamica Inn? The moors in Northumberland can be like that as well. I happen to enjoy a touch of the Gothic and so I am glad that my editors let me put it in.

I am really enjoying Kate's master class btw. It is all food for thought!

Donna Alward said...

Simon Clare is a fantastic hero. I really enjoy damaged heroes and he is delectable. :-)

Jane Holland said...

The real Jamaica Inn is a tourist attraction now, of course, but yes, it genuinely exists, and is easily accessed off the A30 as you swing up onto the moors. They have - or had - a small room dedicated to Daphne Du Maurier memorabilia, and occasionally other exhibitions. More importantly, they also do a tasty carvery lunch!

In winter, it's a lovely place for Sunday lunch or an evening drink at the bar. It's quiet and isolated, with an absolutely vast roaring log fire, great oaken beams and doors, and ye olde trestle tables in the bar area instead of modern seating.

You can stay there overnight as well, it's a real hotel. Not too expensive, either. And the gift shop is fab! ;)


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