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The Problem With Dead People Character Profile: Tommy Kilbourne


Oh deary deary me. What can I say about Tommy?


Well, not much, as it happens, because he kind of stole the show in books 2 and 3, and I don't want to reveal any spoilers.


What I will say, though, is that there is far more to Tommy than first appears, so keep your eye on him, as he's kinda important.


Oh, and I initially invented him as a background character who was supposed to take up all of, like, one line, with the sole purpose of making Lucas feel insecure about his relationship with Clara.


This obviously didn't work, as Mr Kilbourne isn't really made to operate in the background of life.


So, instead I decided he should stick around just to annoy Lucas. Mostly, because in my head, Tommy looks like this:


What he's saying in this GIF bears no relevance, by the way - in fact, Tommy is very alone in the world, as we'll see later - it's just that in my head, Tommy looks like Will Tudor, which annoys Lucas a lot, because, uh... he doesn't.


And is really weird, because I've never seen Game of Thrones and only came across Will Tudor by accident about three years after starting to write the series.


I've actually really struggled to find a "fancast" for Tommy (i.e. someone I could see playing him in a TV or movie adaptation) because, unlike Lucas and Clara, I didn't start out with an actor in mind.


As I say, Tommy wasn't part of the original cast, so I didn't think too hard about that he looks like.


Basically, I just made Tommy a blonder haired, bluer eyes, taller, and generally more idealised version of Lucas, because I wanted to make my main man really, really insecure about Tommy's undisguised attraction to Clara, but I didn't want Lucas to quite know why he feels a bit inferior to his girlfriend's colleague.


Clara couldn't give two figs about what either of the boys think, though, as she decided Lucas was the man for her a very long time ago, and hasn't seen any real reason to change her mind since.


And she's been very clear with Tommy about that. Painfully clear at times, but for some reason, he's still choosing to remain friends with her.


This doesn't seem to make any difference, and the boys get at each other a bit as a consequence; Lucas because he thinks Tommy is trying to steal Clara (which, to be fair, may be true), and Tommy because he knows he has no chance with the one woman he's ever truly cared about.


Actually, that's not quite true.


Tommy is a playboy and a cad and a scoundrel - at least, as far as the world is concerned. He shamelessly chases skirt, rarely has a relationship that lasts more than a few sticky hours in the nearest private space, and seemingly has no intention of changing his ways.


Tommy, however, fancies himself deeply if briefly in love with each of his flings, and in fact would dearly love to have a settled, happy home life with a wife and a couple of kids he can give all the love to that he was denied growing up.




But, for reasons that will become apparent throughout the series, Tommy struggles to form strong bonds with anyone, and frequently gives up all hope of becoming a better man.


Perhaps with a good role model or two, though, he'll learn what one of those looks like...


Hm, what's that? Why was Tommy starved of affection as a child?


Well,he grew up in an orphanage that thought putting a roof over children's heads and food in their bellies was enough.


It was not.


Well, there's more to it than that, of course. The circumstances the put him in the orphanage in the first place had a pretty devastating effect ont him, buuuut...





Tommy needs a lot of love, but looks for it in the wrong places - and occasionally channels his built-in sadness in the wrong direction.


Which is somewhat problematic, to say the least.





However, most of the time, Tommy has spent forging his horrible childhood into something better for his future. Early on, he refused to accept his lot in life, worked hard to educate himself and move as far away from that poor little orphan boy he used to be, and eventually got his current job as a newspaper reporter, where he works harder than anyone else because he's still got ambitions he's aiming for, and he's terrified of losing what he's already got.


Why did a nice-looking, hard-working boy like that not get adopted from the orphanage? I hear you ask.


Well, that gets answered in book three, which as I mentioned earlier, focuses a lot on Tommy.


I told you he worked hard to get what he wanted, and once I'd given him a name, even just a first name for that brief moment when I needed to make Lucas anxious, what Tommy really, really wanted was to live.


So, I guess he's a permanent feature now.


Which is good news, because people seem to like him - myself included.


He's good fun, witty, sarcastic, and, beneath his caddish, roguish, vengeful, womanising ways, has a heart of gold. He doesn't trust easily and, as a result, cares for very few people - but those who make the cut, he loves hard and would do anything for.


He's also a lot of fun for me to write, because his morals are somewhat grey, and incredibly flimsy, whereas Lucas and Clara know what's right and generally try to do that.


Although, to be fair to the lad, Tommy always tries to do what's right, too.


It's just, his version of "right" doesn't always look like everyone else's.


Anyway, the Lucas Rathbone Mysteries seems to secretly be The Tommy Kilbourne Chronicles, and that's okay.


Lucas hates being the centre of attention anyway.


Still wants his name on the covers, though. Go figure...


And Tommy? I know I didn't plan to have you around, and that I gave you the worst backstory I could think of, then somehow, made it worse. There was even that time I tried to kill you off.


But just before I sign off on this blog post, there's one thing I want to say.



And, sorry for everything.


Oh, and if you (the reader, I've stopped talking to my imaginary friend now) want to meet Tommy properly, I'd recommend starting with The Probem With Dead People or picking up the box set when it releases later in September 2022.



Wow, that was a longer post than I planned on it being! If you stuck it till the end, give yourself a cookie. You've earned it.





Tomorrow, I'm basically taking the day off and letting one of my readers tell you why you should read the book instead.


Hooray for reviews!


See you then,

Love, Saff xx





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