/ FOR THE REGISTER
Grady Brown, 23, has always enjoyed telling stories.
Since childhood, the Tustin resident has chronicled tales for family, friends and his own personal enjoyment.
Brown, who is autistic, is now addressing a larger audience with the recent release of his second book, "The Young Guardians and the Great Darkness."
The book – intended for those 13 and older – follows the lives of four Orange County high school students.
The teens have difficulty fitting in, as they are social outcasts and regular targets of the school bully, Brick Baxter.
The four characters transform one night, however, when they are exposed to a form of mystic radiation called the Genesis Spell, and their inner-spiritual powers are awakened.
The young guardians, as Brown has labeled the superheroes, encounter the same malicious being from the author's first book, and according to Brown, the villain is "back with a vengeance."
The superheroes must overcome the depraved if they wish to keep Southern California and the rest of the world safe.
Brown said that though his book centers on supernatural powers, he thinks young readers will find it relatable.
"Since the young guardians originated as unassuming teenagers that served as social outcasts, I think people can really connect with that," Brown said. "[It] reminds them of when they were alone, but in the end having the means to make the greatest difference in the world."
Brown, who has been diagnosed with autism and has a photographic memory, has been writing stories since the sixth grade.
He became interested in publishing his stories in an effort to reach a bigger audience.
Brown's first book, "The Young Guardians and the Genesis Spell," was published in 2009.
With help from author and retired English professor, Dr. Sherry L. Meinberg, Brown wrote and edited his second book within three years.
Brown, who works at the Tustin Public Library, saved his paychecks for one year to finance the self-publishing of his work.
He is now working on the third book in his series, which he said should be available for release in three years.
Brown's mother, Martha, said that through his storytelling, her son hopes to leave his mark in the world that he struggled to fit in, in his earlier years.
"He's been very focused on this and he's wanted to leave his mark in the world, and he felt that with publishing his books he will have left his mark," Martha Brown said.
"And I think his autism helps him in visualizing the story and with getting it written and with his perseverance to stick to it and making sure it got published. He contacted many traditional publishers and just started investigating this other way of self-publishing."
Brown lives on his own, and attends school at Santiago Canyon College.
He is nearing his college graduation date and is hoping to transfer soon to a four-year university in hopes of obtaining his certificate in library science.
"I want to continue my career as an author and maybe balance it out as a librarian," Brown said about his future ambitions.
Martha Brown said that storytelling and books was destined to be part of her son's life.
"It's just in him," Martha said. "He just has these stories that he needs to tell."
Libby Kayl, director of Tustin Community Preschool, has known Brown since he was a 3-year-old student at her site.
Kayl said though Brown has had his struggles, the 6-foot-3-inch young adult has conquered much and will continue to do so.
"He's had quite the journey," Kayl said. "He's spunky and unusual. He's brilliant and can speak on any subject. And he's done something with his life and will do lots more."
Copies of "The Young Guardians and the Great Darkness" are available through the Barnes & Noble and Amazon websites.