I met Grady at a local Independent Writers of Southern California meeting. He read an passage of his superhero novel, complete with accents, that had the entire group rolling in stitches. Naturally, I needed to invite this intrepid young man onto the blog. I hope you enjoy his unusual story here on No Wasted Ink.
My name is Grady P. Brown. I am a 24-year-old writer with high functioning autism that lives in Tustin, CA. I have been writing all of my life and I am self-taught. I graduated from Arnold O. Beckman High School in Tustin, CA in 2008. I am currently attending Santa Ana City College/ Santiago Canyon College working towards my Associates of Arts Degree in Library Technology. I then plan on transferring to Concordia University to get my Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing.
I am a published author of two science fiction/superhero books titled, The Young Guardians and the Genesis Spell and The Young Guardians and the Great Darkness. I am a longtime science fiction devotee that envisions a world very different from our own. In my writing I create a place where young men and women are empowered superheroes responsible for changing the course of history. I am currently working on the third book. I plan on several more books in this series.
When and why did you begin writing?
For as long as I can remember, I have always had stories to tell and I was eager to find a way for these stories to be heard. When I was young, my parents would supply me with whole truck loads of yellow tablets, which I used to draw stories. When I was in sixth grade, I started to tell stories in words instead of pictures.
When I write, my autism allows me to visually see the story taking place inside my head as though it were a movie. Then I would write down exactly what is happening in the movie as I imagine it. Also, it gives me a strong memory and allows my brain to store and record vast amounts of information as though it were a computer hard drive.
In a way, writing has become a form of meditation and therapy for me. When I write, I am able to channel the emotions I feel about certain topics into words when a character faces a certain situation or when I create a new character. For example, when I created the villain of my first book, I based him on all of the bullies who harassed me when I was young. When the main characters fight him, it was a way for me to express all of the emotions I developed when I was dealing with those individuals.
Can you share a little about your current book with us?
The first volume of my five-part series, The Young Guardians and the Genesis Spell, is the story about a group of high school misfits who were exposed to a form of mystical energy called The Genesis Spell, which grants them superhuman abilities. After realizing the potential consequences of mis-using their new found powers, they decide to use their gifts to become real-life superheroes: The Young Guardians. However, as they begin their crusade against evil, a mechanical menace lurks in the shadows and seeks vengeance against the Young Guardians. Now the fate of an entire city rests in their hands as they face their true test.
What inspired you to write this book?
Ever since my best friends and I were in elementary school, we always imagined what it would be like to have our own powers and form our own superhero team. When I decided to become a writer, I wanted to make that dream a reality in the form of a book series. So, I interviewed each of my friends on what powers they would want to have and I manifested that into the story.
Do you have a specific writing style?
My writing style is largely self-taught. It was made through the use of my autism, which as I said before enables me to see the story in my head like a movie. I would then describe the movie that is taking place in my head. I also listen to epic music when I write because that style of music really ignites my imagination. Whenever I hear that kind of music, ideas flow from my mind like a river. In addition, I allows me to envision the battle scenes of my books in much greater detail.
How did you come up with the title of this book?
When I came up with the title of the book, I created based on the origins and features of the main characters. Since they were just teenagers, they are in the prime of their youth and they were using their powers to protect others like guardians. As for The Genesis Spell, genesis means the beginning of something. In this book’s case, I used the word Genesis to symbolize the end of the main characters’ old lives as mere mortals and the beginning of their new lives as superheroes.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I would want my readers to know that they should use what makes them unique to make a difference, just as I am using my autism to create these books.
What author has had the most influence over you as a writer?
The writer who had the biggest impact on my life would be my mentor, Dr. Sherry L. Meinberg. She took me under her wing and helped me refine my self-taught writing style, as well as edited my first two books.
If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor? Why?
The author that was most inspiring for my would be Christopher Paolini, author of the Inheritance Cycle. The reason for this is because when he published his first book, Eragon, he was relatively young. The fact that he published books at such a young age had a profound impact on me. I sought to do the same with my books, publish them while I was still young.
Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?
The person who did the cover art for my first book is an anonymous illustrator I was assigned by my publisher during the publishing process. Whoever they are, I wish to thank them for helping me make my project possible.
I understand that you’ve been interviewed on radio about your book. Could you tell us a little more about your experience?
I was a guest on Autism Live’s webcast, Let’s Talk Autism With Shannon And Nancy where I talked about both my condition and my books. After the webcast, Autism Live says that they may have other plans for me and I may receive new opportunities to speak.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
There is one piece of advice I would say to other writers with autism. If you have a story to tell, whether if it is in the form of images or emotions, do not let what people say about you inhibit your capabilities. Do not see your autism as a weakness, but embrace the benefits you can gain from it.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
To my readers, I say the following: Thank you all for your support! I hope you enjoy my series and I bid you welcome to my world!