An Australian author who provides insight into the human condition.

Author Christine M Knight's Blog

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Blog 1 - Belonging Plot Analysis

As the title 'In and Out of Step' suggests, the plot is built around character relationships and the themes of:

  • belonging and alienation
  • loss and gain
  • change.

Central to the theme of BELONGING is the ripple effect of life events on relationships and in a community and the way those events and relationships shape people and their perceptions of belonging or not belonging.

The central plot revolves around Cassie Sleight's quest to belong against a backdrop of a world undergoing social change. Her story traces how Cassie is shaped by events, people, and experiences in her world - past and present. The world of Keimera functions as a character in its own right.

The story opens with Cassie arriving in the seemingly idyllic coastal NSW town of Keimera. She has discarded her dream of a career in dance and left home. Dance influences how she interprets the world and how she deals with its adversities.

Having left the familiar circle of family and friends in search of a seachange, Cassie starts her teaching career in the English faculty of Keimera High. Her workplace represents one of the last bastions of male supremacy and her male co-workers want to keep it that way. She boards at Madison House, historically significant and representing something of the former pastoral glory of the region.

In the high school setting, Cassie comes into contact with Mark Talbut, a man struggling to be modern yet threatened by power shifts in the workplace and society. At Madison House, Cassie experiences new perspectives on relationships and is challenged to become the woman she was meant to be and not what circumstance made her.

While readers learn about Cassie's new world and the barriers to her fitting in and becoming accepted, the secrets of her past surface through a series of flashback scenes. Those scenes reveal why Cassie felt she no longer belonged in the world that she left behind in Sydney and why she chose to be in exile.

As the story unfolds, Cassie realises something potentially sinister is happening in her new community. What should she do about it? Is the so-called 'good guy' really a wolf or just a man out of step with the times?

Cassie's quest to belong occurs in the workplace, in her new social and personal arenas. It is only after coming to terms with her past that she is able to move forward into a very different future. Like the phoenix rising from the ashes, she is reborn through adversity.

'She thought of all the people she had met. Some wore masks that disguised their real intent. Others remained oblivious of the impact of their actions. A number rang true like quality crystal. She was lucky to know the difference now.'

In the novel, Cassie’s journey to belong contrasts with the journeys of Mavis Mills, Michael Madison, Mark Talbut, Kate Denford, Samantha Smith, and Rajes Chandran. The stories of secondary characters add dimension to my exploration of the novel's themes. Absolutely every character experience serves a function in this about tale about life and love. You may have to think about how and why.

'In and Out of Step' is also a snapshot of Australian life and some key issues in play at the time. Those issues remain hot topics today. It is based on extensive research and placed within a fictional context.

Strands of colour,
Separate yet interwoven.
Each hue
Influences the weaving,
Defines the other.
A complex tapestry:
Indiscernible when close;
Recognisable at a distance.


HSC Area of Study students should also have a look at the 90 second YouTube dance video at   The dance video works well as a related text for BELONGING.

The team here have also provided an in depth analysis of the dance video to help students



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The Month's Posts


    Wednesday, October 10, 2018

    Reflection on 'In and Out of Step'

    Wednesday, October 10, 2018

    Set between 1988-1990, In and Out of Step’s thesis picks-up on a period of significant change in Australian social and cultural history which mirror the wider western world. The novel reflects the popular perceptions of the era and explores reaction to changing roles and values, the relationship between generations, gender dynamics, and power in society through contrasting character perspectives.  

    The novel charts Cassie Sleight's (rhymes with slate) and her generation’s journeys in new and uncharted territory in their relationships: personal, social, and work after the second wave of the women’s movement.

    Life forces the women in my novels to reassess what they are doing, how they are doing it, and to evaluate who they are and want to be.

    Through Cassie’s experiences, the reader is entertained and provoked to consider the perceptions held and dualities of women’s roles in western society. That may suggest that this is a non-fiction work masquerading as fiction. However, this aspect is firmly set in the external world of the story and Cassie’s experiences.

    In and Out of Step explores:

    • how identity and relationships are shaped by the way gender operates and gender differences
    • how place—geography, attitudes, values, and culture—shape people’s lives and actions
    • the culture that supports and promotes sexual harassment in the workforce and social spheres
    • changing perceptions of gender roles
    • adapting to change in oneself and the wider world
    • the personal, social, and workplace influences that contribute to change.

    My novelsIn and Out of Step, Life Song, Song Bird portray the diverse and changing realities of women in the time the novels are set: 1980-1990, 1996-1998, 2000-2002.  The stories are anchored in the social and historical context of each period.

    Read more

    Saturday, August 12, 2017

    Life Song - a story of metamorphosis

    Saturday, August 12, 2017

    Twenty-two-year-old Mavis Mills first appears in my novel In and Out of Step. Outgoing, gregarious, and confident, Mavis is a significant secondary character in that novel.  Mavis' story - a subplot - is used to provide contrast to and insight into Cassie Sleight's (the central character) journey. 

