Monday, November 03, 2008

Guest - Kendra Leigh Castle

Good morning everyone! We're lucky to have a fabulous author with us (and one who's becoming a 'must-buy' for me) Kendra Leigh Castle. You can see my review of her latest book, Dark Highland Fire, on my October 6 post.

Ms Castle lives in Maryland with her husband, three kids, two geriatric Pekingese, and one very large, very obnoxious Siberian cat.

To visit her online, go to, where you can learn more about her books and sign up for her newsletter, if you’re so inclined. She also blogs regularly at, and
Good Old-Fashioned Loverboys
By Kendra Leigh Castle

A lot of my early romance reading involved massive, muscular alpha males (often represented by Fabio) who were more concerned with getting their woman of choice to obey them than really helping them fulfill their own destinies. Granted, most of the heroines found ways around these big lugs, at least to a point, and also granted, I found a lot of those “Me Tarzan, you Jane” dudes pretty drool-worthy…big swords and bare chests do have their appeal. And no, I really do mean swords, so stop it. I heard the collective descent into the gutter, there.

Still, in my own work, I’ve never been able to bring myself to write what I think of as a classic alpha male. My sharp, capable heroines wouldn’t stand for it, for one thing, and for another, I think modern romance allows for a much broader definition of alpha than it did in the past. A confident, assertive hero is now just as often found fighting at the side of his heroine as standing in front of her, and it’s completely acceptable for even tough-guy heroes to exhibit a few less aggressive, or “beta” traits. I welcome all of this…because while the hero of my new book, Dark Highland Fire, has plenty of delightful alpha qualities, he doesn’t fit that mold entirely. And that, to me, makes him all the more appealing.

Gabriel MacInnes, second son of the pack’s Alpha, pub owner, lover, werewolf, and slacker extraordinaire, is what one reviewer described as “born to be a beta.” His brother Gideon is next in line to lead the pack, and though Gabe is proud of his serious, disciplined older sibling, he himself has never really been sure where he fits in. Devilishly handsome and a charming clown, Gabriel has all of the latent talent that comes with being of the Alpha lineage, and none of the drive. In fact, although he’s begun to feel more and more like he’s missing something important, he’s actually pretty happy running his pub and chasing women. Or rather, letting himself be chased. He is, after all, totally hot.

Not exactly a fearsome warrior, right? Though Gabriel is no slouch in a fight. But ever since I introduced him in Call of the Highland Moon, I’ve loved his character. He has a sweet, boyish quality to him, and I always picture him with a naughty twinkle in his bright green eyes. His big brother Gideon, in general terms, is a strong, silent protector. Gabe’s much more the entertainer. I knew he was going to need a special sort of heroine, someone who could help him realize his full potential, but who would also need his particular blend of alpha and beta qualities. Then Rowan an Morgaine showed up, and I knew she was perfect. Being a drop-dead gorgeous demigoddess with a sharp tongue and a need for blood, Rowan thought she was pretty perfect as well.

Rowan is incredibly strong, but emotionally wounded from having lost much of her family in a senseless slaughter. As the next leader of her people, she wants to make a stand and exact revenge…and she sure as hell doesn’t want some overbearing Highlander werewolf tucking her away and trying to fight her battles for her. Gabriel proved to be just the right hero for Rowan. Yes, he chafes a little at her stubborn independence and refusal to rely on him…I mean, he might not be all warrior, but there’s plenty of that in him. But though their verbal battles get pretty heated, in real battle, Rowan and Gabriel are complete partners. Because of his position in his own family, Gabriel is far more accepting of the fact that Rowan doesn’t necessarily need him to fight for her. He has always fought at someone’s side, and it’s a natural role for him to assume with her. Rowan is a tough customer in general, a female flamethrower with a biting sense of sarcasm and very little patience (I say this with love…Rowan was an absolute blast to write!). Gabriel didn’t win her so much with his hyper-manly manliness as he did with his wit, charm, and dogged persistence. The sparks that flew between them kept me entertained for the entirety of the story they spun for me. And though I still love the more traditional alpha heroes, I’ve gotta say…given the choice between Thor the Virile Viking and Gabriel MacInnes, I’d take Gabe, every last time.

