Romantic Suspense heroes

» Posted on Mar 8, 2007 in Blog | 6 comments

I am moving from writing my Love Inspired romance to a romantic suspense for Love Inspired Suspense and the transition takes a little time to make. Besides the obvious reason that the focus of the two different types of stories is different, I’ve come to the conclusion that the types of heroes are different, too. Now this is always the case but generally I find when I write a romantic suspense, the hero is an alpha hero (occasionally a gamma type hero). I don’t think I’ve ever written a beta hero in a romantic suspense. They just don’t fit the story.

As I was thinking about the different kinds of heroes, I wondered why an alpha hero is so popular. Many women love reading a strong alpha one, but when it comes to marrying one, they prefer a beta or gamma hero. So why do I feel this way? What is a beta hero? I think of one as a best friend, the boy next door type. What is an alpha hero? I think of one as the loner (the bad boy), the warrior, capable of taking care of you and himself in any type of situation. The gamma hero is a cross between those two.

In order to write a romantic suspense I find it is hard to do it with a beta hero. I want a take charge kind of hero like Slader in the Heart of the Amazon. In Buried Secrets I have another hero that is a modern day warrior—Zach Collier. When faced with life and death decisions, a heroine wants a man she can depend on.

But after saying all that, I have to admit that I’m married to my best friend, a man who is a beta and I wouldn’t trade him for all the alpha men in the world. What is your favorite hero? Is that different from who you married or want to marry? What kind of heroes do you see in a romantic suspense story.


  1. Margaret,
    I have a feeling most of us women readers are unfair. We want the best of both worlds. 🙂 We want the hero to be a great alpha male who could help us out of a difficult situation, but we also want him to be our best friend, and the person who will always understand us.

    In reality, I don’t know if that’s possible. But, if I had to choose between the two who to marry, I’d go with the beta “best friend” male.


  2. Margaret,
    I love your suspense novels!!! Can’t get enough of them. And I do love your alpha heroes. My hubby’s an alpha, but he’s also my best friend and a very spiritual man. Does that make him a gamma?

  3. I like reading about all three kinds of hero… I’m not sure an alpha would be very comfortable to live with, but at least he’d know what he wanted and go after it.

  4. I’m with you, Sheryl.

    Debby, I think you’ve got a gamma hero.

    Thanks, Hope.


  5. Margaret, I’ve enjoyed your thoughts about the various types of men, and have often wondered about why women want to dream about one kind of man, but marry another. 🙂

    I wrote a couple of romances several years ago (then went on to other things) and got a letter from Leslie Wainger who told me she liked my voice, etc. but that alpha males were out of fashion at that time, and that she didn’t see how the plots could work without the alpha male hero, but to write something with a man in touch with his feminine side and re-submit.

    Well, I was pretty green back then and just figured it was a form rejection letter!

    So I’m interested to see how you handle this transition, because it certainly affects your plot and your conflicts. Best of Luck to you in this new direction. I’m looking to you for guidance. 🙂 Riverstone

  6. Riverstone, that was a great rejection. Most of the time an editor doesn’t do that. I’ve written alpha heroes and gamma ones. I’ve occasionally done a beta hero. I think what your story is will decide what kind of hero you will have. I think there is definitely a place for alpha heroes in today’s market–especially in historicals and romantic suspense books.

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