    At one point in the novel, effervescent Mavis is severely injured – physically, emotionally, and psychologically - by domestic violence and the fire of her partner’s rage. He also destroys her guitar and the copies of her original songs. Part of  the subplot from In and Out of Step explores the context of the domestic violence and provides insight into the psychology of it. Excuses are not made.

    At the start of Life Song, Mavis is twenty-eight-years-old and very different from the young woman who shone throughout most of In and Out of Step. She is the central character in Life Song. She has become subdued, distrustful of her own judgement, and an echo of her former self. Unexpectedly, she discovers she has a choice: continue to live a life tainted by domestic violence or seize the opportunity before her and try to rise above her circumstance and, like the phoenix bird, leave the ashes of her past life behind.

    'Could she live the rest of her life as she'd been living. She couldn't, not now she'd glimpsed another world, fleeting though that vision had been.'

    Life Song is not a cliche 'chic musician on the road' story and is definitely not a romance. It is about the woman Mavis becomes and the people who stand by her as she undergoes transformation – physical, psychological, and to an extent spiritual. She does not solve her problems in the arms of a man but makes the hard choices herself.

    The drama comes from the tugs-of-war that Mavis has to work though. It is made all the harder because Mavis' heart is in conflict with itself. One person, no matter how strong, cannot win a tug-of-war alone. The same applies to Mavis.

    Readers learn about the things that give Mavis strength and that enable her to boldly embrace the inevitable changes coming into her life as she becomes Nikki Mills, the Song Bird from Oz.

    I recommend you listen to two songs from that novel: Sunshine Days and Life Song (A Vision Splendid) to get a feel for this story.

    There are many kinds of wins in life, most of them personal rather than widely acclaimed. It's those personal 'brave heart' moments that define Mavis. Reader feedback through my publisher and website is that Life Song is a gratifying read.

    As part of your journey in reading this blog,  I suggest you listen to Move On.  In my imagination, it is first sung by Mavis' support network, but ultimately the song becomes her personal mantra.

    Australia is a diverse landscape and has diverse communities. Life Song gives readers an opportunity to spend time in some of those communities. The title alludes to the fact that each character's life has its own melody and when sung in concert become the symphony that is Life Song


    Life Song is one of four novels in The Keimera Series. Each novel is a standalone narrative and has the backstory woven into it.  The Keimera Series is an opus.

    Keimera does not in any way allude to chimeraa monstrous fire-breathing hybrid creature from Greek mythology.

    If you would like to lend me your support so that I can produce more music from my novels, you can buy any of my songs from CD Baby.  Each of my songs can be purchased for the very small price of $1.69. My music is also on iTunes and other major online music sellers as well.

    Read more

    Sunday, June 25, 2017

    The story behind my song 'The Flame'

    Sunday, June 25, 2017

    'The Flame' features in my novel ‘Song Bird’. In the novel, it is sung by rock legend Rick Brody who serenades Nikki Mills (the central character in the novel). In real life, it was sung by Funnie Williams and Thanapat Yarchartoen (aka Film). I produced the song through Karma Sound Studios in Thailand.

    BACKSTORY TO 'THE FLAME' - The Singer or the Song?

    In ‘Song Bird’ and its prequel 'Life Song', Nikki Mills - the Girl from Oz - is a survivor of domestic violence. Once an innocent, she believed the very convincing serenade of her first significant love, Terry Kikby. Long before Nikki met Rick, his song 'The Flame' resonated with her.  She believed that Rick's songs really expressed his own ideas and values.

    Having been at the top of the music industry for sixteen years, Rick finds his music is dropping in the charts. Defined by his 'bad boy' image, he has lost sight of his real self. Consequently,  his music has lost its connection with his fan base. Interested in Nikki as a woman as much as in her skill as a lyricist, Rick collaborates with Nikki on a new album. 

    Flattered by Rick's interest in her and impressed by 'The Flame', Nikki embarks on a relationship with him.  A subplot in the novel explores the ramifications of that decision.  Can she help Rick find the heart that his music once had?  Will Nikki be hurt or healed by the relationship with him?  The answers are found in my novel 'Song Bird'. 

    Readers of this blog may also find the pop rock song 'Masque' and interesting insight into Rick and Nikki's relationship issues.

    I currently have 8 songs on CD Baby and iTunes. You can help me raise the money to produce the rest of my songs by buying one or more of my songs at the very small price of $1.69 per song. They are on sale at CD Baby and  iTunes. Online music streaming services such as Spotify and Deezer promote my music, but I only earn approximately one cent per one hundred streams. 

    Read more

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  • Christine's music update


    Christine’s admin team are pleased to report ‘Life Song’ has continued to receive an increasingly strong response in its latest month of rotation on numerous radio stations targe..
  • Christine's music on Unearthed Triple J


    Help Christine cross over to commercial radio by following this link (, playing her songs, and giving them a star review. Yo..
  • 4 out of 4 stars review for 'Song Bird'


    Another 4 out of 4 stars for 'Song Bird'. Click here ( the review...

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