Sunday, August 3, 2014

Profile of Lisa Merrick...Part VI

All right. I think this will be the last post about Lisa for awhile.

It's kind of stressing me out.  It's all so overwhelming.

On the positive side, though, I do feel it's helping me get to know Lisa and her family. And I think I like it better than the alternative method of getting to know your characters. This is where you do a character profile by answering a huge questionnaire about their lives. What's the best thing that's happened to them? What's the worse? What's in their pockets? What's their favorite animal? What's their style of clothing. I think for some writers, that's helpful. To me, it's not.

For me, it works better to just take notes whenever I think of something. For some characters, I might know what's in their pocket. For some, it doesn't matter to me. Things enter my imagination, and I write them down.

Doing this research...I think a lot of it won't be used in the novel, but it's kind of inspiring me.

I think I'm diving deep into Lisa's life, because she's Australian, and I'm very interested in Australia. I might do the same for Kevin, since he's an Aussie too. My other characters are going to be living in London and Atlanta. I don't imagine I'm going to do a ton of research on the cultural history of either of those places.

Anyway, back to the research....

This post will be about 2010 to the beginning months of 2014. In April, 2014, my book's history veers off into a fictional universe. This is when the living folks begin to get texts, Twitter messages, and Facebook messages from the dead.

The first novel begins in May 2015, several months after life beyond death is accepted as fact. Jessica's in America. She's good friends with her dead uncle Jesse. What's Lisa doing at that time? I'm not sure, except I know she misses her daughter a lot. What was she doing in the autumn of 2014? I don't know. And when did she first hear from Jesse? Did she believe it when people first started talking about hearing from their dead loved ones? Or did it take her awhile to believe?

So many questions....

And really. Again. I should shut up and get on with the research.

2010. I think that's when Offspring started.

Yep. IMDb says it premiered on August 15.  Lisa watched it from the first episode. How old was her daughter then?

The calculator says she'd be 15. Would she watch it with her mother? I kind of forget how explicit it is. They do have sex. Though it's much less explicit than True Blood. That show kind of shocks me with it's full frontal nudity and people going at it all the time.

I'm going to say yes, though, about Offspring. Jessica and Lisa watch it together. Dale stays out of it. He's not interested in the Proudman family.

Also in 2010: Julia Gillard becomes Prime Minister.

I think Lisa is excited to see her country have a female Prime Minister.

Mary Mackillop became a saint that year. That reminds me. I don't know the religion of the Merrick family. I don't think they'd have one. Lisa's parents were the type to belong to a church and attend services on Christmas. I think Lisa and Dale skipped the whole church thing. They have a Christmas tree in the summer and egg hunts in autumn. That's about it.

In 2010, Melbourne had huge storms. That might have been scary and somewhat exciting. It's more likely to be the latter if you don't experience personal property damage and your utilities are all in working order.  Oh...and also if you're not in danger.

I think the Merrick family was okay. Probably. I Googled Yarraville and 2010 storms. Nothing is immediately shouting out to me, so I'm going to imagine they didn't have major problems. Lisa and Jessica were probably busy posting about it on Twitter and Facebook.

In 2010, Jessica Watson completed her journey. I think both Lisa and Jessica would be inspired by this. Maybe this is one of the things that inspires MY Jessica to want to study overseas.

Speaking of seas, maybe the Merrick family would go on a cruise this year. I think it would be one of those that travel to Sydney, Hobart, and New Zealand.

OR maybe they should go to Hawaii. Because I went to Hawaii in 2010. I can say we were there at the same time. I just remembered Hawaii, because I was looking at Lord Wiki's list of deaths and saw Sonia McMahon. I remembered that she died around the time that we went.

So yeah. Skip the cruise. They went to Hawaii. They did this during the autumn school holidays. They stayed at a nice little house in Oahu.

I just thought of something else. In my first novel, my Manhattan point of view characters know the Merrick family because they once visited Melbourne. Eugene Ramsey was doing some travel writing there. Lisa, Jessica, and Dale got to know Eugene and his girlfriend Anna.  I wonder when that happened. I'm not sure if I give the year in the novel, or if I wrote it down in the book. I also don't know how they actually met. Did they run into each other at a museum? On the tram?

Wait. Lisa started working at a book store at some point.

My notes say 2010.

Maybe Anna and Eugene somehow made their way to the bookstore in Yarraville.

Then again....maybe they didn't meet in Melbourne.

Maybe they met in another destination. The Merrick family were doing the domestic tourism thing and Eugene and Anna were doing the international tourism thing. We could say they all met in Sydney. I don't know when. It's not in my notes.  Maybe I'll say 2011.

As for music around this time, I think Jessica would like Angus and Julie Stone. I'm not sure about Lisa. Maybe she'd be listening to more seventies and eighties music. She's kind of going retro.

I'm looking at this article about popular TV programs in 2011 Australia.

I bet Lisa and Jessica watched Master Chef. Dale would watch it with them occasionally. I don't picture him watching TV a lot with his wife and daughter. I think that was there thing together. Dale would go into the other room and work on his computer. Or he'd read.

Another thing Lisa would have watched is the Cloudstreet miniseries. Because she loved the book.

I'm going to jump to 2012.

No wait. I need to go back to 2010. I'm wondering where Jessica went to high school, because I know there's no school in Yarraville.

This article says kids there have to go to Footscray or Maribyrnong. Those aren't the closest schools. The closest is Williamstown High. The article says it's enrollment is capped.  But maybe it wasn't capped back in 2010.

I'm going to guess, though, that Jessica went to Footscray City College. I think Lisa drove her everyday.

Back to 2012....

This is when Lisa started working at the neighborhood bookstore.

Bryce Courtenay died at the end of the year. Maybe the bookstore had a little memorial display about him.

In 2013....

Lisa would still be watching Offspring and Home and Away. Her daughter is beginning to talk about her dreams of going to school in America.

Jessica doesn't go to the University of Gainesville until she's nineteen. I think she ends up doing a gap year. She probably got a job to help with the finances of her plan.

Oh. Here's another thing. Jessica ends up becoming friends (and later roommates) with the sister of a guy who's married to a British television star. So this actor's show is another one that Lisa and Jessica would watch together.

They probably still watched Modern Family.

I think I'm done with looking at history.

Maybe before I go, I should think about general Australia life.

For example, did they have any favorite Aussie foods?

Maybe Lisa liked Iced-VoVos.  She'd also like Tim Tams, of course.

I'm going to look at Simply Oz.—see if any food calls out to me.

Vegemite! Lisa likes it. Her husband and daughter do as well. But are they the type to eat it every morning?

I'm going to say no.

They're not daily Vegemite eaters. But they have a tradition of having it together on Sunday morning.  They eat Vegemite on toast. Dale puts a ton on his toast. Lisa and Jessica give him a hard time about this. And he teases Lisa for putting on, what he feels is, too little.

When not having Vegemite for breakfast, Lisa eats Weet-bix or Muesli.

Lisa is a big fan of Freddo chocolate bars, and has been since she was a little girl.

Lord Wiki says Freddo and other Cadbury products were involved in a 2006 Salmonella scare. Yikes!

I feel Lisa should like more Aussie music.

Maybe I'll look at my Spotify list and see what calls out to me.

Well, maybe in her nostalgia phase, she liked Helen Reddy's "I am Woman".

She'd like The Whitlams. This song would make her sad in a cathartic type way.

Maybe she'd like Powderfinger. Dale and Lisa do as well. Dale started liking them after they rented Ned Kelly. Or at least he liked Bernard Fanning.

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