Monday, 9 May 2011

Secret Writers - Writing Under A Pseudonym! By Author Leslie Davis Guccione


During the halcyon days of romance novels I lived parallel lives, also writing YA and mid-grade fiction. I wrote my first 4 under my maiden name LESLIE DAVIS. I also wrote for existing YA lines (Sunset High and Cheerleaders) "Created by" XXXXXX on the cover with my name in very small print on the title page.

Once I was up and running, I wanted to keep adult and kid-lit separate, so I wrote for kids under my maiden name LESLIE DAVIS and for adults as my married/legal name: LESLIE DAVIS GUCCIONE. I then discovered there was no cross-referencing in bookstore computers so I wound up constantly explaining which name/which title. Hated it.

Within a few years, I landed multiple contracts with Scholastic & my editor Ann Reit agreed it was complicated plus she thought DAVIS too common. GUCCIONE fit on the shelves better (also within close proximity to best selling G authors) but she pointed out that including DAVIS made the name too long thus smaller font on the cover. So for Scholastic I became LESLIE D. GUCCIONE.

Harlequin Silhouette gave my name two lines on the cover so I remained LESLIE DAVIS GUCCIONE. About this time--when many romance writers used pseudonyms--I learned that, if it's not your legal name, the publishing houses could own them. This was somewhat understandable since they invested in the writer as product and were not happy to have the name jump to another house.

Ann Reit came to me with the idea of a 6 book series featuring a deaf teen detective and HEAR NO EVIL was born. Scholastic wanted them asap so we agreed a pseudonym was the way to go in case I could not write them all. I chose LISA CHRISTOPHER (homage to my then engaged stepson and his fiancee) but Ann forgot and thought up KATE CHESTER without consultation. (In other words, I didn't choose my pen name). As it turned out I penned #1-4 and #6. Another author was brought in for #5 as I was also under contract to Silhouette and busy with a romance. My legal name appears on the copyright pages but to this day, again, it's frustrating that even with the internet, there is little smooth cross referencing.

So there's my story.
All best,

Leslie D,
Leslie Davis,
Leslie Davis Guccione


With the simultaneous sales of a YA and adult romantic suspense novel, Leslie Davis Guccione left public relations and fundraising copywriting to concentrate on fiction. Over 25 years she’s published 28 novels for adult, middle grade and teen readers, garnering awards, starred reviews and genre fiction best seller status. Her work has been translated into eight languages. As Kate Chester she created and wrote the six book Hear No Evil series, featuring deaf protagonists, for Scholastic, including Tell Me How the Wind Sounds, which was optioned for television. Leslie is adjunct faculty for Seton Hill University’s MFA program. Her essay, "Where Do I Go from Here? Being Orphaned" appears in Many Genres, One Craft, edited by Michael A. Arnzen and Heidi Ruby Miller. Professional memberships have included The Authors Guild, Romance Writers of America and The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.


Many Genres blog -

Many Genres, One Craft -

Tell Me How the Wind Sounds -


  1. What a journey and under so many names, Leslie. You're like a spy!

    Thanks again, Calum.


  2. Love this. A peek into the biz...

  3. I love the Hear No Evil books! I'm currently working on the 4th. I wish there were more! I'm a Sign Language interpreter and am always excited to read books that give an accurate portrayal of deafness and Sign Language.

    Thank you for writing them!


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