CHRISTINE M. KNIGHT

An Australian author who provides insight into the human condition.

Author Christine M Knight's Blog

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. 

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Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Story Behind Pop Rock Song 'Masque'

Sunday, June 25, 2017

'Masque' is a duet between charismatic rock star, Rick Brody, and singing sensation Nikki Mills (the Girl from Oz). They are fictional characters in my novel, ‘Song Bird’, which is on sale through Amazon, Book Depository, and other online booksellers as are my other novels' 'Life Song' and 'In and Out of Step' - in paperback and eBook formats.

'Masque' features the vocal talents of Australians, Skye Elisabeth and Nic James. I am the composer and executive producer for all of my music. Although I am a musician, I no longer perform publicly but use talented session musicians.

I use music as part of my writing process when developing a novel as it allows me to explore character perspectives, challenges, and personal journeys.

My song ‘Masque’ evolved out of my exploration of Rick and Nikki’s relationship when developing 'Song Bird', the novel . The song helped me better understand rock legend Rick Brody, the impact of being a rock star on Rick's relationship with Nikki, and the core obstacles they faced. Rick Brody is one of four pivotal men in Nikki Mills' life.

Wider Relevance
The song has relevance for anyone who feels compelled to be what others expect the person to be rather than being true to self, something that is much easier said than done.

'Masque' also has relevance for a diverse number of people. For instance, I play many roles: wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, teacher, author, musician and so on. I understand how the expectations and demands of others put me under pressure not to let others down. In trying not to short-change others, it was so easy to forget about who I was separate from those roles and what my being real meant.

The context behind the song 'Masque'
In ‘Song Bird’, Rick Brody is charismatic rock star who has been living the cliché - sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll. Like the Tinman from Oz, Rick is injured by his trade. For the Tinman, it was his axe. For Rick Brody, it was his status as a rock star and image of 'bad boy’. He became defined by those roles. Life became a masquerade.

In both cases, the Timan and Rick become manufactured men in want of heart.  Rick’s preoccupation with living the cliché meant that his music lost its heart and the appeal that had drawn audiences to him as he rose to the pinnacle of the music industry.

By contrast, Nikki refused to sell out in order to achieve success. She was determined to get to the top on her own terms and to not be treated as a commodity in the industry.

At the Australian Recording Industry Awards, Rick asked his manager to connect him with Nikki after seeing her perform. Rick claimed his primary interest in Nikki was musical collaboration, but his libido and history of conquests shaped his reason for collaborating with her and definitely shaped the way he interacted with her.

Although Nikki pretended not to be attracted to Rick, she was flattered that he was ‘interested in her of all people. Unlike his fans, Nikki did not have an urge to flash her breasts, hand over her panties, or suggest a threesome.’  She maintained a mask of cool indifference and stayed work-focused throughout the early stages of their musical relationship. Consequently, Rick viewed Nikki as a challenge. Committed to the long game in winning her, he courted.

A survivor of domestic violence, Nikki was cautious about the men with whom she mixed.  ‘Song Bird’ explores the ripple effect of her decision to work with Rick. Can she help Rick find the heart that his music once had? Can he become real with her? Will Nikki’s relationship with him injure her?

You can read more about 'Song Bird' here and on other pages at my website.

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. The online music streaming services such as Spotify and Deezer promote my music, but I only earn approximately one cent per one hundred streams. 

Note: As the novels are set in Australia, I use the British spelling system and language conventions. There are minor differences to the American system.

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Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Story Behind the Country Rock Song 'Sunshine Days'

Saturday, May 20, 2017

'Sunshine Days' is the most recent of my songs to be released. It features Rachel Thorne (vocals) and Milo G (performer, arranger and producer). As with all of my music, I am the composer and executive producer. Although I am a musician, I no longer perform publicly but use talented session musicians.

I use music as part of my writing process when developing a novel as it allows me to explore character perspectives, challenges, and personal journeys.

'Sunshine Days' is an intimate song of disillusion, longing, and hope that is relevant to world-shaking events that generate fear as well as being a song about personal moments of disillusion, loss, and pain. Although the singer feels oppressed by her current circumstance, she does not seek escape into a fantasy land. She recognizes that life - past and future - had and can have golden moments even though the present is tainted by disillusion, isolation, and the pain associated with loss.  The song is about facing reality and committing to reclaiming what has been lost.

