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 http://youtu.be/AixgCHv2N7I 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.
Can anyone tell me about a disabled hero they’ve loved?
Fiona Lowe is an award-winning, multi-published author with Harlequin and Carina Press. Whether her books are set in outback Australia or in the mid-west of the USA, they feature small towns with big hearts, and warm, likeable characters that make you fall in love. When she's not writing stories, she's a weekend wife, mother of two 'ginger' teenage boys, guardian of 80 rose bushes and often found collapsed on the couch. A current RT Book Reviewers' Choice Award and RITA nominee, you can find her at her website, facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.