Tag Archives: leslie h whitten

Avon Horror

Avon Publications started in 1941 by publishing comics and digest magazines, and was one of the first American companies to publish paperback books following the success of Pocket Books, the inventors of the pocket-sized mass market paperback. Avon’s early digest magazines are now highly collectible; Avon Fantasy Reader (1946-52) was edited by Donald A. Wollheim featuring lurid covers and stories by many now famous pulp authors who, at the time, were not well known.

Avon was an influential publisher of romance and horror in the late 1960s and 1970s. The 1972 novel The Flame and the Flower by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss was “the first full-length romance novel to be published first in paperback rather than hardback” according to Wikipedia. The Flame and the Flower is cited by romance scholar Janice Radway as a landmark work responsible for the explosion of historical romance novels in a similar vein; it sold over two million copies and set the stage for Avon’s later romance titles to hit the bestseller lists.

For a period of time from the mid-1970s through the early 1980s, Avon had a strong showing in the horror field with solid entries like The Auctioneer by Joan Samson and The Godsend by Bernard Taylor. Avon’s paperback originals launched the careers of some well-known horror and thriller authors including Robert McCammon, Michael McDowell, and William Hallahan. All Avon horror novels I have read that were published during this period range from good to excellent.

Avon now focuses primarily on publishing romance titles. They were acquired by the New York publishing conglomerate HarperCollins in 2010.

These cover scans are from the library of Christopher Fulbright. Please note that Realms of Night has an eBay page with occasional horror auctions. Follow our page and save us as a favorite seller for updates.

Avon Titles Spotted in the Wild

Leslie H. Whitten

Leslie H. Whitten is an American author and journalist. Born in Jacksonville, Florida, Whitten spent most of his life in the northeastern United States, where he attended Lehigh University for a while before taking off to Paris and then Mexico, and then back to Paris. He met his lifelong wife, Phyllis in Paris where they were married in 1951. They spent most of the 1950s in Europe, where Whitten got his start in journalism. The couple eventually moved back to Maryland, and Whitten worked as an investigative reporter for the Washington Post.

Whitten is the author of eleven novels and a few non-fiction titles. He started his fiction career as an author of Gothic horror with his 1965 novel Progeny of the Adder. He followed up two years later with Moon of the Wolf.  These books were originally published by Doubleday and later released in paperback editions by Ace. Moon of the Wolf was adapted into a made-for-TV movie of the same name; it aired in 1972 as an ABC Movie of the Week. Whitten’s fourth novel was an occult thriller, The Alchemist, which sold to Charterhouse in 1973 and was subsequently released in paperback by Avon. They followed up with paperback reprints of his first two novels. His only other horror novel, The Fangs of Morning, was published by Leisure Books in 1994 in a 2-for-1 omnibus edition with a reprint of The Alchemist (which was also reprinted by Zebra Books in 1986).

Whitten currently resides in an assisted living center in Adelphi, Maryland. I’m sorry to report that Phyllis, his wife of 65 years, passed away earlier this year. They had three sons and five grandchildren. Mr. Whitten is 89 years old.

To browse the list of his titles currently available in print and eBook editions, click here.

These cover scans are from the library of author Christopher Fulbright.