An Australian author who provides insight into the human condition.

Reviews - In and Out of Step

Coralie Wood OAM
Theatrical Publicist

'In and Out of Step kept me intrigued as each character leapt from the page and showed me a real insight to school life, teaching, and down to earth struggles with the joys of life. Christine Knight has captured the life of Cassie perfectly ... where is the sequel!'

Mathew Leman

Knight's skill is seen in the flow and intensity of the story, the complexity of her characters, the wonderful descriptions of place, and her ability to move readers. 'In and Out of Step' is an engrossing insight into life in the late 1980s. The hot topics then remain hot topics today.

Mollie Butler, Journalist
Tweed Daily News

'In and Out of Step', set in a coastal NSW town, takes us on a journey back to the late 1980s via characters in school rooms, on the dance floor, and battling bushfires. It possesses all the ingredients of a good Australian novel exploring the gender problems of the era while transporting us back in time with meticulous detail. From the first page to the last, it is compelling reading.

Wendy O/Hanlon
Acres Australia

Christine M. Knight deftly tracks Cassie's struggles and joys from innocent teenager to world-weary adult. Along the way, we meet a variety of real-life characters who could be your next-door neighbours or friends. Thus, the reader can sympathise not only with Cassie but also with many of the characters that make up her world. The author writes well, setting the scene and populating it with believable characters.

Reviews as featured on Bookworld for the first edition

Mason F.

A very 'real' world that is artfully brought to life. You care about these characters and also dislike some of them. Although not always a cozy read, overall it was very engaging, entertaining, and thought-provoking. Not a dancer myself, I was fascinated by the way dance was made the backbone of the story and the way the dance scenes worked in the story. Wholeheartedly recommend this novel and writer to you.

great book lover

My mother recommended this writer to me as she knows I am a fan of Jean Auel. Knight's subject matter is very different from Auel's, but Knight is a skilful writer, and this novel is finely crafted. I really enjoyed the world and the themes explored in 'In and Out of Step'. The picture of workplace dynamics is chillingly accurate. I was moved a number of times while reading which I can tell you doesn't happen a lot nowadays. This is a strongly visual novel that entertains and causes thought as well as discussion. My advice is buy Auel and Knight.

Wesley K.

I am a fan of the writing style of Jean Auel and Conn Iggulden and am constantly in search of other writers of that calibre to read. This novel was recommended by a girlfriend as such a book. I began reading with reservations thinking this was chic-lit. It isn't! It's people-lit and beautifully crafted. If you like Jean Auel and Conn Iggulden then you'll like this writer. I liked the way the author showed that Cassie was a shadow of herself at the beginning and how and why she grew into a strong person and reclaimed her 'lost identity' as a result of adversity. Really liked the strong male characters as well as their ordinariness that made them closer to the world I know. A really good read with an increasingly strong grip as the story advances. Is there a sequel?

Nora K.

There is much to recommend in this novel. Knight has written a significant story that realistically captures the late 1980s and issues that were hot topics then and still hot topics now. I shared some great discussions with friends after we read this novel. I felt strongly about the characters and saw them as real people. I connected fully with the central character's feelings of being overwhelmed and out of her depth in the workplace when confronted by serious issues. I wish I could say I had been as strong as Cassie became. I laughed, and yes, I cried as I shared the life explored in the story. Also loved the way dance was integral to the story. This is the sort of story that Aussie moviemakers should make!

Wendy K.

I met the author at the Melbourne Central store. She was interesting to talk to. This story does not disappoint! The plots are cleverly woven together so that you can't skim. The world and characters really lift off the page - it all seems so real. It has been a while since I read a novel that did this for me. The themes are complex. In a new job, I think I'd be like Cassie. I disliked the men for their early choices but came to understand their dilemma - well at least Selton and Van der Huffen's. I don't think many 'bystanders' in the workplace would make a stand at first either - we are all so preoccupied with our own work. It was interesting to see how the women became catalysts in the change process. Overall, this novel engages you, entertains, and makes you think. This is the sort of novel you want to discuss. I really loved the way dance was used in the story and the fact that it stands for something more than dance itself.

Mary F.

Set in the late 1980's in a coastal NSW town, 'In and Out of Step' is a drama about life and love that is hard to put down. The characters are engaging and believable, drawing the reader into their world and their lives. The unravelling mystery in Cassie's past and the challenges she faces in dealing with the sinister undercurrents in the workplace are important backdrops to Cassie's journey. Regular injections of wry, tender, funny, observations and experiences lighten those darker moments. 'In and Out of Step' is one of those rare books that is entertaining for adults of all ages that will no doubt leave you yearning for a sequel.

Lochie M.

A thought-provoking read with some of the issues coming a bit too close to home for my comfort. I ended up rereading this novel after my girlfriend read it. Knight has captured the complexity of real people. Most novels create an air of reality but essentially characters fall into two types: likeable or not. Knight's characters have positives and negatives (like my friends). The debate over Talbut will be like that over Macbeth's character. Knight showed that real life dilemmas are not easily resolved when heart and head are in conflict. I think this novel will be around for a long time.

Fiona S.

An unforgetable story with a vast emotional landscape. I haven't been pulled into the world of story like this for a very long time. This sort of writer of reason is why I love reading.

Sarah P.

I really enjoyed this novel. I loved the set up of characters and story. Cassie is such a great character. I wish I'd had a teacher like her. All the characters seemed so real; I loved some of the them and was with Cassie in her dislike of others. Paul Selton is a great contemporary Aboriginal character - a great role model. I don't think other stories have ever portrayed the successful Aboriginal male before in such a very real and endearing way. This is the sort of book you'll come back to read a second time.

Jill A.

'In and Out of Step' is a beautifully crafted novel. I loved it! Readers who appreciate a good backdrop will enjoy Cassie Sleights trajectories into and out of places of social intercourse, a main strength of the authors writerly skills. The story works on several levels intertwining the psycho-social, emotional and political aspects in the personal. There is an interesting nod to myth and symbol; especially with the echo of the Greek story of Cassandra; a woman cursed to be disbelieved and unheard when she speaks the truth. This is a must read for anyone interested in relationships.

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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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