Leslie Hooton

A Lover of Color in a Black and White World

Available Now:

After Everyone Else

Alternating between the past and present, After Everyone Else chronicles the grip of the past, the challenges of forgiveness, and the resilient love we save for the person we love after everyone else. It encapsulates Marriage, Motherhood, and Murder.


“After Everyone Else brings us back into the life of Bailey Edgeworth, Leslie Hooton’s memorable, sparkling character from her first novel, but Hooton is such a gifted writer and natural storyteller that this story brings us new twists, new drama, new terrain, all in that witty, emotional resonant writing style. And, always, at the heart of Hooton’s writing, there is an exploration of the past, how we are made, and how family and love open up new possibilities that we never expected.” –Kevin Wilson New York Times bestselling author of Nothing to See Here and The Family Fang

“With After Everyone Else, Leslie Hooton has delivered another gem of Southern literature: funny but heartfelt, plot-driven yet profound. I can’t wait to see what she gives us next.” —Amy Greene, nationally bestselling author of Bloodroot

Marriage, Mother-Daughter Bonds….And Murder …Acclaimed author Leslie Hooton’s new novel AFTER EVERYONE ELSE packs a powerful punch. Alternating between the past and present, what begins as a mystery quickly deep dives into the intricacy of relationships. Hooton doesn’t miss a beat as she deftly explores how far we go to protect those we love — a Must-Read.  Lisa Barr, NYT best-selling author of WOMAN ON FIRE

Warm-hearted and witty, After Everyone Else grabs you from page one and takes you on a journey of mystery and celebration as it explores relationships  between mothers and daughters, brothers and sisters, husbands and wives. Leslie Hooton does it again!”   – Jane Rosen NYT bestselling author of Eliza Starts a Rumor and A Shoe Story

“Leslie Hooton’s latest novel begins as a whodunnit, but quickly delves into the intricacies of relationships. When workaholic wife and mother, Bailey, is accused of a heinous crime, her estranged daughter, Charlie, and devoted husband, Griffin, must come to terms with how they arrived in this dark place. Hooton weaves together the past with the present and the nuances of marriage and mother/daughter bonds with tremendous depth. Readers looking for a big hearted book that strikes the right emotional chord will devour this one.” – Rochelle Weinstein, USA Today Bestselling author.

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?


The Secret of Rainy Days is a coming-of-age novel that is both deeply moving and beautifully crafted. Witty and charming, The Secret of Rainy Days is a gem.“ –Patti Callahan New York Times bestselling author of Becoming of Mrs. Lewis and the upcoming Once Upon A Wardrobe

“The world that Leslie Hooton creates in The Secret of Rainy Days is both big-hearted and wise; it is a celebration of lasting love and friendship and an exploration of family ties and the many losses and secrets along the way. Hooten’s eye for memorable details and her sharp sense of humor is a delight.” ― Jill McCorkle, New York Times best-selling author of Hieroglyphics and Life after Life

“Equal parts funny and profoundThe Secret of Rainy Days will have you laughing and crying both at once. Leslie Hooton’s extraordinary second novel firmly establishes her place as a major new voice in Southern literature.” –Amy Greene, nationally bestselling author of Bloodroot

“In distinctly Southern prose, Leslie Hooton captures the complexity of family dynamics and the difficulty of sudden loss in her sweeping sophomore novel. The Secret of Rainy Days explores what it truly means to come home again, especially when we think we have left forever―and how, sometimes, it’s the most difficult days and the lessons they bring that teach us who we truly are. Fans of coming-of-age stories will find themselves immersed in every page.” ―Kristy Woodson Harvey, NYT Bestselling author of Under the Southern Sky

“Like the best Southern novels, The Secret of Rainy Days reminds us when searching for your place in the world, you may find it where you least expect it. And that sometimes to move forward, you have to go back to where you came from.” ―Colleen Oakley, USA Today bestselling author

“Leslie Hooton, her writing vibrant and alive, so wonderfully harkens back to the grand tradition of southern storytellers. She writes with that potent mixture of humor and grace, and The Secret of Rainy Days has all the makings of a book club darling, a story that you can’t help but share with someone else. This is a book suffused with a lifetime supply of “lucky dust”, that intangible quality that makes you want to be close to it.” –Kevin Wilson, New York Times bestselling author of Nothing to See Here and The Family Fang

Heartbreaking and heartwarmingThe Secret of Rainy Days examines the intricacies of small town livin’ (‘OKOP’–Our Kind of People). It is a coming-of-age tale chock full of Southern charm, love, tragedy, and unbreakable family ties. Leslie Hooton’s world brings us colorful, witty characters and intricate friendships–those we choose, and those who choose us. The Secret of Rainy Days is a reminder that you can escape your roots but never really leave. And yet…if you look hard enough–all the answers are right there under the ‘Welcome’ mat.” –Lisa Barr, award-winning author of Fugitive Colors and The Unbreakables

“Hooton utilizes vivid description, a strong sense of place, and unparalleled comparisons to paint an accurate portrait of life in the South, both complex and multilayered.” ―Shelf Unbound

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


“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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Charlotte, North Carolina