We Need Diverse Books Spotlight: Ronald J. Smith

Find out about author Ronald J. Smith and more teen horror recommendations!

Ronald J. Smith didn't start out as a writer, instead spending many years in advertising but he's found his niche in writing horror novels for kids and teens. His debut novel, Hoodoo, opens a new window, released in 2015, is a great choice for those looking for a scary read this October. By turns dark, creepy, and humorous, Hoodoo, set in segregated 1930s Alabama, tells the story of Hoodoo, a young African-American boy that comes from a family deeply entrenched in practicing the folk magic of the same name. When he starts dreaming of the dead rising and a dark, mysterious Stranger comes to town, Hoodoo knows he must stop him before the worst happens.

Growing up on Air Force Bases around the world, Smith drew inspiration from his parents' early lives and experiences in Alabama. Smith brings the era and place to life in rich detail and gives us a character that is genuine and appealing, all while creating a story that is atmospheric and almost immediately scary. As the weather turns colder and the days shorter, Hoodoo is the perfect choice during this month of magic and horror.

Check out this fantastic interview with Ronald J. Smith from WYPR in Baltimore, opens a new window. Learn more about Smith and his upcoming books on his website, opens a new window.

If you can't get enough horror, here are a few more bone chilling books featuring diverse authors and characters to check out:

Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older, opens a new window

Skeleton Man by Joseph Bruchac, opens a new window

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova, opens a new window

The Girl From the Well by Rin Chupeco, opens a new window

Shutter by Courtney Alameda, opens a new window

Iron Cast by Destiny Soria, opens a new window

Anna Dressed in Blood