Now it’s time for the last part of my three part series breaking down The Alpha. This one will focus on the influences and inspirations for the story itself.
**There are spoilers involved so, if you haven’t read The Alpha (or The Pack for that matter), you may want to skip this until after you have.**
As mentioned in the characters post, the main theme of The Alpha is finding where you belong in the world. Of course, that also involves resolving past traumas and moving on to where you’re meant to be.
That the characters are working through their tragic pasts also allowed me to go a bit lighter with the tone. Which makes sense since who didn’t have a better time in college than in high school? You get a fresh lease on life, and you really are more well equipped to handle the emotional landmines that life lays in front of you.
I’ve also always been intrigued by the idea of secret societies directing the course of the world for their own nefarious ends. I was glad to have Hadrian Graysmith’s long tendrils give me a chance to explore that in this novel.
I wanted to change the mechanics of the story to differentiate it from the dread of the unknown that permeated The Pack. That is why I presented a trio of fully-formed venatores in the prime of their lives. In a way it was me reliving the excitement I felt when Star Wars: Episode One promised to show us that sort of fully-trained Jedi.
Luke never really became a true Jedi, Yoda and Obi Wan were past their primes, Darth Vader was an abomination, and The Pack only really showed Jack Halliday doing his best after being on a 10 year bender. Meanwhile, Craig, Izzy and Michael are all in mid-season form. I do rather hope that The Alpha was executed better than Episode One, but that’s still what planted the seed.
I also wanted to get into more action in this book than in The Pack, which built up the tension for the first two-thirds of the story before unleashing the horrific fury of violence of the last third. Allow me to indulge myself and discuss my favorite action set pieces from The Alpha.
The subway train/tunnel massacre was inspired by my many subway rides that were spent imagining what would happen if the train were suddenly attacked by monsters. What can I say, being stuck in a subterranean metal tube causes my mind to wander. It was also inspired a bit by the cult classic C.H.U.D, the creatures from which I also spent time looking for in the darkened tunnels that shot off in all directions.
That led directly to Michael winning a hard fought battle against a horde of vampires, and then moving directly onto the big boss. The rooftop pummeling was my chance to lay some groundwork similar to Batman: Knightfall, wherein our hero is not really prepared to deal with his nemesis and so is nearly beaten to death by him. That, of course, sets up the big rematch at the end.
Michael and Natalie as reluctant partners has its roots in most buddy cop movies or team-ups similar to Buffy & Spike or Daredevil & The Punisher. The pair fighting their way up the Graysmith Enterprises building was inspired by a number of sources as well. Not the least of which would be Ong Bak 2, The Raid and Dredd.
Alpha Michael vs Vamp Lord Graysmith was probably based more on the countless hours of pro wrestling I’ve watched over the years than anything else. Natalie cleaning up after Michael, and being the one who actually finishes off Graysmith, was just a fun twist on the typical End Boss Battle.
That concludes my three part blog breaking down The Alpha. I hope you found it insightful and, if you haven’t yet read The Venator Series, maybe it will inspire you to do so. There will be another Venator Series entry in the near future, but be on the lookout for a couple of other works coming from me in the even nearer future.
Thanks for stopping by, and keep readin’!