'Sunshine Days' features in chapter 1 of my novel ’Life Song' and later in its sequel, 'Song Bird'.

Initially, it is sung by Mavis Mills (aka Nikki Mills – the girl from Oz). My songs 'Life Song' and 'Sunshine Days' provide the backstory for Mavis' choices and the motivation underpinning her narrative journey. She chooses to boldly travel down the road less traveled and is determined not to let trouble get the best of her. Easier said than done though.


Although music and a career in the music industry function as a portal into a better life for Mavis and her son, Dan, it also adds complexity to Mavis' life as she works to balance her personal needs and the demands she faces as a single parent.

When 'Sunshine Days' recurs in 'Song Bird', it is sung by Zoey Blake (a secondary character), the illegitimate daughter of Susie Blake and Max Ryan (rock musicians). Susie and Max had a passionate relationship until Susie fell pregnant. While Max supported Susie's right to choose abortion, he opposed her choice to have a baby. As a result, the couple broke up.

Zoey sings 'Sunshine Days' in her late teens. Having lost the innocence of her childhood and confronted by the knowledge that her biological father did not want her, Zoey struggles with her loss of innocent hope.  In that context, 'Sunshine Days' is a turning point in Zoey's personal journey.

OVERVIEW OF MY NOVEL ‘LIFE SONG’
My novel 'Life Song' picks up Mavis' story six years after the end of 'In and Out of Step' in which Mavis was a significant secondary character. 

There are many harrowing stories of violence against women but a lesser number of stories address how some women rise above the trauma and move on in life. 'Life Song' does the latter.

A character-driven novel, 'Life Song' explores the choices Mavis Mills makes as she balances competing demands and responsibilities with her desire to find an identity beyond motherhood. A survivor of domestic violence, Mavis discovers unexpectedly that she has a choice: accept her life as it is or try to rise above her circumstance, realize her potential, and make her nearly forgotten dreams become true.

The novel does not focus on the abuse – that is in the backstory - it traces the ramifications of it as Mavis strives to put her past behind her. The novel's uplifting plot is very much about the woman that Mavis becomes and the influences that shape her rather than being a novel about a ‘chic-musician on the road to fame story’.

In terms of its appeal, readers agree 'Life Song' is a blend of wry humour and vivid storytelling. The general feedback from readers is that the characters are memorable and inhabit the imagination long after the reading of the novel is finished.

OVERVIEW OF MY NOVEL ’SONG BIRD’
In 'Song Bird', Nikki (aka Mavis) has become an international singing sensation - the Girl from Oz. Determined not to be caged by the media circus, she travels down the golden road through a land of glitter and gloss, facing challenges on the way while struggling to leave the demons from her past behind. In ‘Song Bird’, Nikki continues to grow into the woman she wants to be, not the one others expect her to be. She forges ahead with the support of men, not because of them. 

 

ONLINE SITES WHERE YOU CAN BUY THE SONG
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 about one cent per one hundred plays. 

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Take It off - A Song from SONG BIRD

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

'Take it Off' is a song developed by Christine M Knight for her novel 'SONG BIRD'.  In that novel, the lyrics and music are the outcome of a collaboration between Nikki Mills (the protagonist) and Rick Brody (rock star).

When the song was produced, the song title changed to 'Masque'. The word masque refers to the elaborate decorative masks worn at costume balls where ritual and role were entrenched in past centuries in Italy. The word is relevant to the manufactured images of performers in the music industry and the challenges some performers face in being real in relationships.
 
VERSE 1: MAN

I’ve lived life 
As a masquerade
Defined by roles
I have played.
I’ve been a shape shifter
The person 
Others expected 
Me to be.

VERSE 2: WOMAN
Take off the mask
Farewell the double face.
You don’t have to pretend
With me.
I know the fear of being real.
When you are true
To yourself
You can be true to me. 

CHORUS 
Strip it off.
Let it fall away.
Turn desire into
Heat and fire.
Strip it off. 
Let it fall away.
Touch and taste
Intimacy. 

