Leslie Hooton

A Lover of Color in a Black and White World

Available Now:

Before Anyone Else

Before Anyone Else is about a young woman raised by famous men chefs she can’t cook her way out of a paper bag so it is up to her to discover her own path and find her own place in the world while also searching for her BAE. It’s about food, friendships, family, fun and a little romance

Coming September 2021:

The Secret of Rainy Days

The Secret of Rainy Days is about friendship, funeral casseroles, and lucky dust set in a small southern town, Erob. which is “Bore” spelled backwards. It is a meditation on memory and the word home. It poses the question, #WhereIsYourLuckyDust?


“Like a good tasting menu, Leslie Hooton’s Before Anyone Else is full of delicious contrast and dazzling surprises. It is also wonderfully suspenseful as we watch the fragile and intrepid Bailey make her way in the complicated world of food design… A splendid debut.” – Margot Livesey, NYT Bestselling Author of Mercury

“With Before Anyone Else, Leslie Hooton announces herself as a natural-born storyteller, a writer who can evoke character and place with such finely-tuned details that you find yourself pulled completely into a world that she has created… it is a beautiful book.” Kevin Wilson, Author of Nothing to See Here and The Family Fang

“In her debut novel, Before Anyone Else, Leslie Hooton brings southern charm and a sharp wit to the table along with a full menu and decorating tips. It’s part foodie romance, but mostly it’s about family and friendship and the love that holds people together.” Jill McCorkle, NYT Bestselling Author of Life and the Upcoming Hier

“Romantic and deeply moving, Before Anyone Else is a curl-up-on-the-couch debut novel that keeps the fire burning and the pages turning. Love, loss, addiction, betrayal, ambition, the power of friendship and family loyalty permeate this beautiful novel.” Lisa Barr, Award-Winning Author of A Fugitive Colors and The Unbreakables

“All’s fair in love and cooking in Leslie Hooton’s dazzling debut about an ambitious young restaurant designer trying to make her way in the New York culinary scene. Readers are sure to be drawn into Bailey’s life and cheer on as she discovers how to be the person she’s always wanted to be – while staying true to who she is.” Colleen Oakley, Author of You Were There Too

Before Anyone Else is the romantic debut we have been waiting for, a coming of age novel that is both deeply moving and creatively beautiful. With wit and dazzle, Leslie Hooton takes us through both a love story and also the cut throat restaurant business. With charm to spare, this novel is a powerful story with a dose of hostess gold woven in for good measure.” – Patti Callahan Henry, NYT Bestselling author of Becoming Mrs. Lewis and The Favorite Daughter 

 “Before Anyone Else is a wonder of a debut novel, a coming-of-age love story set in the fast-paced and often cut-throat Southern restaurant world, with flesh-and-blood characters that live and breathe. Bailey Ann Edgeworth is an unforgettable heroine, and Leslie Hooton is an immensely gifted writer. I can’t wait to read the next one.” – Amy Greene, national bestselling author of Bloodroot 

Meet Leslie

Author, Speaker, Recovering Attorney

Growing up in a small Alabama town, I became intrigued by people and their quirky stories. I learned everyone has interesting stories. Even me. Some people have a stroke of luck; I had a stroke at birth.

Recent Press

First Presbyterian Church, Spring 2020: Interview with Leslie Hooton
Charlotte Magazine Article
At Home with Leslie Hooton – Charlotte Mecklenburg Library

Auburn Magazine

Latest Blog Posts

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Leslie Hooton Inc.

Charlotte, North Carolina