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.