One of the most stimulating sessions that I attended at the recent Romantic Novelists' Association Annual Conference was called "Living with - and loving - the Alpha Male." The presenters of the session, Harlequin Mills & Boon editors Tessa Shapcott and Bryony Green, told us that it was the guarantee that there would be an Alpha Male inside every M&B book that was a major contribution to the continuing success of their brand.
While I am not aiming to write for M&B (although I have immense respect for those, like Nicola Cornick and Joanna Maitland, who do), after an hour of Greek shipping tycoons, brilliant doctors and even the occasional slightly (but only slightly) sweaty biker I still came away a little concerned about my own hero. He is the youngest son of a Duke, which gives him all the Alpha social status that he needs. He is tall (-ish) and of course very handsome, which helps, but the nature of his occupation - counter-espionage - makes him, of necessity, a dweller in the shadows. For much of the time he must be an observer of the activities of others, rather than a protagonist. Of course he does intervene when it matters, and he does so with, I hope, all the élan that one might wish for. He can ride ventre à terre, climb down ventilation shafts, dance the Cotillion blindfold, and tie his cravat in a dozen subtly different styles, and I am sure he could, if called upon, disguise himself as a pirate simply by lifting an eyebrow (did I get that right, Mandy?) But all that is of little use if he never gets the chance to do it on the page.
So while I polish up the early chapters I need to Alpha-up Lord Alexander. Hmm, maybe I could start with that name.