What first inspired this character? Is there a person/actor you based them off?
Olivia is a composite of many lovely ladies I know, particularly my sister who is an Auslan Interpreter, and James is also a composite of the lovely men in my life (a few of whom have Autism)
Describe their daily routine.
James: get up at 5:00 am, run for an hour with Justine, get back to house at 6:00 am, leave house for work at 6:30, drive an hour to work (listens to audio books in car), arrive at work at 07:30, revises notes and class materials, has three two-hour tutorial sessions (8:00 – 10:00, 10:00 – 12:00, 12:00 – 14:00) four days a week (not on Wednesday), does revisions or marking of tests, answers emails or inquiries, drives an hour to home (listens to audio books in car), gets home (depending on time) either makes dinner or helps make dinner (strict food routine for days of the week) for him and his Nan, watches a single episode of a TV show via Netflix, does research on computer topics, goes to bed.
Olivia: gets up at 5:00 am, heads over to Jack’s place to get food van by 5:30 and is at a train station or selling location by 06:00, works at food van until 09:00 – 10:00 am (depending on sales or day), either heads off to University for classes (or goes home), comes home from Uni, does house chores like meal preparations (cooks meals in bulk and freezes them), or homework, plans catering menus to discuss with Jack (Jack and her decide on mains and entrees together depending on client, Olivia usually takes care of dessert), watches stuff on Netflix or general internet browsing, goes to bed.
If they joined your local high school, what clique would they fit into?
Both Olivia and James are great big Nerds, Olivia just has better social skills than James, they both have a lot of common interests.
Write a list of things they merely tolerate. Ex: certain people, foods, circumstances in their lives…
James tolerates Robert’s family and extended family, especially Robert’s mother Sofia (a devoted and bigoted catholic who thinks autism is god’s punishment for having a child out-of-wedlock). James’s mother had him at sixteen and didn’t marry James’s biological father (Rosemary didn’t want Joanna’s marrying James’s biological father out of obligation and practically raised James instead so that Joanna could continue to get an education), Joanna and James’s biological father stopped having contact when James was five and was officially diagnosed with Autism, after that James’s father severed contact (however there was domestic abuse issues prior to that). So as a result of this, James is over-protective of family members but especially female members of the family, there’s a lot of resentment and guilt between him and his mother (that his father left because of him being autistic and how Joanna should have stood up for him against Robert’s family). Instead Joanna tried to get him to conform to things and act more “normal” in order to please Robert’s family (which was impossible for James). As a result of these interactions (which have spanned over a number of years), James is an atheist and tends be cynical about Religious people and practices.
Olivia tolerates her mother Claire for the sake of continued contact with her father and Mia, she doesn’t have any contact with Claire (Olivia tried to initiate counselling with her but her mother refused to admit or acknowledge she did anything wrong, so Olivia ceased all contact with her). Her mother didn’t handle Mia’s autistic tendencies well, she dumped the role of interpreter and guardian on Olivia while taking most of the credit for any improvement. The home situation escalated from emotional and verbal abuse to physical abuse, and when Olivia’s mother began to physically lash out, Olivia decided she’d rather live in a homeless shelter than at her parent’s house, which is why she now lives with her Aunt instead (her Aunt Charlotte found out about it and offered to take Olivia in which resulted in family problems between Charlotte and Olivia’s mother). As a result of this Olivia has strong views on domestic violence, domestic abuse and homelessness.
How do they react in awkward silences?
James isn’t good at noticing awkward silences, so he usually either keeps talking about the subject at hand (usually one of his special interests crow-bared into the conversation somehow) where as Olivia tends to offer to go to the bathroom or says “I’ll be right back, I’m just getting a drink”
Can they swim? If so, how did they learn?
Olivia can swim and she’s average at it, where as James knows how but isn’t particularly good at it
What is one major event that helped shape who they are?
Olivia’s major event would be leaving the house and living in a homeless shelter, it forced her to be really self-contained and self-reliant, where as James’s big moment is when he came back from mental institution, he learned he had to control his anger or there would be serious consequences, unfortunately he hasn’t really learned how to control it, he’s learned how to channel it constructively and suppress it but those aren’t the same things as control.
What things do they value most in life?
Olivia values her freedom and privacy most, those are the things she won’t negotiate with, James values honesty and loyalty (if we’re talking material objects here, he does value his sonic screwdriver and pet cat very highly).
Do they believe in giving other people second chances? Do they have any trust issues?
Both of them have trust issues, both of them find it difficult to open up to people and make new friends, however Olivia does believe in second chances if people are willing to admit they were wrong and apologize, however she does believe there are certain situations you can’t come back from. James isn’t so trusting, he’s quite rigid in that regard, mostly due to the fact that it takes him a lot longer than most people to develop relationships. It’s a bit of a theme in the book and comes up a few times.
Your character is having a rough day…what things do they do to make them happy again? Is there anyone they talk/interact with to get in a better mood?
Olivia likes baking things and James likes comfort food (their well matched in that regard, Mwuahahahah)