About Heather

I was born in 1953 in Te Awamutu, a small rural town in the middle of the New Zealand’s North Island. I had an older brother, then three more boys followed. My childhood was spent in the even smaller village of Pirongia, with four generations of my family living within close proximity of one another. I attended the local primary school, which at that time only had a handful of classrooms. For secondary schooling I went to Te Awamutu College.

An average student, according to my report cards, I was an athlete, a swimmer, and also played netball and tennis. I loved reading, devouring the Encyclopaedia Britannica, through which I could escape to faraway, exotic lands. I was told from a very young age that I could tell a good story – and growing up in a time when children were to be seen not heard, that was enough.

In 1971 I moved to Melbourne, Australia, where I met my husband-to-be Steve Morris. We married in 1973.

In 1975 Steve and I returned to New Zealand, living in Christchurch, on the South Island. Our first son was born in 1976, another son in 1980 and our daughter in 1985.

Waking up one morning I realised I had missed out on something – the extended education I secretly craved, which had not been on offer when I left school. I commenced a Bachelor of Arts degree at Canterbury University in 1986, before moving back to Melbourne in 1987. After a year spent settling our family into a much bigger city, I enrolled at Monash University and completed my BA in 1991, majoring in Political Science and Sociology.

In 1995 I began work in the Social Work department at Melbourne’s Monash Medical Centre, where I stayed until 2017.

In 1996 I decided to follow my passion for storytelling and enrolled in the Australian College of Journalism’s Professional Scriptwriting course. I went on to attend many screenwriting courses, seminars and workshops in both Australia and the US. My workplace provided me with a wealth of heroic storylines, several of which I adapted into screenplays that now line the bottom drawer of my desk.

And then I met Lale Sokolov on 3 December 2003. At the time of Lale’s death on 31 October 2006 I had optioned his story to a Melbourne production company, and together we were trying to move the planned feature film forward.

In 2017 I took the advice of my sister-in-law and adapted my screenplay into a novel, which was published by Echo Publishing and Bonnier Books in 2018.

In 2019 I released my second Holocaust novel, Cilka’s Journey, before publishing a non-fiction book, Stories of Hope, in 2020. This was followed in 2021 by my third Holocaust novel, Three Sisters, and in 2023 my latest novel, Sisters under the Rising Sun, set in the Japanese POW camps in Indonesia during World War II.

In May 2024 Synchronicity Films, along with Sky Originals and Peacock, will release the TV miniseries The Tattooist of Auschwitz – and the dream that Lale and I shared of seeing his story on screen will finally be realised.


Find out more about Heather’s friendship with Lale Sokolov, whose incredible life inspired The Tattooist of Auschwitz, and read more about Heather’s journey in Stories of Hope.