John Fitzpatrick writes . . .
I grew up at North Narrabeen, on the northern beaches of Sydney , New South Wales , with my three brothers, Jim, Bob and Laurie. I spent daylight hours by the sea and lake, and playing soccer. Lots of soccer. I went to school fairly often. Most evenings were spent reading and writing.
I've spent many years living in Cairns in far north Queensland . I live here near some of my wonderful extended and blended family members (Ben and Matthew and Siobhan and Thomas and Jordan).
Why did I write Song of the Casskins ? I wanted to write a story in which the things that make my children so remarkable to me—their capacity for love, their strength, humour and sense of wonder—could be written down and kept fresh and new. These children became the Casskins— a wild kind of cassowary—highly intelligent and very dangerous creatures.
As I learned more about cassowaries, I really became enchanted by how ancient, wonderful and truly essential they are to the rainforest. They were here when all this was just a small part of Gondwanaland. They are our link to the beginning of many millions of wonderful years . . . They gave the world these rainforests, and they need our help now.
‘My current plans are to write and collaborate on a school text for children in both English and Mandarin Chinese. I will be based in Asia from September 2007 onwards.