On Writing: Song Bird
‘Song Bird’ is the third novel in the Keimera series and a sequel to ‘Life Song’, but the story stands independently and on its own merit. When read within the context of the series, the reader’s knowledge of the characters in that world is enriched. The reader grows with the characters over the course of the three novels. As I am an Australian author, I use the British spelling system.
To date, I have used a different central motif in each novel to organise the story. I use a motif to weave together the thematic complexities of characterisation and plot. The motif is the palette used to shape my characters and the world that they inhabit, to comment on characters, and to point to the story’s underlying meaning.
Some of the key elements of the motif are the golden road, red shoes, the land of glitter and gloss, the colour green, and the Holy Grail pursued by the protagonist and other key characters. A few of these elements are incorporated into the book’s cover design and into marketing imagery used to launch and promote the novel.
The title ‘Song Bird’ meant that this story focused on Nikki Mills (aka Mavis Mills) and her journey now that she has achieved fame and fortune. The novel’s subtitle is ‘Matters of the Heart’, a key focus in the plot and subplots. The subplots were constrained by their relevance to Nikki’s journey in this stage of her life. I developed them in broad impressionistic strokes. They support and expand upon the major plot and its insights. I also use subplots to change the pace of the storytelling and to shift tone and mood. I’m told the story is fast paced.
In contrast, my other novels focused a lot more on the world and issues in which the protagonist and other characters lived. I developed the subplots in those stories in greater depth as they provided insight into the respective worlds and allowed me to explore the themes from differing perspectives.
The complexity of each novel stems from the paralleling and contrasting of lives, relationships, and the ripple effect that people’s actions have on one another in a community. My novels are character driven stories anchored in the physical and social settings of the times. I use point of view shifts from inner thought to dialogue to the situational arena to explore themes and examine them from several standpoints. I’m intrigued by and interested in the notion of reality versus perception, myth versus real-life, the discoveries that characters make about life, the connections and discordances between people, and the complexities of love.
As part of the writing process for ‘Song Bird’, I composed lyrics and music that helped me focus on character relationships and the central theme. ‘Road to True North’ and ‘The Flame’ are two songs that evolved from that process. They were ultimately engineered and produced at Karma Sound Studios in Thailand and are on sale through CD Baby and iTunes. Dagny (London) provided the vocals for ‘Road to True North’. Thanapat Yartcharoen (short name: Film) provided the male vocals in ‘The Flame’ and Jirana Williamson (short name: Funnie) provided the female vocals in that song.
My publisher also commissioned a song through crowdsourcing for ‘Song Bird’. ‘The Golden Road’ by Justine Cam12illeri and Chris Gale was chosen from a highly competitive field of entries. The lyrics were the outcome of a number of discussions between Justine Camilleri and me about the imagery that I used in ‘Song Bird’ and the plot’s concerns. It is one of two songs used in the book video trailer. The other song is ‘Road to True North’. My song is engineered and produced by Shane Edwards, who also provided all of the instrumental work.
Dagny is a Norwegian singer songwriter who has blossomed from a musical background in Tromsø in the very north of Norway. Interestingly, her promotional brand is song bird of the north. In many ways her music reflects her personality ‐ a folk/pop sound infused with eternal optimism. Dagny is no stranger to big crowds ¬‐ she opened for Sir Elton John, playing to a crowd of over 10,000 people in March 2012. Later that same year she was the exclusive support for Sting at the Impact Arena in Bangkok and in June of 2014 she opened for Bryan Adams at Clam Castle in Austria receiving an amazing reaction from a crowd of over 9,000. In late 2013, Dagny moved to the UK where she has become a firm favourite on the indie folk/pop scene.She is on Facebook.
Justine Camilleri is an Australian born singer/songwriter with a passion for coffee and comfortable shoes. Starting her career in the mid ‘90’s as a singer with MO Award nominees, Sisters Incorporated, Justine was taken under the guiding wings of her mother, Billie Wilde, and the late Sharyn Crystal. Performing regularly on television (Midday with Kerrie-Anne and John Mangos), P & O Cruises, corporate sector events and clubs throughout N.S.W gave Justine the opportunity to grow and develop her own stage presence. A meeting with multi award winner Allan Caswell, best known for ‘On the Inside’ (the theme song for the Australian television series ‘Prisoner’), solidified Justine’s desire to not only write songs but to write them from the heart. In 2009, she formed a rewarding song writing partnership with Melbourne musician Chris Gale. The rocky ‘Golden Road’, a purpose written song for Christine M Knight’s third novel ‘Song Bird’ was given its punch with the help of her brother and drummer, Jason Bryant, and guitarist, Warren O’Neill. She is on Facebook.
Thanapat Yartcharoen (short name: Film) is one of the male singers (the tenor) in the Thai Pop Opera group, Fivera. Fivera can be located on YouTube. Fivera also has a Facebook page. Jirana Williamson (short name: Funnie) is one of the singers in the Thai all girl pop group Karmiix. They don’t have any videos as yet but can be located on Facebook.
The ARIA AWARDS are the Australian Recording Industry Association Music Awards.
ANZAC is an acronym formed from the initial letters of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. ANZAC spirit refers to the ANZAC legend dating from World War 1. For more information visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anzac_spirit
arvo is Australian slang for afternoon.
Carry on like a pork chop means that ‘someone is behaving in a silly or stupid way. This expression is a shorter version of the longer and more widespread phrase be like a pork chop in a synagogue. This colloquialism has been around since the 1950s. Since pork is forbidden food for Jewish people, to describe something as being like a pork chop in a synagogue means that it is highly inappropriate, embarrassingly out of place, and quite unwelcome. The Australian expression carry on like a pork chop has now shifted the focus from inappropriateness to foolishness’. For more information see http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Pork+Chop
Bump in and out refers to the process of moving a band’s equipment in and off stage and in and out of the performance venue.