Our chapter president Casey Clipper has agreed to tell us a bit about writing Irish Alpha Heroes.
How's that for good luck?
So it back and enjoy.
If you also create heroes based on aspects of your own cultural background, please share in the comments.
Contemporary Romance: What was it about growing up in an Irish family that you wanted to translate into fiction?
Casey Clipper: It wasn’t necessarily the growing up in an Irish family but more watching the men, like my father and grandfather and uncle (I have a few, but the one who reminds me of my dad the most), that made me fashion the heroes in my stories after them, in a sense.
Watching the way the men in the family treated their wives, gave me first-hand knowledge of the whole alpha personality, who loves and adores the woman in his life. They treated their wives in an extremely respectful manner, acknowledging their wives ran the household and being perfectly fine with that, with zero macho ego thing, holding them in such high regard in their lives.
Yet, they were also the “men of the house”, taking care of their families and spouses. From the outside and looking back on the interaction and daily routines, it’s quite fascinating. (I unfortunately have to speak in past tense because my grandparents and my mother are no longer with us.)
CR: Do you have any favorite family stories or anecdotes?
CC: Well, my grandmother was probably the most superstitious woman I’ve ever known and managed to pass that down? I don’t spill salt, walk under a ladder, and definitely change directions if a black cat crosses my path. And do not bring an outside broom inside. That was a heated battle in my house a couple years ago between myself and my husband.
There is also the memory of Sundays at my grandparents’ home. After church, the entire family—aunts, uncles, grandchildren—would go to my grandparents for dinner and then after the three oldest granddaughters (yes, I’m in the top 3) did the dishes, the aunts and uncles and my grandfather played cards with nickels, dimes, and quarters.
CR: Are your heroes based on actual people from your life?
CC: Not one of my heroes are based off anyone in my life. They’re really based off an ideal man (though with his own issues) in my mind at the time of writing a novel.
Of course, they’re all alphas and all love their women and are all supportive of their heroine and naturally have to go through their arcs, but I can honestly say that not one character is written with someone specific in mind.
CR: Do you have a process for researching Irish culture?
CC: Names. I research names and their meanings. Even last names. For instance, Murphy (which is used in The Love Series) in 2014 was the most number one surname in Ireland. O’s in front of a name mean “grandson of” or “decedent of” while Mac’s in front of names mean “son of”. Ryan (used in Unexpected Love) means little king. Neil, which I use for a last name in my The Men of Law series, means passionate.
CR: Are there any stereotypes / myths about Irish culture that bother you?
CC: That the Irish are drinkers. Yes, you’ll always have those in any culture that are stereotypical, but for the most part, we aren’t going to the pub every night and downing Guinness or whiskey and getting into brawls.
CR: Why do you think St. Patrick’s Day has become so universal?
CC: I think because it’s a time where you can go to the pub or to a neighbor's (which is where I’ll be), decked out in your green, listen to Irish music, maybe have some Jamison or Baileys or a Guinness, eat some corned beef, cabbage, and potatoes and relax in the company of friends and family.
In an atmosphere that is just plain fun. I think the American version of St. Patrick’s Day has become more about celebrating good times with everyone, even strangers at the pub. And I think we all need that in our lives right now more than ever. Right?
CR: Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
CC: Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone! We’re all Irish today!
* Thank you so much, Casey! *
Learn more about Casey at http://caseyclipper.com.