BRIDGE
Barefoot, naked,
Disguises shed,
In our natural states,
We can live
Without the masks
That bar love
You can be true
To yourself and me. 

CHORUS 
Strip it off.
Let it fall away.
Turn desire into
Heat and fire.
Strip it off. 
Let it fall away.
Touch and taste
Intimacy. 

Get down and be real with me. (repeated)

 


 

 

 

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Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Flame

Thursday, November 13, 2014

As part of the writing process for 'SONG BIRD', I write lyrics that focus on key character relationships. 'The Flame’ deals with one of those relationships. The scene below is from the novel.

The world-wide  launch date for 'SONG BIRD' is 2nd February 2015. My publisher has advise me that it will be available for pre-order through all online sellers and can be ordered through bookstores from 15th January 2015. You  need to tell your local bookseller it is POD.

VERSE 1 -MAN 
I once thought 
Love was pure desire 
A hunger, fever,  
An appetite on fire, 
Consuming lovers 
That came my way. 
Relationships would 
Blaze and fade.
 
VERSE 2 - WOMAN (variation in melody)
Once I thought, 
Love was like breath, 
Something we were preset 
To feel and express. 
Seduced by a masquerade, 
I got burned and learned, 
Actions, not the serenade, 
Love's truth confirms. 

CHORUS -DUET
I know now
Love's an eternal                                    
Flame.
It burns brightly
On the darkest 
Days.
It fills my heart, 
Soul, my mind.
So profound, 
It can’t be denied.
Love forgives.
It accepts.
Love knows
The wonder
In wonderful. 

BRIDGE
Steadfast and constant,                        
Loyal, true
That’s what I’ll be
On life’s road with you.
When things ‘re tough 
You can depend on me.      
You hold my heart
For eternity.  

CHORUS -DUET
I know now
Love's an eternal                                    
Flame.
It burns brightly
On the darkest 
Days.
It fills my heart, 
Soul, my mind.
So profound, 
It can’t be denied.
Love forgives.
It accepts.
Love knows
The wonder
In wonderful.
  

© Christine M Knight

Hear the full song at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/christinemknight2




 





 

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Wednesday, July 02, 2014

THE ROAD TO TRUE NORTH

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Christine M Knight uses the British spelling system in all of her work.

The lyrics for Road to True North were written for my third novel 'Song Bird'. It's a song for Nikki Mills, the central character. It reflects the next stage of her life's journey and her quest to provide a better life for herself and her son.  I also wrote music for the lyrics. The song will be engineered and produced late September 2014 by Shane Edwards at Karma Sound Studio in Thailand. Shane has a special talent for recognizing the emotional build in a song and how to get it and for solving the puzzle involved in crafting a song.  I consider myself lucky to have him working on this project for me.

Here the full song at   http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/dagny

 CHORUS

Travelling down the golden road.
I'll be staying true to that course.
There's no looking back
To where I came from.
I'm heading for a better life.

Music interlude: 8 bars

VERSE
Sometimes, 
When I'm on the road, 
The going is easy
And the road hums.
At times, 
The road is steep
With twists and turns.
It's such a grind!
When the whirlwind blows,
It won’t sway me off course, 
‘Cause my compass is set
To true north.
It guides me 
Through the dark days,
                          Life's maze.
I’ll stay on course.


CHORUS
I'm on my way down
The golden road
Through a land 
Of glitter and gloss. 
I've got my eyes wide open
So there'll be 
No straying.

I'm on my way down
The golden road
Through a land 
Of glitter and gloss. 
I've got my eyes wide open
So there'll be 
No mistaking
The manufactured and the false.

BRIDGE
Wiser now than before,
I've learnt life's lessons;
I know the score.
I'm in control of my destiny.
I won't let trouble get the best of me.

Music interlude: 4 bars

CHORUS
I'm on my way down
The golden road
Through a land 
Of glitter and gloss. 
I've got my eyes wide open
So there'll be 
No straying.

I'm on my way down
The golden road
Through a land 
Of glitter and gloss. 
I've got my eyes wide open
So there'll be 
No mistaking
The manufactured and the false.

