Australian author Di Morrissey reveals the inspiration behind his latest novel The Night Tide
Pittwater, on Sydney’s northern peninsula, might very well be the prettiest place to call home.
This is where author Di Morrissey spent his childhood and is the inspiration and setting for his latest novel, The night tide.
“I was about four when my mum left the countryside and probably the biggest memory is that big house up there. It’s Dorothea Mackella’s house, Tarrangaua,” Morrissey said. A topical matter.
READ MORE: Tracy Grimshaw leaves A Current Affair
With her daughter Gabrielle by her side, Morrissey returned home for the first time in decades.
“She came out and she caught me looking around the house and she said, ‘What do you think you’re doing? ‘” Morrissey recalled of his childhood neighbor, Mackellar.
“And I said quite cleverly, ‘I’m looking for fairies’ and she said, ‘How terribly splendid, I’ll help you look’.
READ MORE: Australian tenants claim they are being evicted over tenancy complaints
“She said, ‘Do you like to read’? and I said, ‘I don’t have a lot of books, so I’m making my own’ and she said, ‘When you grow up, you have to write your stories in books for other people to read”. I thought ‘what a great idea’.”
After a short trip aboard the historic Elvina, the same ferry Morrissey once rode to school, we arrived in Lovett Bay.
The caretaker Gerty was there to greet us and give us a much needed boost on the steep dirt road to Tarrangaua.
READ MORE: ‘If they show up, run’: Disgruntled customers call expensive plumbing bills
A secluded sandstone retreat among the gum trees is the home of Morrissey’s famous poet and childhood neighbor Mackellar.
“You couldn’t ‘decorate a movie’, you couldn’t create a place like this, that’s why I wanted to use this setting in the book,” Morrissey said looking at the view.
“I can imagine now how natural it would have been to develop all the imagination you have,” Gabrielle said.
The night tide is Morrissey’s 29th book.
His first was dream heart in 1991 and she barely missed a year without publishing a novel.
But there is something special, even nostalgic, about his latest book.
“People who lived here – Chips Rafferty’s house was right there – Chips was like my godfather, Dorothea Mackellar lived here, George English the songwriter was there,” Morrissey said.
“So I thought everyone was doing things like that.
“You need trees and you need places where you can sit and be still and quiet and imagine things. There are too few of them.”
The book focuses on a family mystery and tragedy, which Morrissey unfortunately encountered on her own.
“My dad and little brother drowned off the island of Scotland. He had a little water taxi service. Michael fell overboard and my dad jumped after him in his winter clothes “said Morrissey.
“I’ve never been to the funeral, I’ve never had a closing. So having my daughter here with me today is a bit like closing a book and opening a other.”
With a story as much about family as it is about location, it’s only fitting that Gabrielle returned from the United States to be closer to her mother.
She calls it a benefit of COVID-19.
“Happy doesn’t even cover it, it’s like home, it’s good raising my kids here,” Gabrielle said.
The night tide hits shelves on Tuesday, September 13, 2022.
In images, in pictures
Comforting results for those in dire straits
Aussie battlers contacted A Current Affair over everything from unfair bills to battles with bureaucracy in a last-ditch effort to get a fair trial and emerged victorious.
See the gallery