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 novels—In 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.