Who Inspired Tom Jordan?

Sydney Harbour Hospital: Tom’s Redemption is a stand-alone book as well as being the fourth book in the exciting Sydney Harbour Hospital Series. As it’s part of a series, the character bios are given to the authors and we are to brand and make those characters our own. Imagine my stunned surprise when I opened up Tom Jordan’s bio and read, ‘blind neurosurgeon’!

I read it twice, did a mental scream and then gave myself the same advice I give my kids when they are faced with something they have to do but are not keen to do it….’suck it up and get on with it.’
At first, a blind hero struck me as very hard to make sexy. I also realized in my writing I often use long glances and descriptions of eyes and that was lost to me. To overcome all this, I had to really think outside the box to come up with images to model Tom on and I came up with two very sexy men!

How was a man who was at the top of his field professionally and in what is considered the top field of medicine – neurosurgery— going to feel when he lost his sight and by default, everything that defined him? Angry? Lost? Lashing out at those around him? James Dean in his black leathers immediately came to mind. Another reason why James Dean worked for Tom was because he’d clawed his way to the top not just in his field of medicine but in life. Tom had grown up on the wrong side of the tracks and at fourteen was the boy most likely to end up in a youth training centre.

The first time Hayley, the heroine meets Tom he is dressed in black from top to toe….
With his black clothes, black hair, bladed cheek bones, a slightly crooked nose and a delicious cleft in his stubble-covered chin, he cut a striking image against the white of the walls. Striking and slightly unnerving. He wasn’t a fatherly figure like Gerry the maintenance man in his overalls nor did he have the easy-going manner of Theo. Neither of those men ever put her on edge. Even so, despite her thread of anxiety, she would have had to be blind not to recognise he was handsome in a rugged, rough-edged kind of a way, and that was part of her unease. She had the feeling that his clothes were just a veneer of gentrification. Remove them and a raw energy would be unleashed that would sweep up everything in its path. An unbidden image of him naked exploded in her mind, stirring a prickle of sensation deep down inside her. It wasn’t fear and that scared her even more.

So bad boy, James Dean worked perfectly for Tom at the start of the book but he wasn’t going to work from the halfway point. My subconscious must have been digging deep because suddenly I remembered a very young Hugo Weaving in the movie, Proof. He played a blind man and he was gorgeous. Slightly tousled and tie askew, he was the perfect representation of the surgeon turned lecturer.If you’ve not seen Proof, it’s worth getting it out because as well as a sexy, young Hugo Weaving, there is a very young Russell Crowe! You can catch a trailer on You Tube Tube iframe>

Best line of the film…he is being examined after being in a car accident and the doctor examines him and says, ‘You’re blind so why were you driving?’ to which he replies, ‘I forgot.’

Writing this book took me out of my comfort zone and I worried Tom wasn’t going to be the sexy hero that readers demand but drawing from James Dean and Hugo Weaving, I am thrilled to say that reader mail is telling me that Tom is divine. The best compliment I got was from the Mills & Boon website where a reader wrote, “I’m not normally a fan of a disabled hero but the compelling and fascinating Tom is the exception.”  You can imagine how pumped I was about that!

Can anyone tell me about a disabled hero they’ve loved? I’ll kick off with Christian in Laura Kinsale’s Flowers From The Storm. He’s a man who’s had a stroke but he is the most divine hero. I inhaled that book!

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9 thoughts on “Who Inspired Tom Jordan?

  1. WHere do I begin? Violet Winspear wrote several disabled heroes included a very hot blind surgeon who was blinded by a jealous nurse. The Passionate Sinner is the story of the nurse who handed him the caustic liquid to bathe his eyes after surgery but it was given her by the jealous nurse. The heroine follows him to his bolt hole in the far east to try and make it up to him. I’ll take them blind, crippled, lost an arm, badly scarred. Just make them well written. Looking forward to Tom’s Redemption.

    • Fiona, I remember reading a Violet Winspear book a million years ago when I was about 12 but cannot remember the story. So thrilled you’re open to a physically wounded hero.

      • Funny coincidence. Just received a copy of Black Douglas by Violet Winspear in the mail today. Yes another blind hero. Super alpha. Both Winspears they regain sight at end though one loses something else in the process.

  2. They certainly handed you a challenge, Fiona. For another great “blinded hero”…winner of last year’s RBY Sophie James, One Unashamed Night was a deserving winner.

    Wounded heroes do it for me every time – I will alway buy a wounded hero story. I’m afraid I am prone to battering my heroes – sometimes it’s the only thing that will make them stand still long enough to form a relationship. Overcoming disability, I think, gives them an edge of vulnerability and self insight that stops them being alpha morons. The hero of my new release, Gather the Bones, was badly injured in the First World War and he struggles with his physical and emotional wounds.

    I think of Tom Cruise in Born on the 4th July (by far the best movie he ever did).

    • Alison, I loved your hero in By the Sword and looking forward to Gather The Bones. I always think of My Brother Jack with WW1 veterans. I haven’t seen 4th of July…might look it up at the DVD shop.

  3. Truth be told, I haven’t read a category where the hero was wounded – no reason, just haven’t.

    I do like the sound of Tom and can only imagine you hitting your head against the wall reading Tom’s bio. However, I’m sure you’ve done a brilliant job.

    Does Mr Rochester in Jane Eyre count? To me, he epitomised my teenage heart as a true hero 🙂

  4. I remember watching Proof for highschool english – intersting movie – strange question but is Tom a blind nurosurgen or a former nurosurgen? I can’t think of a lot of blind heros but as long as it isn’t condecending stories with heros who arn’t “perfect” are usually better than ones where they are. I guess the hard part is finding something to replace the long meaningful looks – I really liked Chrissie Keighery’s book Whisper which is about a teenager who goes deaf – its helpful to understand how when someone looses one sence their others take over – maybe it will be more about a certian touch? Sure it will be a great book!

    • Bec he was a neurosurgeon and after he became blind of course he has to change careers and that is part of his angst. Like all of us, when change is imposed upon us we don’t cope as well as if we choose the change. The book is out in Australia in June but if you wanted it as an eBook you can grab it now.

  5. Joanne, Mr Rochester is perfect as the wounded hero but physically and emotionally. I reread Jane Eyre last year. It still isn’t a big fave of mine BUT I saw Mr R in a totally different light from when I read him in my late teens.

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