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Many people ask me which character is my favorite in the series. It’s always hard to answer that- it’s like asking which child is your favorite- there is no answer. I adore all of them and I am frustrated by all of them. There are parts of each character I identify with and some that I wish I was more like.
The character of Tommy is one that I am probably more connected to than anyone else. I think it’s because I view him as the ideal romantic lead. I don’t mean he’s perfect, because he’s far from that. He may not even be the most attractive- (I get a lot of slack about my love for his hairy chest). He holds way too much responsibility for things he should let go and his need to always make things better for those around him is irritating at the very least.
But he the most amazing man. I wrote Thomas as a friend for Jack and a sounding board for his relationship with Stephanie. I think I created him to embody the characteristics of a true friend- one who would always have your back and always stand beside you and fight- even if you were wrong. Tommy needed to be funny and sweet and handsome and smart, but the more I got to know him, the more vulnerability I found.
I always knew about the car accident that took his parents. That part of his past was determined from the beginning, but the development of his relationship with Julie and Jack came out of necessity. We needed to understand how he survived; how he did what he did and in doing so, Tommy became so much more than just Jack’s wingman. He became my hero.
Writing Tommy got me through some really difficult times in my life. He carries a lot of heavy burdens and some are of his own making. I feel a lot like I do that, too. He is the one who is always there for others- no matter what. He was also always the one watching everyone else from the sidelines. At the end of the day, he was alone.
Bringing Brittany and Tommy together, for me, was the most personal journey of the whole series. All of the couples love and adore each other, that’s important to me, but Tommy and “Red” are different. They both lived resigned to being alone. They never saw themselves as married or as having children. They were the ones people called to be there, but they never felt like they were worthy of such a great love.
That’s why their story is one of my favorite accomplishments. I adore writing them in love and I adore their fights. I ‘feel’ them more than any of the other characters, with the exception maybe of Mike. They are both truly amazing individuals and I see them as my hope for what love should be.
I just love Tommy and I hope you all do, too.
Any questions for me about any of my characters? Some fun things coming this week leading up to release day on Thursday!
A lot of people have been really upset with me regarding the ending of The Unthinkable. I totally understand that and I wanted to share a little of my history behind the characters and romance of Bill and Julie.
Unlike all of the other couples, with the exception of Elizabeth and Evan, we have seen the first meeting and the love blossom between the characters. We followed Jack and Stephanie as they met and fell in love. We watched Brittany and Tommy fight through immense obstacles to discover their beautiful love story. We watched Mike get his heart torn out and Jade come along and show him his worth, and in doing so, found her own.
For me, Bill and Julie have always been together. I don’t remember a time in my creation of the story and the characters that they weren’t in love. I can’t say that for any of the other characters. Bill and Julie both have histories that are both sad and heartbreaking, but for every flashback to Bill’s life or memory of Julie with Jack and Tommy, it has always been with the idea that now, they have found their forever love.
Bill and Julie are the most ‘real’ of all of the characters. They are incredibly tough, but they have a vulnerability that is deep and beautiful. Bill never saw what Julie did growing up. He never witnessed love between his parents and he knew pain more than anything else. He learned what to never do as a man and a father, but he never believed he deserved that unconditional love. How could he, when his parents never showed him he was loveable?
With Julie, she witnessed a forever love with her parents. They were sweet and romantic and funny and more in love as each day passed. Julie and Tommy both saw that and it was the cocoon they lived in, and rightfully so. They never wondered if they were loved or wanted and their lives were good and happy and normal.
Until the accident.
Julie lived through something that could have shaken her faith in anything good ever happening. She developed a thick skin and faced the world with a chip on her shoulder that was necessary for her survival. It was easier to hold things in and push forward, then to think about what was lost and perhaps, lose herself. She was strong and self-sufficient and she couldn’t allow that to change.
Until she met Bill. When she looked at him, she saw her parents. She saw the life she had always wanted and she saw the man she would love forever.
Their story hasn’t been easy. Bill’s career in the Army has been incredibly trying and difficult for both of them. Julie’s fear of being left behind and Bill’s intense need to be a provider and to be the man she deserves is a constant source of his internal struggle. The injuries he has suffered would level the strongest of men and the firmest foundation of any couple.
Bill and Julie’s love story is based on real people and real love. Sometimes, no matter how much we try, life shows us that we don’t have all the power. What happened to Julie is horrific and it will change the face of this family from every angle. I use the phrase “Julie is the glue” because, simply put, she is the reason this family exists. She is the reason they have always remained close and she is the reason both Tommy and Jack have been able to find such love. She gave them a purpose. She helped them survive.
She has shown them all what it means to be strong. Now they will show her.
Her children are beautiful and giving and they will show the family what is important.
I love and adore Julie and this was incredibly hard to write. I truly hope you’ll stick with me and the family as they move forward.
There is much more to come.
Do we need some hints?
Okay… Here is a new set of questions for you! These deal with books 6-9
When did Brittany first remember Janet? What was her first memory of her about?
When did we first learn that Nate was murdered?
What happened to cause Bill to suffer his first PTSD episode? Where did he go and who helped him?