Scene 2 Seen: LaDarrion Williams Talks ‘Blood At The Root’, The Fantasy Genre & The Publishing World

Hello, and welcome to the Scene 2 Seen Podcast!

I am Valerie Complex, an associate editor and film writer at Deadline. Well, the good news is this is the second episode of a special two-part episode series taking place this month. Don’t worry, though! The show will be back for its third season officially on Fridays soon!

Today, I’m chatting with writer and author Ladarrion Williams. His debut novel, YA, magical fantasy Blood At The Root, dropped in bookstores on May 7.  The story follows a teenager on the run from his past who finds the family he never knew existed and the community he never knew he needed at an HBCU for the young, Black, and magical. This fresh fantasy debut is unlike anything you’ve seen before.

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As an avid reader, LaDarrion noticed that Black boys are basically non-existent in the YA fantasy section. He hopes this book and series helps change that, adding much needed diversity to both the genre and your local bookstores. His goal is to cultivate a new era of Black fantasy, providing space and agency for Black characters and stories in a new, fresh, and fantastical way.

He is currently a resident playwright creator of the black creators collective is currently a resident playwright/co-creator of The Black Creators Collective, where his play UMOJA made its West Coast premiere in January 2022, and produced North Hollywood’s first Black playwrights festival at the Waco Theater Center. His viral and award-winning short film based on the same concept, is currently on YouTube and Amazon Prime.

More about Blood At The Root:
Ten years ago, Malik’s life changed forever the night his mother mysteriously vanished and he discovered he had uncontrollable powers. Since then, he has kept his abilities hidden, looking out for himself and his younger foster brother, Taye. Now, at 17, Malik is finally ready to start a new life for both of them, far from the trauma of his past. However, a daring act to rescue Taye reveals an unexpected connection with his long-lost grandmother: a legendary conjurer with ties to a hidden magical university that Malik’s mother attended.

In a wholly unique saga of family, history and community, Malik must embrace his legacy to save what’s left of his old family as well as his new one. Exploring the roots and secrets that connect us in an unforgettable contemporary setting, this heart-pounding fantasy series opener is a rich tapestry of atmosphere, intrigue, and emotion.

In this episode, LaDarrion and I discuss Blood At The Root, fantasy in books, film, and television, and the ups and downs of the publishing world.

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