Leon Davidson

Photo of Leon Davidson
Leon Davidson grew up in New Zealand with Second World War comics and movies, his grandfather having served in both world wars. At age eight, Leon tried to enlist in the New Zealand Armed Forces and later spent ten years overseas, mainly in Melbourne. He has worked as a furniture-maker, a chicken-plucker, a telephone sales operator for a bank, and now juggles writing with primary teaching. Leon has written to war-themed novels for the Drum series, the multi-award-winning 'Scarecrow Army: the Anzacs at Gallipolli' and 'Red Haze: Australia and New'. He lives in Wellington.

Author's Comment: Q. How do you start work on a history book?

Leon: A lot of reading from a lot of different books: historical books, letters, interviews. It's just reading and reading, taking notes and then slowly forming my picture and then trying to re-shape it into a story. The hardest part was leaving out the interesting stuff. You just go "Whoah, that's really interesting but there's just not enough room." I put it aside to use later, but then I never do.

Q. How do you keep history interesting when you write a book like this?

I try to paint a picture. I try to personalise it and put people in there. So rather than just saying in the Vietnam book, "They went on patrols along the border", I go into a bit more detail about what the patrol was like, trying to get the person reading to know what it was like to be walking through the jungle knowing someone could be lying waiting for them.

Nationality: New Zealander

Featured series by Leon Davidson

Drum (Ages 12 and up)