“Aren’t you tired of a past littered with escapes? Think about the woman you’re becoming!” Leonie said, trying to prevent Cassie’s flight. “You could be going from the frying pan into the fire.”

The past denied and her dance championship dreams discarded, Cassie Sleight leaves home. In the seemingly idyllic coastal town of Keimera, she starts a career on the English staff of the local high school. Exposure to Mark Talbut, a man struggling to be modern yet threatened by power shifts in the workplace and in society, causes Cassie to assess her reactions as a woman and a teacher. As she does so, the secrets of her past surface.

Will that past continue to choreograph Cassie’s present steps? What sort of woman does she become?

‘In and Out of Step’ looks at how the world a person lives in shapes that person for good and for bad. The novel explores the ripple effect of experiences and the impact that the people we meet has on us and how that impact influences the authentic version of self.

‘In and Out of Step’ is a story about friendship and family, belonging, alienation, sexual harassment, and change. The title refers to the way Cassie Sleight uses dance as a way to interpret life and process her reactions to it. The title also refers to changing expectations of and attitudes to relationships in the workforce, social and personal spheres of life. The novel’s darker messages are lightened by regular injections of wry, tender, funny and illuminating humour, dialogue, and experiences.

(Click the image to view the dance video)




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