Christine Mari-Anne Knight was born in Paddington, Sydney. Her father, Ian, was a builder while her mother, Mary, worked in retail. Christine’s paternal and maternal families came from Kilcreggan Scotland and Mullumbimby NSW respectively. Christine lived with her parents and siblings in Cabramatta, Liverpool, and then later Kiama, NSW.
Christine was educated in the New South Wales public education system. When at Macquarie University, she majored in English and History with a specialist strand in Theatre and completed a four-year Diploma of Education.
A musician, Christine supplemented her university scholarship through teaching private students and through playing keyboard and singing in a rock band. A non-classical contralto, she composed songs for the band. They also did covers of hits.
In her twenties, Christine also worked in theatre as an actor. In this period, she met and was inspired by historian and author, Edgar Penzig, and was a member of Bushranger Re-enactments for a time. ‘Edgar introduced me to Australian bush song and music. That music was infectious, great fun to sing. He often spoke lyrically about the need for stories, plays, and songs that reflected the Australian experience.’
Later as a Drama teacher, Christine directed a number of award winning productions in the years she entered competition, the most recent being the Canberra Area Theatre Awards. Christine attributes her theatrical experience to her understanding of character, dialogue, imagery, tension, and storytelling. ‘In theatre and storytelling, the momentum comes from interest in what-happens- next.’
Married to a Royal Australian Air Force officer, Christine travelled extensively with him on postings in Australia and overseas. She has taught in Australian schools in a number of states and territories. In that time, she had two precious children: a son and a daughter.
Because of overseas postings, the family lived in Montgomery, Alabama, and then San Antonio, Texas. While on those representational postings in USA, Christine presented a number of talks on a variety of Australian themes and perspectives to American clubs and community groups. The Knights travelled extensively across America during this period.
During her stay in the States, Christine made firm friendships with many Americans as well as other internationals on overseas duty in the States – 75 people from 49 countries in total. As a result, she learnt that American diplomacy involves the building of social as well as political networks in all spheres and occupations – the one enhancing the other. Her understanding of gender politics also deepened at that time because of shared experiences with other women from diverse lifestyles.
After 2000, Christine lived in Castle Hill (NSW), Katherine (NT), and Canberra (ACT) as a result of her husband’s postings. In this period, she had the opportunity to accompany her husband overseas when he participated in NATO events where she again met a diverse and enriching group of people including Lord Simon Glenarthur and the Duke of Westminster. Christine’s experiences have given her an international perspective on the issues addressed in her debut novel.
When asked why she pursued a career as a secondary teacher rather than as an actor or musician or writer, Christine said, ‘At the time, it better accommodated life as an Air Force wife and later being a mother. Air Force postings are usually two to three years; my contributions to regular income were important.’ During her teaching career, Christine held middle management positions a number of times. She said, ‘The hardest thing about being a serving member’s spouse is the constant requirement to move and pursue your career with a new employer, often returning to the first rung of the ladder.’
Christine’s interest in writing began in her teenage years and extended beyond it. In the busy years of raising children, she only had time to write poetry and short stories, many of which were published in literary magazines. The 1990s was the beginning of a creatively productive time for her. Christine wrote and refined a number of novel manuscripts while continuing to generate poetry and short stories.
When asked about her writing, Christine said her goal was to create people not characters, a real world not an imitation of it, and to move readers emotionally so they share in what the people in her novels experience. She believes it is through experiencing life that we truly gain insight into the human condition.
In response to a question about her favorite female singers, Christine said she loves the pop, rock, and country contraltos such as Mama Cass, Carol King, Annie Lennox, Toni Braxton, Natalie Mains, Amy Winehouse, and Adele to name just a few.
NOTE: The spelling system used in Australia is the British spelling system.