CHRISTINE M. KNIGHT

An Australian author who provides insight into the human condition.

Author Christine M Knight's Blog

Saturday, November 30, 2013

The road to 'Life Song'

‘Life Song’ grew out of concerns and questions about life that the women and men I interviewed shared. Many women and men had questions about plotting a course through life in uncharted territory and about what made life worth living, what gave it meaning. They were also interested in the nature of love and worried about being deceived by counterfeit love and subsequently hurt. All adult groups shared a desire to have love of the adult kind - the real version of it and not an imitation. Many found that a life without a passion is empty – be that passion cycling, gardening, gaming, fishing, surfing, art, lifesaving, work for the community – the list of passions is endless.

Women had questions about what it meant to be a woman in the modern world given the complexity of the roles they now played. Mothers back in the work force had questions about boundaries – about when and where a mother's responsibility for her children took priority over her responsibility to self, and should it. 

Those questions became the starting point for my imaginative explorations of characters in a range of situations and settings. Research into the music industry continued during this time. As I considered the duality of women and men's roles in western society, I asked myself, What if ...? As a result of that imagining, the plot of ‘Life Song’ emerged.

In Life Song, I re-introduce Australian songbird Mavis Mills. Born to sing, Mavis has set her dreams aside and spent six years parenting her beloved son Dan. Then, unexpectedly, she discovers she has a choice: to accept her life as it is or to attempt to rise above her circumstances, realize her potential, and make her nearly-forgotten dreams come true.

I’m going to take a detour here to provide some background circumstance so you understand more about ‘Life Song’.

When I wrote my first novel, 'In and Out of Step', I knew that Mavis Mills was going to be the central character in the next novel although I didn't fully know where her story would lead or what the title of that novel would be. I wanted Australian names for Mavis and her family, and when I discussed the matter with my mother, she suggested the name of Mabel, a character from one of her favourite radio shows - Dad and Dave from Snake Gully.

In ‘Life Song’ and ‘In and Out of Step’, Mavis and her family are Aussie battlers, and I wanted names that echoed that experience. I varied the name from Mabel to Mavis because I discovered Mavis is a variation of Mabel and that mavis is also the name of a songbird. I developed Mavis' back-story in 'In and Out of Step' as a contrasting subplot to Cassie Sleight's story and journey. Cassie is a dancer, and it seemed fitting that Mavis, although from a different walk of life, should share the same strong creative impulse that would bond them somehow. Their lives ran in parallel at times but diverged because of the choices made.

An overheard snatch of dialogue between children at play became the stimulus for Dan's story (Mavis' son) in 'Life Song'. The little boy (the child of a single parent) in response to his playmate's comment that his father was returning home from overseas duty said, "I don't know where my daddy is, but I know he'll come home soon too."  The boy's father never did. 

In developing Dan's story, I was interested in exploring aspects of life when a child grows up without his father in the picture. Dan is six when the novel starts. I developed Zoey's story as a parallel and contrast to Dan’s journey. When I created Zoey, she was originally a minor character needed in the plot action, however, she stepped off the page very quickly and demanded that her story be told too.  Kate’s story also looks at parent-child relationships from another perspective.  

Given Mavis' back-story in 'In and Out of Step' and her musical ability, the Australian music industry was the obvious vehicle for Mavis' pursuit of a career. The music industry also forms one of the backdrops to Mavis' journey. Another two backdrops are life in a coastal town south of Sydney and the period 1996-1998 in Australia.

'Life Song' is not non-fiction masquerading as fiction. It is Mavis's story first and foremost. It is a quest story about boldly journeying down a path less travelled. It is a tale about the power of believing in self. It is a narrative about rebirth and begins at the end of a period of anguish and sacrifice for Mavis.


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    LATEST BLOG 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

      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

    • Media article about Christine's music

      03-Jul-2019

      Christine's rock song 'Masque' featured in an article on Marquix TV (http://www.marquix.tv/features/ChristineMKnight1.html) and Avastar (http://www.avastar.tv/features/ChristineMKnight1.html)..
    • As engaging as Bohemian Rhapsody

      10-Mar-2019

      Are you tired of dark narratives on TV, in the cinema, and on the news? Then escape into the world of 'Life Song' and 'Song Bird' , available on Amazon and other major online sellers. Th..
    • Christine M Knight's music update

      10-Mar-2019

      Thank you for visiting Christine M Knight's website. She is not only an author of wonderful novels but also a song composer and producer.. We ask you to help Christine's music cross over to comm..

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