Over 40 local authors filled the room at the Old Town Newhall Library on Saturday to showcase their latest literary works. From novelists to non-fiction writers, community members picked the brains of local writers to hear synopses of their books and purchase a copy.
Authors formed panel discussions to raise awareness of their books, to introduce themselves and to take questions from the audience.
Among the authors that filled the library was Santa Clarita native Thomas Iland, who was diagnosed with autism at the age of 13.
Iland, however, has not let his autism impair his life and has now written a book.
“I’ve come a long way to accomplish my personal and professional goals,” said Iland in an interview with the Signal. “Having a girlfriend, moving out of mom and dad’s house, getting a college degree, having a career as a Certified Public Accountant.”
About two years ago, Iland left his accounting career behind.
“I was hearing more and more stories about my peers crashing and burning because they don’t understand their diagnosis or they have difficulty loving themselves,” said Iland.
In light of this, Iland and his mother, Emily Iland, an adjunct professor in special education and past president of the Autism Society, joined forces to write “Come To Life: Your Guide to Self Discoveries”, a book that aims to help others with autism to accept themselves.
Since then the duo have been touring the country to give speeches and presentations.
When asked what he hoped to accomplish by showcasing his book that day, Iland said: “I’m hoping to publicize the book a little bit more, especially locally because I know there are so many people in [Santa Clarita] that have autism or a learning difference or maybe they haven’t been diagnosed yet, or maybe they were and they’re going out into the community but aren’t really finding out what their best life can be.”