CHRISTINE M. KNIGHT

An Australian author who provides insight into the human condition.

Author Christine M Knight's Blog

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Christine Down Under - A Beginning

G'day and welcome to the first in a series of blogs in which I share my life and reflections. I am a novelist who writes about contemporary Australia: the people and concerns of the day. I'm not interested in perpetuating the popular myth that we are a pastoral landscape or an Outback community. The historical truth is that we have always been an urbanised nation and remain so today. My debut novel 'In and Out of Step' continues to sell well throughout Australia and overseas, and there is keen publisher interest in my current project, 'Life Song', which is under development. I expect it to be released late 2012.

Blogging keeps me writing to a schedule but takes the pressure off me to advance my current project. Like running long distance, I find breaks are necessary to maintain 'imaginative fitness', but I find it is important to maintain the routine. Just as over-running can harden the arteries and restrict vascular flow, so too does an inflexible writing program.

I live on a property on the urban rural fringe north of Canberra (Australia) in Wamboin that is located around the border between New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. Wamboin varies in elevation from 619m to 918m above sea level. We're close enough to the national capital to benefit from all of that city's attractions and yet distant enough to enjoy country living and the space that comes with it.

Having grown up in Sydney and having travelled extensively with my husband, who is still a serving officer in the Royal Australian Air Force, the decision to commit to one location and a permanent residence was a big one for us. Moving every few years had never been an issue for me whereas staying in one place was. I think that was because I inherited my father's restlessness. My father, a Scotsman, immigrated to Australia after WWII. Although he physically settled here, I know he never felt psychologically at home. He longed for somewhere else, something more akin to the Clyde River landscape from his homeland.

I think the decision to live in one place was difficult for me as well because it was the first step toward the end of our military lifestyle, and yes, moving toward retirement. That made me feel old. Age is a state of mind though, and I've recovered my self-image which is ageless. Add to that the huge amount of energy required in establishing a property. Who needs a gym when there is 120 tonne of soil to redistribute for gardens? Hard work has shown me how young I really am.

Our change in lifestyle was also made easier because of where we now live. Canberra is one of a few places in Australia that actually has strong seasonable changes and the closest thing to a northern hemisphere Fall. Another is Leura in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney.

Currently, the landscape in our region has moved from the skeletal starkness of winter into the budding greenery that heralds Spring. Wild flowers have begun to mass along country roads. Lizards and echidnas have once again taken to sunning themselves on the bitumen roads - not the safest of places to enjoy the day's warmth. For those of you who don't know, echidnas are also known as spiny anteaters and belong to the monotreme order of egg-laying mammals.

On the way to my day job earlier this week, the fast moving traffic in a 100km zone came to an unexpected halt. Ahead of us, a burly truck driver wearing a blue T-shirt, cargo-styled shorts, and steel-capped, ankle length boots was trying to shepherd an echidna across the road while his co-driver literally stopped travellers to enable a safe transit. Both men were huge and big enough to stop a pack of rugby forwards in their tracks. Behind me, traffic banked up quickly.

Now echidnas are not known as herd animals and, unlike sheep, resist being directed. It traversed the road in a zigzag pattern obviously worried about the towering giant stalking it and clearly not seeing the man as his protector. The man seemed to think that tip-toeing in his work boots made him less fearsome. It was an odd ballet and funny to watch.


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    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

    Notes:

    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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NEWS

  • Christine's music update

    11-Oct-2018

    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

    10-Oct-2018

    Help Christine cross over to commercial radio by following this link (https://www.triplejunearthed.com/artist/christine-m-knight), playing her songs, and giving them a star review. Yo..
  • 4 out of 4 stars review for 'Song Bird'

    16-Jul-2018

    Another 4 out of 4 stars for 'Song Bird'. Click here (https://forums.onlinebookclub.org/viewtopic.php?t=75821)for the review...

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