So now I’d like to hear from you…do you prefer the classic alpha male, or do you like your heroes a little sweeter? And whichever you prefer, who’s your favorite example of that sort of hero? Please leave me a comment, because one lucky commenter will receive a signed copy of Dark Highland Fire, the second book in my Highland Werewolves series! I’ll be in and out all day to chat, as well, so feel free to just say hi or ask any questions you might have…every commenter will be entered into the drawing. Thanks again for having me here today, Lynda…it’s always fun to come over!

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Kmcalear said...

I read a quote somewhere that I think Sums it up.

"Every woman wants her man to WANT to rescue her, but she also wants him to understand she doesn't really need rescuing"

The alpha- defender male is very sexy, since we don't want our men to be weaker or wimpier than us. But nor do we want our mean to make us the sidekick. Equal relationships, with give and take... are always my favorite in romances, regardless of who takes the front line battling the monsters.

Kendra Leigh Castle said...

kmcalear, thanks for stopping by! And I couldn't agree more...I really enjoyed writing a heroine who didn't need rescuing, but DID need a partner (whether she knew it right away or not!).

Stephanie said...

Reading about an alpha is more than just sexy fun but in real life I want a partner. But combining the two is like a dream come true for me to read. I admit to being one of those fickle readers who likes to bounce between the two types of men. I mean really, who says a girls' fantasy life you can't have your cake and eat it too?

Kendra Leigh Castle said...

LOL, Stephanie...I was definitely trying to create a "have cake and eat it too" hero with Gabriel:-) I do love alpha heroes, but there's a fine line there between strong and "lumbering neanderthal," and I, too, am fickle about where I draw that line. Thanks for stopping by!

Cheryl Brooks said...

Hey, Kendra!
You KNOW I like them sweet and purring--but ready to fight tooth and nail when the going gets tough!
Great post and a great book!

Marie Force said...

Hi Kendra,
Gabe sounds like a doll. Actually, he reminds me of how I picture my son as a grown up! DHF is next on my TBR pile and after reading your blog, I'm even more psyched to read it. Don't enter me in the drawing since I have it, but I will bring it when I see you in December to have it signed. Have fun here!

Paula said...

I can't really say that I only like one kind of hero type, but if I had to pick a Greek letter, perhaps a gamma, who is a little bit of both. Gabriel sounds like that, and I have to say he sounds good. lol

Kendra Leigh Castle said...

Hey, Marie and Cheryl!! Thanks for coming over! Cheryl, I'll take 'em purring, growling, howling, whatever:-) And Marie, I can't WAIT for the signing together! I'll try not to go nuts and just sign everything that's not nailed down:-) I think Gabe is a doll too...not that I'm biased or anytihng.

Paula, hi! I like the idea of a combo "gamma" hero. I'm gonna have to remember that one:-)

annalisa said...

I usually prefer sweet alphas. :)

Dark Highland Fire sounds really good! I liked your description of Rowan and Gabe's relationship (that they are complete partners.)

Steven Lopata said...

Actually, I prefer the beta type myself. Most of my heros are basically guys who drift with the flow of life until circumstances force them to push forward. Your Gabe sounds like a terrific read. I'll look for it next time I'm in a book store.

Kendra Leigh Castle said...

Hi, annalisa! I always thought a truly sweet alpha would be tough to do, but Gabriel just sort of showed up that way:-) I'm glad you liked my description of his and Rowan's relationship.

Hi steven! I have some friends who prefer betas as well...I used to reject the idea outright, not really understanding that having beta tendencies could be a wonderful thing. I have, of course, been schooled since then! Thanks for the compliment:-)

Savanna Kougar said...

I prefer the heroine and the hero to be well matched, and to establish a partnership. That being said, I also adore a hero who is a demanding lover.

Kendra Leigh Castle said...

Me too, savanna! Thanks for stopping by!