Music interlude: 8 bars

© Christine M Knight


 


A big thank you to the very talented song bird, Ingrid Oram, for her help. She put down the guide vocals so that the vocalist in London, Dagny, could hear the song and lay down the vocal track. I also consider myself very lucky to have their help in getting the vocal tracks down. Both vocalists are very talented.

My publisher also commissioned a purpose written song for 'Song Bird' through crowd sourcing. There were a lot of music submissions; the entries all sounded great. HIGHLIGHT PUBLISHING chose The Golden Road by Justine Camilleri and Chris Gale, Melbourne, from the highly competitive field of entries. It is a great song.The lyrics were the result of a number of discussions between Justine Camilleri and me about the imagery that I used in 'Song Bird and the plot

Way Ward Films are creating the promotional video for 'Song Bird'. 

'Song Bird' is a sequel to 'Life Song'. 

In 'Life Song', Mavis (stage name: Nikki Mills) awakens to life's possibilities after six years of hardship and anguish. I used a twist on the Sleeping Beauty archetype, but it's life's opportunities that bring her back to life not the kiss of a prince.  Mavis' name means song bird. This novel is about the music in life - songs of joy and tribulation - and the complex nature of love. 

While 'Life Song' explores the complex nature of love, it is not in any way a novel in the romance genre. 'Life Song' is about Mavis' return to flight through song after years of having her wings clipped and being grounded. In 'Life Song', she realizes that just because men are attracted to her, she doesn't have to fall into their arms or beds. Other things matter more to her at this stage of her life. The story is set between 1996-1998.

Set between 2000 and 2002, 'Song Bird' picks up Mavis' story once she has become an international singing sensation and gold record artist. As part of her transformation, Mavis formally changes her name to Nikki Mills although family and close friends still call her Mavis. Having dreamed of and worked for the better life that stardom brings, she discovers that her reality is very different from what she had imagined. 

Determined not to be caged by the fan and media circus, Nikki struggles to protect her son, maintain their relationship and lifestyle, and find time for love. That struggle is made more difficult by the unearthing of a dark secret from her past.

Can she withstand the media storm? Will she transcend her past? How will she resolve matters of the heart?

Note: 'Song Bird' does not belong to the romance genre. It belongs to Australian Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, and Women's Fiction. My publisher believes it is a novel for both genders and that modern male readers no longer require the protagonist to be male. 

The world-wide launch date for 'Song Bird' is 2nd February 2015.


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Saturday, November 30, 2013

The road to 'Life Song'

Saturday, November 30, 2013

‘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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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

MY WRITING PROCESS: CHRISTINE M KNIGHT

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

When I finally committed to actually writing fiction rather planning to do it, I envisaged a whole world with a community of characters whose lives intersected and diverged as the issues and concerns of their respective lives and the times brought them in and out of contact.

My plan was for each novel to have a different set of characters at the story's heart and to write about their lives in that world. The secondary characters from one novel would be the central characters in another and so on. Each novel would stand independently, but when read within the context of the series, the readers' knowledge of the characters in that world would be enriched. The world in my novels represents snapshots of contemporary Australia.

Like Tennyson, I believe that not only are we part of everything that we meet in life, but what we meet becomes part of us for good or for bad. I'm interested in the ripple effect of experiences in life and how that contributes to and shapes our personal stories. That view of life shapes the way I structure my novels.

My writing process involves the creation of a fictional world that parallels the real world. It is a world with a set of characters, places, circumstances and an environment revolving around human relationships under pressure. That pressure is the source of the conflict that drives my story telling.  It’s a world where relationship dynamics, challenges, and problems give rise to many stories. I planned my first series of novels as 4 titles fixed in different periods in the near past. 

I think of my writing as dream catching. As part of the dreaming process, I conduct extensive research into my subject matter. Research helps me visualise and understand life and its concerns from other people’s perspectives. Research guides the way I imaginatively connect to those experiences. It also helps me select the characters I’m going to use and it guides the way I focus on their concerns, and it helps me construct a virtual reality for them to inhabit.

