Young Adult fantasy novelist, playwright, and co-creator of “The Black Creators Collective,” LaDarrion Williams is bringing magic to the HBCU world. With the debut of his highly anticipated novel, “Blood at the Root,” Williams is excited for “Black boys to see themselves” in the pages of literature.

“Blood at the Root was initially supposed to be a television series, I wrote it as a TV pilot because I’m also a filmmaker and screenwriter,” Williams explained in an exclusive interview with People Magazine. “The idea started as a tweet I just sent out that said, ‘What if Harry Potter went to an HBCU?'”


“I thought it’d be really cool to follow this young kid not just through the regular college experience but at an HBCU where there’s magic. A lot of people on social media asked where are our magical schools and I’m like, ‘It’s right here.'”

When Williams pitched the idea to the writing community on social media, it went vial with approval. The next step was to write the pilot and pitch the project.


Unfortunately, networks thought that the idea was interesting, but not willing to take the next step to bring the idea to life.

“Networks were like, ‘That’s a cool story but we’re not really interested in it right now,’ which was really sad because I thought we had something special,” Williams told the outlet. Instead of waiting for a network to move forward, Williams turned his project into a short film, and the short was a hit; however, the complete story kept nagging Williams to be told.

“[The short film] went viral on YouTube and as time passed, the story just wouldn’t leave me alone. Someone said I should consider writing it as a book, but I wasn’t sure because, at that point, I’d fallen out of love with reading myself. It just wasn’t a space I was seeing myself represented in.”

Fast-forward and Williams’ pilot turned into a three-book deal under the Penguin RandomHouse umbrella.

“I love young adult fantasy because when I was in high school, that was the genre’s boom,” the author stated. “You saw “Twilight” get really big and “Divergent” and “Percy Jackson”. I really fell in love with fantasy stories.”

He added, “I’m hoping publishers are more open to showcasing young Black boys as main characters. Not every story is the same. There are different experiences we need to showcase. Young boys should be able to see themselves in the aisles of bookstores. They need to see that they can be vulnerable and still be the heroes of their own stories. That’s the message I’d love to get across.”

“Blood and the Root” hits shelves on May 7, 2024! Want to get your copy before the masses? Pre-order here!

To read the entirety of Williams’ interview with People Magazine, click here.


Photo: LaDarrion Williams Instagram

Tiffany Silva

Tiffany Silva

Writer and Editor

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