Friday, August 1, 2014

Profile of Lisa Merrick

I'm going to try and do some work on my sequel today. It's just getting to know the characters. And since some of the characters are Australian, I figure I'll turn it into a blog entry.  I'll do the non-Aussie characters on my own.

So, my novel has two Aussie point of view characters. They both live in Yarraville, probably on Oven Street. One is a woman named Lisa Merrick, and the other is a young man named Kevin Grant.

Today I'm going to explore the world of Lisa Merrick.

Who are you, Lisa?

Well, this is what I know some far.

From the first novel in my series, I know she has a daughter named Jessica, born in 1995. Jessica is in Gainesville, Florida going to uni. The family had enough resources to send their daughter off to America to study, but not enough resources to frequently visit her. They did do one visit, and they all went to Disney World. Jessica is a big fan of Disney World. Is Lisa the same? I don't know yet.

Jessica is named after Lisa's brother Jesse who died in 1990 from the flu.  

In 2015, the dead started communicating with the living via the Internet. Lisa's deceased brother then became good friends with her daughter (his niece). Because Jesse died when he was twenty and Jessica is twenty, they are sort of the same age.  

Now I've created some new information in the last few weeks. I'm going to review that now.  

Lisa's mother is Colleen Barnes, born in 1945. Her father is Ian, born in 1941. Where were they born? I don't know. But I have in my notes that Lisa was born in Gympie on December 2, 1966. Okay, so she's older than Jesse. He would have been born in 1970 if he died when he was twenty in 1990. I forget these things.  That's why I need to read over my notes and jog my little memory.

When Lisa was ten her family moved to Melbourne, specifically the suburb of Williamstown.  This was in 1976.

From 1983-1987, she went to the University of Melbourne. 

She met her husband in 1985 and moved into an apartment with him in 1986.

From 1987-1995, she did work in marketing. When her daughter was born, she became a stay-at-home mom. Now she works at a bookstore.  

Now I kind of want to get a sense of what her life was like in Australia.

I'm not sure where to start or what to do.

I think I might just look at certain years that might have been important in her life and then look at Australian life and history in those times. And/or I can think of important dates in Australia history, and figure out Lisa's age at that time.

For example, she would have been close to nine when Whitlam was dismissed. Would she have noticed or cared? Probably not. Her parents would have, though. Are they Liberal or Labor? I'd say Liberal. But Lisa would end up being Labor.   

What about when Holt disappeared?  Was that 1967 or 1968?  

Lord Wiki says it was 1967. So Lisa would have been a year old. I imagine her parents would have been glued to the TV. 

I am now sitting outside with my laptop. It's 79 degrees right now, which is very rare for a Fort Worth summer!

I was about to ask what the weather is like for Lisa right now. But she's in 2015, so can't really check up on that. 

I think what I'm going to do is pick certain ages and look at Australia during the years that Lisa was those ages.

I'm going to start with age four, because today's my nephew's birthday and he's turning four. 

Lisa turned four in 1970. Who was Prime Minister then? Gorton? McEwen?  

Google says Gorton.

Not that it would have mattered much in Lisa's life.  I just like knowing these things.

It's a bit humid out here.

Now Lord Wiki is telling me about popular songs in 1970.  Johnny Farnham's cover of "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head" was popular in those days. Maybe Lisa's parents listened to it a bit. I guess when it was on the radio? 

The Australian Screen website has a list of programs from 1970. 

Nothing is really calling out to me there.

Honestly, I'm really not sure how to go about learning about the lives of four-year-olds in 1970's Australia. And who cares, really. Lisa is a 49 year-old woman. How often is she going to be thinking back to when she was four?  

Oh. But here's something that's kind of important. Play School was on at the time; it started it 1966. 

So, that's pretty much all I know about Aussie children in the 1970's. They watched Play School. Oh, and Vegemite. So let's just say that when Lisa was 4, she watched Play School, ate Vegemite sandwiches, and she also ate Aeroplane Jelly.

Let's skip ahead to a more memorable age. How about thirteen? Jack's going to be that age soon.  At that age, you're sometimes more aware of what's happing in the world.  

What year was Lisa thirteen?  1980. Well, she turned thirteen at the end of 1979, but we'll just go with 1980.  

Who was Prime Minister?

I should know this.

I'm going to go with Fraser.  

Google says I'm right. Good!

I'm looking at Lord Wiki's list of popular songs in the 1980's. I'm trying to get a sense of what Lisa would have liked.  

"Funky Town". She liked that.  

I was trying to figure out if she liked "Shaddap Your Face".

She didn't. At least not at first. Her brother loved it, though, and would annoy Lisa by turning up the volume when it was on the radio. Her parents acted like they disapproved of the song, but when they thought their kids weren't listening, they'd sing it to each other.

Here's a page about television in 1980's Australia.  

The Moscow Olympics were on. I think Lisa and Jesse's parents would be a bit against Russia, but they all watched some of the events anyway.

I'm back inside now. My computer is so dusty, and the sun likes to spotlight every piece of dust. It was getting hard to see out there. And I was starting to feel a bit hot. Maybe the temperature has gone up.  

Back to TV...

There was a popular gameshow called Sale of the Century.  I think Lisa and her family would have watched it together.  

You know what would be important to a thirteen-year-old. Pop culture. So I'm trying to find out about pop culture in the 1980's. Who would have been Lisa's celebrity crush?  

This website talks about Australian culture—not 1980 specifically, but 1980s in general. They say America and the UK had a big influence. That doesn't surprise me.  

Lord Wiki says Airplane was a popular movie in the US in 1980. I imagine it was popular in Australia too. I think Lisa and Jesse would have been fans.  

Jesse liked The Empire Strikes Back. Lisa wasn't too interested. Their mother thought it was crap.

Here. I think I've found one of Lisa's celebrity crushes. She liked Chris Makepeace from My Bodyguard

Well...I guess, though, that she didn't like him when she was 13. The movie didn't come to Australia until she was 14. Although maybe she had seen him in something else?  

Ah! He was in Meatballs. And according to IMDb that came out in 1979 in Australia.

So yeah. Lisa had a crush on Chris Makepeace.

Did she like any Aussie celebrities?  Who was popular in 1980?  

Lord Wiki says Grease came out in 1978. So I bet Lisa liked Olivia Newton-John.  

This post is getting quite long. I think I'm going to end here, and make a sequel later.  

I was just thinking I should have done age ten for Lisa, since she moved to Victoria that year. It would probably have been a huge turning point in her life. But oh well..... I don't think I'm going to backtrack at this point.

I think for the next post, I'll do age 18. Lord Wiki says this is when Victorian folks get their drivers licenses. Although I'm not sure if that would have been the case in 1984. And I don't know if Lisa would get a driver's license.  What was public transport in Williamstown like in the 1980's?  

There are so many questions. It makes me want to scream.