Writers of fiction need to be thoughtful and compassionate people with empathy for others. That doesn’t mean that writers are always sensitive to the people in their immediate real world. Writers are flawed, just like everyone else.

When I’m in the research phase, I gather experiences and technical facts. I collect stories through discussions with as many women and men from different walks of life and generations as possible.

Research underpins my writing because I believe that for fiction to hold a reader’s interest it has to be grounded in the reality of life. Characters and their reactions need to resonate honestly with what readers know about life and how and why people behave as they do.

Imagination is the bridge that connects the real and fictional worlds for readers and writers. Readers like writers bring imagination to the words that tell a story. Readers are crucial in the process of bringing the alternate reality to life. Without them, a novel is just a book on a shelf gathering dust.

I’ve been surprised over the years by the number of people who think that the only thing worth reading is non-fiction. They dismiss fiction because it involves imagination. Fiction allows writers to create characters in situations without being constrained by the so-called facts of an event or by fear of a lawsuit when the author offers insight into the motives and objectives of characters. For it to succeed, it has to read as reality. 

Fiction is a way of comprehending life - not just what is, but what was, what is likely to be, and what could be. ‘Life Song’ begins with Mavis Mills life as a single parent working as a receptionist at a local car dealership and follows her journey as she dares to reach for a life that could be. So many people are reluctant to hope for something better, lest they be disappointed, not Mavis Mills. She believes that fulfilling her own dreams can secure a better life for those who matter to her most. 

"Standing there with her hair streaming behind her, Mavis enjoyed the bracing wind. She felt alive and that life again held possibilities for her. Somehow I will make it all work."

© Christine M Knight

 

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Monday, November 18, 2013

Why was Kiama chosen for the book launch of 'Life Song'?

Monday, November 18, 2013

I drew on the Kiama landscape in the creation of the fictional coastal town of Keimera which features in both In and Out of Step and Life Song. That fictional landscape also draws on the NSW towns of Camden, Goulburn, and Bungendore. My maternal family have also lived in Kiama for over thirty four years.

Keimera’s main street, harbour, marina, and the southern headland are strongly reminiscent of Kiama as is some of the hinterland. I think of Kiama as the gem location on the Sapphire Coast.

Keimera is a coastal town where local fairs and shows are attended on long days out with families and neighbours. Friends who have stood the test of time share histories and secrets and there is always the sizzle of possible relationships to imagine. The long march of the youth of rural townships drawn to bigger cities has begun. That migration shift is two way though. Keimera’s close-knit community with its thriving life attracts city people in search of a seachange or a treechange.

Keimera is a town where the Council Lifeguards and volunteer surf lifesavers play an important role in keeping the coastal community and visitors to its beaches safe. Their commitment and passion parallels and contrasts with the passion that drives characters in ‘Life Song’ to discover what gives their life genuine meaning. Two important secondary characters in ‘Life Song’ are members of the surf lifesaving movement. Gary and Kate’s experiences are a fictional depiction of some aspects of life when serving the community as a Lifeguard or Lifesaver.

Keimera is also a community where the Country Women's Association (CWA) plays an important role in providing support to women and their families. The CWA is also committed to serving the community. Minna Madison, family matriarch and President of Keimera's local CWA works passionately in upholding traditional values. Madison House represents the former pastoral glory of the region. Madison House was built in 1858. It occupies Pipers Point which is the peninsula north of Keimera.  

Philanthropic activities such as the Surf Lifesaving Movement and the CWA represent the finer aspects of the Australian psyche. As a people, we believe in helping others, giving others a fair go, and a fair day's work for a fair day's pay.   

©Christine M Knight

  

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Friday, May 24, 2013

A Teller of Australian Stories

Friday, May 24, 2013

I am a storyteller. I am also a portrait and landscape painter. My preferred media is not oil or watercolours but words. My pictures capture the world that I know and form a backdrop to the stories I tell.

 

I am Australian. My father was a migrant, and my mother a fourth generation Australian. My father bequeathed me his restlessness and search for identity in a landscape alien to the one in which he grew up. My mother bestowed on me a love of homeland and its people. 

