An Australian author who provides insight into the human condition.

Glossary of Australian Terms for 'In and Out of Step'

The Australian Bicentennial occurred in 1988. The novel is set between 1988-1990.

anti-Metherell campaign: teachers’ union protests against the changes to the New South Wales (NSW) state school education system introduced by the then NSW Liberal Minister for Education, Terry Metherell.

arvo is Australian slang for afternoon.

BHP (today known as BHP Billiton) is a global mining group that includes steelworks such as those based in Wollongong south of Sydney. In Australia, it is the top producer of iron ore and coal (thermal and metallurgical).

bloke is Australian slang and means an ordinary man

Bob Hawke was the 23rd Prime Minister of Australia from March 1983 to December 1991 and therefore longest serving Australian Labor Party (ALP) Prime Minister.

chook an Australian term for chicken; sometimes it is used as an endearing nickname . Often nicknames suggest a metaphoric clue to the person’s appearance or behaviour.

CWA is an abbreviation for the Country Women's Association. It is a non-profit, non-party political, and non-sectarian organisation for country and city women. Members work for the welfare of all women and children through representation to all levels of government, undertaking fundraising events, providing networking opportunities and teaching life skills.

dux is Latin for leader. It is the title given to the student with the highest overall academic score in the graduating year (Year 12) of high school. The American equivalent is valedictorian.fella - an informal word for a male that is not age specific. It can also be used as universal term for either gender.

Esky is used in Australia as a generic name, it more correctly is a trademark owned by Coleman Brands Pty Ltd and which specifically identifies an Esky brand name portable icebox cooler.

Federation refers to the process by which the six separate self-governing British colonies of New South wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, and Western Australia formally joined together to form one nation, Australia, in 1901.

Federation architecture is the style prevalent in Australia in 1901. A limited range of colour schemes were used prior to WWII because of the narrow range of pigments in paint. 

fella is an informal word for a male that is not age specific. It can also be used as universal term for either gender.

H.E.C.S is short for Higher Education Contribution Scheme. It is an interest-free federal government loan to Australian students who attend Australian tertiary education institutions and pays for their university fees. It is repaid through the Australian tax system when a student’s study is completed. Repayment begins when the student's taxable income reaches a set level post study.

HG and Roy are a comedy team whose parody of sport commentary gained them a wide fan base and popularity across Australia.

The Herald (also known as the Sydney Morning Herald or the Saturday Herald/Sunday Herald) is the oldest continuously published newspaper in Australia. It is a supersized broadsheet.

HSC is an abbreviation for the Higher School Certificate that is the highest award in secondary education in New South Wales. To be eligible for the award, students must complete Years 11 and 12, satisfy HSC course requirements and sit for state-wide HSC examinations in their chosen subjects.

‘MASH’ was a novel by Richard Hooker, later a feature film, and then a long running American TV series.*A*S*H_(TV_series)

The MASH trophy as used in 'In and Out of Step' is a parody of the above image combined with the two fingered gesture. The two fingered gesture is regarded as an insult in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Ireland, and the United Kingdom as it means, “F*** off”. It is used ironically by the English staff at Keimera High.

mate is used when a person is trying to achieve some kind of rapport. Anyone can be a mate.

The Melbourne Cup is the premier thoroughbred horse-racing event in Australia held on the first Tuesday in November each year. It is widely known as 'the race that stops the nation.'

Minties is an Australian iconic brand. It refers to a white, chewy, square mint-flavoured lolly in a wrapper (candy). A long running and very successful advertising campaign linked a wide range of everyday experiences (good and bad) with the catch phrase, 'It's moment like these, you need Minties.' After viewing the attached link, overseas readers may better appreciate the embedded joke on page 193 of ‘In and Out of Step’.

Mungo Jerry was an English rock group See

nong is Australian slang and is used as a mild and/or endearing insult. It means a bit of a twit, or idiot.

Persephone (the daughter of Demeter) was stolen by Hades (King of the Underworld). This Greek myth explains the origin of the seasons. Links that give you more information:

Port Kembla is a major seaport south of Sydney NSW that was established in the late 1890's to facilitate the export of coal from the mines of the Illawarra region. Major steel works were subsequently established in the area. It is very close to Wollongong.

RSL is an abbreviation for Returned Services League. Anyone who served in the Australian Defence Force (ADF) is eligible for full membership. The RSL provides vital advocacy services and support for all current and ex-serving ADF personnel as well as a club where people can meet and socialise. Civilians are also able to join.

A sloppy joe is an Australian term for a sweatshirt, windcheater, sweater or sweats.

A squatter’s chair looks like 

The sword of Damocles is an allusion to a legend ( and is used in 'In and Out of Step' by Paul Selton to comment on Talbut's precarious situation and the dangerous nature of the 'game' that he plays. It suggests impending danger.

TAFE is an abbreviation for Technical and Further Education. TAFE provides students over sixteen years with an alternative pathway to study that includes vocational courses as well as traineeships for industry and Defence. The learning and social environments are very different to that found in high schools. TAFE also provides night courses for mature aged students returning to study who did not graduate from high school.

toey is Australian slang and means being on edge or excited or nervous.

trackie-daks are the bottom half of the tracksuit, not the whole. The whole tracksuit is the trackie. A tracksuit (made from stretch material or velour) is very commonly worn in Australia.

tunnel has two meanings. Literally, it is a passage, often underground. In Australian surfers' slang, tunnel is used derogatorily to refer to a woman; it reduces a woman's value to her vagina.

‘Sway’ at the end of the novel is how I visualise the relationship between Cassie and her mate. Ideally, the final scene would have closed on the lyrics but copyright costs were too high to do so.

Wee Waa is a small town in northern NSW and has become Australia's major cotton growing area

A whiteboard is a name for a glossy, usually white surface. It replaced blackboards in Australian classrooms. Erasable non-permanent markers are used on it instead of chalk. As a matter of interest, in 2011, Smartboards have replaced whiteboards in many Australian schools.

The fictional township of Keimera is a composite of three NSW towns. Below are scenes from one of those towns.




The Australian Bicentennial occurred in 1988. The novel is set between 1988-1990.

anti-Metherell campaign: teachers’ union protests against the changes to the New South Wales (NSW) state school education system introduced by the then NSW Liberal Minister for Education, Terry Metherell.

arvo is Australian slang for afternoon.

BHP (today known as BHP Billiton) is a global mining group that includes steelworks such as those based in Wollongong south of Sydney. In Australia, it is the top producer of iron ore and coal (thermal and metallurgical).

bloke is Australian slang and means an ordinary man

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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.

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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


    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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  • Media article about Christine's music


    Christine's rock song 'Masque' featured in an article on Marquix TV ( and Avastar (
  • As engaging as Bohemian Rhapsody


    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


    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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