CHRISTINE M. KNIGHT

An Australian author who provides insight into the human condition.

Reviews - Life Song

Billie Broadfoot-Wilde
Singer and performer

Having read both In And Out Of Step and Life Song, I have to say that I am not only impressed with these beautifully rounded, believable characters, but also with Christine Knight’s thorough and tenacious pursuit of authentic detail.  In Life Song, Christine shows so well has the mix of personalities, egos, fears and aspirations that make up the complex collective that is a “band”.  From the performers, agents, and management all the way through to the roadies, Life Song takes me straight back to my performing days in the 80’s and 90’s. 

As a singer who began to perform professionally after having two children, subsequently leaving my first husband, and making a life for my children without any support from him, I completely relate to Mavis’s struggle.  Following your heart is very difficult when there is an undertone of guilt [particularly relating to children].  These constant struggles between the need for individuality and the need to belong in the family unit can be confusing and occasionally heartbreaking.  I have loved watching how Mavis deals with all of this.

Christine has a rare ability to “tell it like it is”, and yet, leave you with a sense of moving forward with hope.

This beautifully descriptive book with its consistency of characters and even of geographic place, leaves one with an intimate relationship that I, for one, wouldn't want to lose.  In fact, I can’t wait to see what happens next!?  

http://everguide.com.au/melbourne/event/2011-aug-26/billie-wilde-is-born-this way




Clare Allan-Kamil
Victorian Writers' Centre; The Wheeler Centre Victoria

'Christine M Knight's second novel Life Song is a joyfully triumphant confection that resonates with layers of interest. It is the sort of story that one reads again, by turns it is both comforting and a road story. It displays a marked use of dialogue to frame up the comedy of manners and shifts in perception that characters portray. The plot is compelling in its evocation of a particular period in the history of the Australian music industry and band life and applies a collection of songs deserving of its own accompanying CD.

Christine's novels (especially this one) deliver positive and reassuring messages about give and take, listening, taking responsibility, and acceptance of differing lifestyles. 

The author again demonstrates her ability to frame the core of her novel's conflict in imagery - for example, the tug-of-war at the opening of this novel - and she also has the ability to plunge the reader into the microcosm of place. Who would not want to return to Mavis' home town?

Set in the rural town of Keimera, in the coastline that runs like a ribbon between Melbourne (Victoria) and Sydney (NSW), the underlying vista supporting Life Song emerges as bright as a Rupert Bunny painting. The long march of the youth of rural townships to bigger cities has only just begun in this coastal community. It is a rural town going through a stage of rejuvenation with Tree Changers as well as the rebuilding and shifting further in that occurs after bush fires. Into this totally beguiling, wryly humorous, quiet community comes Mavis Mills.

Mavis' struggle is not the plight of being a single mother but centres on her wish to be in charge of her life, captain of her creativity, and create a better life for her son and herself. Mavis’ situation as a single mother breadwinner in a challenging and not well-paid job will resonate with many women as will her ambition and work to achieve a better life. The novel explores the assumptions that families and social groups of all ages hold about the legitimacy that women claim when pursuing a career path in their chosen field once they have become mothers. Mavis’ story is about reinvention and triumphing against the odds. It is a celebration of the power of belief in one’s self and of friends and of supporters.

In Life Song, the male characters are as diverse and complex as the females. The narrative explores the need of many women and men to enter into a fully functional dialogue. The connection between Gary (as a lead character) and Mavis is complex, far truer to the realities of friendships between thinking people. The author displays this layering of feeling and connection subtly.

In terms of its chick-lit appeal, Life Song ticks all the boxes. It is a blend of wry humour and vivid storytelling. The outcome is satisfying without being cloying. It has sizzle but no awkward sex scenes to navigate. The story can be read as an adventure with a wonderfully, funny, visual narrating style.  It can also be reflected on as a snapshot of a period in the recent past, a time when life was undergoing significant change for women and men. 

The story is bound to become a discussion and debate catalyst. Simply by placing the choices of creativity in tandem with child rearing will place it in a similar field to Tsiolkas' 'The Slap'. In this reader's opinion, the deeper aspects of the story combined with the backdrop of the community would provide a solid basis as a treatment for a TV series. 

This is the sort of novel that delights on a day when the sofa calls. If it had food (apart from the party foods at the Mills’ Christmas ‘do’), Life Song would be perfect.

In the words of Ian Molly Meldrum, 'Do yourself a favour and go out and buy it.’


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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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