Di Morrissey, author of The Plantation, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

by |November 4, 2010

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Di Morrissey

author of The Plantation, Tears of the Moon, The Bay and many more…

Ten Terrifying Questions


1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

Born in the Manning Valley, NSW. Raised in Pittwater in Sydney. Schooled in Sydney.

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

A writer. A writer.  A writer. It’s all I ever wanted to do.

3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?


4. What were three works of art – book, painting, piece of music, etc – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced your own development as a writer?

The witty words and wild art of Norman Lindsay, Indigenous art before it became trendy and the art of my uncle Ron Revitt. I always love Carmina Burana (Carl Orff)(BBGuru: I love beer ads, too!) because I danced to it in Martha Graham’s dance classes.

5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel?

I’m a storyteller, so it’s what comes naturally.

6. Please tell us about your latest novel…

THE PLANTATION is set in modern Malaysia and colonial Malaya and is the story of an Australian girl tracing the stories of her grandmother and great Aunt who lived on a rubber plantation and how their lives were changed dramatically by events unknown to the family until now . . .

(BBGuru: More from the publisher – When Australian Julie Reagan discovers a book written about wild Malaysia in the 1970s, she decides to find out more about the author – her great aunt. Why did her grandmother refuse to speak about her sister who disappeared from the family, 60 years before? What caused such a severe rift?

Julie is invited to stay with her cousins who run the plantation founded by her great grandfather in Malaya a hundred years ago, and she decides to visit in the hope of finding clues to this family mystery. What Julie finds sends her spiralling through generations of loves, deaths, tragedy and the challenges of the present until she discovers her grandmother’s shocking secret. Click here to order your copy)

7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?

That they feel they’ve been to the places I describe in my novels and that they identify with the characters.

8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?

Tim Winton for his integrity, Tom Keneally for his friendship, the late Morris West for his guidance

9. Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?

To write another 20 bestselling books!

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Hang in there, it’s a lot harder than you think!

Di, thank you for playing.

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About the Contributor

While still in his twenties, John Purcell opened a second-hand bookshop in Mosman, Sydney, in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Since then he has written, under a pseudonym, a series of very successful novels, interviewed hundreds of writers about their work, appeared at writers’ festivals, on TV (most bizarrely in comedian Luke McGregor’s documentary Luke Warm Sex) and has been featured in prominent newspapers and magazines. ​Now, as the Director of Books at booktopia.com.au, Australia’s largest online bookseller, he supports Australian writing in all its forms. He lives in Sydney with his wife, two children, three dogs, five cats, unnumbered gold fish and his overlarge book collection. His novel, The Girl on the Page, will be published by HarperCollins Australia in October, 2018.

Follow John: Twitter Website


    • Sheena Wheeler

      December 30, 2012 at 12:18 am

      Di, I have just finished The Plantation, so well researched, I was born early 1940 in Singapore but home was on a rubber plantation in the State of Johore..there were so many similar happenings in our family story…I could not put the bbok down. Congratulations. We ended up in Telok Anson in the 1950s. I will now read your other books. Thank you.Kind regards

  • pam parker

    April 25, 2011 at 10:10 am

    Di Morrissey should check her facts before writing her books. Orangutans do not have tails they are apes not monkeys.
    A pity as it makes you wonder about the authenticity of other facts in her stories.

    • Cherita

      January 30, 2012 at 3:54 am

      I still love reading her books. Nobody is perfect! Cherita Morrison. South Africa.

  • Debra

    August 23, 2011 at 11:05 am

    I am reading my first Di Morrissey book “Monsoon” and at page 219 I have to ask “Is this story going anywhere?”

    • suzanne

      March 11, 2014 at 6:08 pm

      it will

  • Fay Perrett

    September 19, 2011 at 9:46 am

    I have just read “The Islands” and had to race up to the library to get another Di Morrissey book….The Plantation. If I enjoy it as much as the other, I’ll be looking for another.

  • Helen Sommer

    September 30, 2012 at 8:50 am

    I myself did not read any books of Di yet , but My Sister in Germany is all fire for it , she cant stop reading, she has to go on ,
    thank you for giving old people a little adventure if they cant be there themself, with 79 you need a little thrill in your life , it makes life worth living again

  • suzanne

    March 11, 2014 at 6:07 pm

    i am reading my 12th di morrissey book and i am such a fan..just love her books

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