Her first novel, The Picnic, was published in 2007 and her second, a historical novel about a childhood friend of Mary Shelley, Unfashioned Creatures, in 2013. Her first work of non-fiction, Between the Sheets: The Literary Liaisons of Nine 20th Century Women Writers appeared in 2010.
Lesley was shortlisted for the Orange/Scotsman Short Story Award 2005, for the Scottish Book Award Non-Fiction in 2011, and has twice been the recipient of writing awards from Creative Scotland. She was Gladstone’s Library Writer-in-Residence in 2014 and is represented by Laura Williams at Peters, Fraser and Dunlop. She recently completed a third novel about Victorian ‘murderess’, Madeleine Smith. Her blog on literary matters has had almost 60,000 views.