 

From childhood, I have been fascinated by storytelling and interested in the way it contributes to and reflects identity – personal and national. As a reader, I was thrilled when I discovered Colleen McCullough’s Australian stories and disappointed when her interest shifted to Ancient Rome. As a nation and a people, we need stories about the way we were and the way we are.

 

I am a watcher and a listener. I find the cadence of life in Australia intriguing. A world traveller, I recognise what makes us uniquely Australian although that is changing with the cycle of life, as all things do. My stories capture the world and people I know and the changes I see. My novels and characters are fictional constructions grounded in knowledge garnered from life and based on extensive research into what is collectively experienced and felt as well as what is uniquely individual.

 

I tell stories about characters in Australian settings that have a universal relevance. 


Note: Australians use the British spelling system and not that favoured by the USA. 




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    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.



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    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. 

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    Sunday, June 25, 2017

    The Story Behind Pop Rock Song 'Masque'

    Sunday, June 25, 2017

    'Masque' is a duet between charismatic rock star, Rick Brody, and singing sensation Nikki Mills (the Girl from Oz). They are fictional characters in my novel, ‘Song Bird’, which is on sale through Amazon, Book Depository, and other online booksellers as are my other novels' 'Life Song' and 'In and Out of Step' - in paperback and eBook formats.

    'Masque' features the vocal talents of Australians, Skye Elisabeth and Nic James. I am the composer and executive producer for all of my music. Although I am a musician, I no longer perform publicly but use talented session musicians.

    I use music as part of my writing process when developing a novel as it allows me to explore character perspectives, challenges, and personal journeys.

    My song ‘Masque’ evolved out of my exploration of Rick and Nikki’s relationship when developing 'Song Bird', the novel . The song helped me better understand rock legend Rick Brody, the impact of being a rock star on Rick's relationship with Nikki, and the core obstacles they faced. Rick Brody is one of four pivotal men in Nikki Mills' life.

    Wider Relevance
    The song has relevance for anyone who feels compelled to be what others expect the person to be rather than being true to self, something that is much easier said than done.

    'Masque' also has relevance for a diverse number of people. For instance, I play many roles: wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, teacher, author, musician and so on. I understand how the expectations and demands of others put me under pressure not to let others down. In trying not to short-change others, it was so easy to forget about who I was separate from those roles and what my being real meant.

    The context behind the song 'Masque'
    In ‘Song Bird’, Rick Brody is charismatic rock star who has been living the cliché - sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll. Like the Tinman from Oz, Rick is injured by his trade. For the Tinman, it was his axe. For Rick Brody, it was his status as a rock star and image of 'bad boy’. He became defined by those roles. Life became a masquerade.

    In both cases, the Timan and Rick become manufactured men in want of heart.  Rick’s preoccupation with living the cliché meant that his music lost its heart and the appeal that had drawn audiences to him as he rose to the pinnacle of the music industry.

    By contrast, Nikki refused to sell out in order to achieve success. She was determined to get to the top on her own terms and to not be treated as a commodity in the industry.

    At the Australian Recording Industry Awards, Rick asked his manager to connect him with Nikki after seeing her perform. Rick claimed his primary interest in Nikki was musical collaboration, but his libido and history of conquests shaped his reason for collaborating with her and definitely shaped the way he interacted with her.

    Although Nikki pretended not to be attracted to Rick, she was flattered that he was ‘interested in her of all people. Unlike his fans, Nikki did not have an urge to flash her breasts, hand over her panties, or suggest a threesome.’  She maintained a mask of cool indifference and stayed work-focused throughout the early stages of their musical relationship. Consequently, Rick viewed Nikki as a challenge. Committed to the long game in winning her, he courted.

    A survivor of domestic violence, Nikki was cautious about the men with whom she mixed.  ‘Song Bird’ explores the ripple effect of her decision to work with Rick. Can she help Rick find the heart that his music once had? Can he become real with her? Will Nikki’s relationship with him injure her?

    You can read more about 'Song Bird' here and on other pages at my website.

    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. The online music streaming services such as Spotify and Deezer promote my music, but I only earn approximately one cent per one hundred streams. 

    Note: As the novels are set in Australia, I use the British spelling system and language conventions. There are minor differences to the American system.

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