Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Loraine Despres Eastlake  

Pen Name: Loraine Despres


Audience: Adult;

Born: in Chicago, Illinois

-- Website --
-- Loraine Despres on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Loraine was born in Chicago, attended high school in Highland Park and graduated from Northwestern University.

Biographical and Professional Information

Loraine Despres was born in Chicago and attended high school in Highland Park, Illinois. She graduated from Northwestern University. After college, she began to write educational radio, film, and advertising in Chicago, Paris, and New Orleans. She later moved to Los Angeles and within two years, she was writing for the television show Family. She went on to write for the television shows ''The Highlander'', ''The Equalizer'', ''Crime Story'', ''Dynasty'', ''The Waltons'', ''Love Boat'', ''CHIPS'' and ''Knots Landing''. She is probably best known for writing the "Who Shot J.R.?" episode of ''Dallas'', now a veritable icon of pop culture. After writing many movie pilots, movies of the week, feature films and soap operas, Loraine decided to write a novel. Three years later the best selling novel, ''The Scandalous Summer of Sissy LeBlanc'' was published. Loraine currently resides in Los Angeles.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

The Scandalous Summer of Sissy LeBlanc: A Novel
ISBN: 0060505885

Harper Perennial. 2002

It's a steamy June afternoon in Louisiana, circa 1956, and Sissy LeBlanc is sitting on her front porch, wondering -- half seriously -- if she could kill herself with aspirins and Coca-Cola. She's been living in stifling old Gentry since the day she was born and trapped in a sham of a marriage to PeeWee LeBlanc since she was only seventeen. In short, she's fed up, restless, and ready for an adventure.

Sissy just never imagined temptation would come into her life that breathless summer day as she sat smoking on her porch swing. For although she may have been fixated on the taut muscles of the lineman shimmying down the telephone pole across the street, she hadn't allowed herself to imagine that he'd be none other than her high school sweetheart, Parker Davidson, who left town fourteen years before without so much as a wave good-bye. But suddenly, here he is, leaning in for a kiss that will stir up more excitement than Sissy could ever have imagined...

The Southern Belle's Handbook: Sissy LeBlanc's Rules to Live By
ISBN: 0060540893

William Morrow. 2003

Learn how to navigate life with the effortless savior faire of a true daughter of the South with The Southern Belle's Handbook.

Sissy LeBlanc's rules to live by will teach you how to hook, hold on to, and handle any man as well as conquer any personal situation with the poise and confidence of a sophisticated southern stunner.

And because every woman possesses her own sassy instincts, you can also record your own rules for unstoppable fabulousness and success.

The Bad Behavior of Belle Cantrell: A Novel
ISBN: 0060515244

William Morrow. 2005

Belle Cantrell felt guilty about killing her husband and she hated that. Feeling guilty, that is. A lady shouldn't do something she's going to feel guilty about later, was a rule Belle kept firmly in mind.

So begins The Bad Behavior of Belle Cantrell, a story of murder, adultery, and regular church attendance, which introduces Belle Cantrell as a beautiful young widow with a rebellious streak, years before she will become grandmother to Sissy LeBlanc, the feisty main character of Loraine Despres's bestselling The Scandalous Summer of Sissy LeBlanc.

The year is 1920, prohibition is in full swing, women are clamoring for the vote, and a narrow-minded intolerance is on the rise. Life isn't easy for an unmarried woman, not in a little town like Gentry, Louisiana, especially after she's sent to jail for swimming in an indecent bathing costume with a group of suffragists.

It's not as if Belle doesn't know how to behave. She knows the rules. She keeps the Primer of Propriety firmly in mind. But sometimes -- most of the time -- she has to twist the rules a little, or break them, or give them a permanent kink, because they all say the same thing: "Don't."

And a girl has got to live.

After a year and a half of mourning, Belle decides to get on with her life and kicks off a season of tumult that will change her and Gentry forever.

Sexy, sassy, with laugh-out-loud humor and a cast of zany characters you won't forget, The Bad Behavior of Belle Cantrell is a big comic love story and a page-turner. But it delves deeper, as Belle struggles to find her moral center and stand up to forces that are determined to destroy the soul of a town and the people she loves.


''The Scandalous Summer of Sissy LeBlanc'' was a Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club selection and was chosen as a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers Pick. ''The Bad Behavior of Belle Cantrell'' was an official selection of the Pulpwood Queens, America's Largest Book Club with chapters across the country and across the world.

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)

, contact Katherine Herring Harper Collins-Wiliam Morrow & Company 10 East 53rd Street New York, NY 10022 212-207-7000