Where to begin. Tommy is the character I think I’m most protective of when I talk about the series. His story is incredibly unique and one I think isn’t so unheard of. Many teens go through unimaginable loss and take so much of life’s responsibility on their own shoulders. As a high school teacher, I see the strength many of my students have. I know their struggles and I am cognizant of the fact that although I see them 2 hours a day, they spend the other 22 hours in all sorts of situations.
Tommy was the typical high school graduate. Handsome, smart, accepted to a prestigious University and rooming with his best friend. He had loving parents who supported him and a sister who worshipped him. He liked to complain at how annoyed he was at Julie, but deep down, he adored her. When he received the call that his parents were in the accident, his world was shattered, but at that moment, the Tommy we meet in the series was born. Gone was the carefree attitude and what emerged was the man he needed to become; not just for Julie, but for him to survive. He needed a purpose. He needed a reason. Jack was the only one who knew how close Tommy came to giving up. Jack and Tommy made a decision, without acknowledging it, to become family. They already were, but in times of crisis, family isn’t just born, it thrives.
Tommy’s back story was developed much as an afterthought. It isn’t that I came up with it late, but I didn’t intend for Tommy to be developed much at all. I was really naive. I initially created Tommy as a sounding board for Jack in Nothing Matters. He was the friend who was like a brother, but it never occurred to me to make more of him. The book wasn’t going to be part of a series, it was simply a stand alone, and Tommy was just a character. Then I had people pre read Nothing Matters. I received a lot of positive feedback, but something I wasn’t expecting, was the outcry for more Tommy. I kept getting messages from readers asking for a romance for Tommy. They loved him and wanted more. I realized that I did, too, and a series was born.
Tommy’s name came from a song by Kenny Rogers called “Coward of the county”. It was something I listened to growing up and it was the most fitting example of who Tommy is. Tommy deserves happiness. He deserves a profound love and he deserves someone who adores him. He deserves his Red.
However it happened, Tommy is the most complex character; more so than Brittany. He carries the weight of so much on his shoulders and even though he has done everything he can for those he loves, he will never stop trying to make the lives of those he loves better. He sometimes forgets to do the same for himself. As much as he knows Brittany forgives him for how he forgot her after his accident, he will never stop punishing himself for hurting her.
Having Tommy become a parent wasn’t a choice. He will be the most amazing dad and the prospect of bringing a child into this world thrills him beyond anything he has felt. His biggest fear is the health of his wife and he knows that without her, none of this life matters. The news they received about their baby is crushing and devastating, but the immediate danger is that Tommy will lose everything, once again, in an instant.