The first 30 page treatment, of TRUE LIGHT was entitled Station of the Ages and read like a movie script without the dialog. My protagonist, Jonas Goodwill, is a young sympathetic character in his mid-teens with no recollection of his identity as the result of a deadly ambush aboard a space station. I used his traumatic amnesia as a vehicle for both Jonas and reader to become acquainted with the universe of the Lightriders and the C'Hamarande Protectorate. I shaped Jonas to be more adventurous than Luke, more astute and magical than Harry, yet more spiritually aware and introspective than your average protagonist, and certainly in a universe of trouble from the first page!
As my magical universe and epic mission crystallized -- and I had a zillion notes and sketches -- I felt confident enough to preserve the journey of my young hero in the novel True Light.
The story really came alive when my characters made some unexpected moves. Yeah, I know you've heard that before. I had a synopsis and knew how it would end, but my characters kept moving in unscripted directions. Though I kept them on a short leash, thanks to the good words of Tim Powers, it was fascinating to follow Jonas, Ulua, Magellan, Truka Drambu and others to new worlds and exciting adventures. All I had to do was document the journey with laptop, paper and pen. The emotional trauma that Ulua Rektrek, my Neo Mauritian archeologist/warrior, endured was a result of a character breaking out on his own.
I had created a large and detailed landscape of worlds, solar systems and constellations for my novels. My characters took advantage of this generosity and traveled everywhere. It became difficult to keep track of them, so I transformed a large whiteboard on one wall of my studio as a giant star chart. I developed a "bible" of characters, civilizations, worlds and plots that consumed my laptop. Some of the backstory and star maps you will find elsewhere on this web site. (they get updated often).
I finished the first draft of Nexus of Swords (Book Two of the Lightrider's Saga) in the fall of 2005. Originally entitled "Magnon the Inquisitor" the synopsis was written simultaneously with the first outline for True Light in early 2002. I did a major restructuring in the winter of 2003 to make the bridge between Book One and Two seamless. And it forced me to go back into True Light one more time to foreshadow a few things, such as the Order of the Sheltered Sun -- or Son depending on how you interpret the ending.
While each novel is an independent story, they became intertwined on a number of levels. Nexus of Swords continues to chronicle Jonas' inevitable journey, and the epic threat to the universe of the United Sentient Beings. However, as Jonas began to understand his role as the True Light, Nexus of Swords developed a deeper, more spiritual layer. In other words, if True Light was "who am I", Nexus became "why am I?" There are also a number of plot twists in Nexus that will make True Light even more interesting to the reader in retrospect.
The Fires of Vulpecula (Bk3) and the Stewart of K-Ylix Prime (Bk4) may get combined into one larger work as The Empire of Light to complete the initial Saga. I'm a while away from that decision. These works will explore the answers further to Jonas' first two questions, as well as answer, "what I'm going to do with who I am!"
The Lightriders has been percolating in my head for a long time. I've been an avid fan of Science Fiction and Fantasy since I can remember. When I was a kid, I build my first rocket ship in my basement out of cardboard boxes and used a slide projector for the view screen. I first started reading Tom Swift in the '60's and quickly graduated to Ace double-sided novels — I couldn't get enough; then on to Bradbury, Heinlein, Brunner, Asimov, Varly, Boroughs, and countless others. Like every kid, I imagined my own worlds of wonder (with respects to David Gerrold), but in my music days, did not consider writing it myself.
My first published words was for my high school newspaper. It was a popular column and got me a Star Reporter award from the National Scholastic Press Association, although my writings did land me in the principal's office. I found it safer to dream of dragons and spaceships and play in the school band than editorialize on school issues.
Over the next few decades, I became nationally recognized in the music business, writer, songwriter (my dad was a famous songwriter/lyricist), musician, digital designer and consultant — really! And after twenty years in the corporate world, I started my own company. Free at Last! Or so I thought. My strategic design firm worked on numerous national assignments and as a design partner for Mattel on packaging projects such as Demolition Man, and Computer Warriors, and more — don't get me started about my role as The Disney Rainbow Man! It all brought me financial success and a measure of recognition, but not real happiness. (Well, with the exception of my wife, Lillian, an artist and published writer in her own right.)
As the millennium loomed, I grew tired of corporate work, and wanted to do something truly creative of my own. In truth, my clients were wearing me out. It wasn't the money — I've been paid as much as ten thousand dollars for three words. If we ever meet, ask me, and I'll tell you the story. It's slightly longer, but not much.
Like an addict, I often scrambled from one Sci-Fi convention to the next. Writer's panels are my drug of choice. The writing encouragement of David Morrell, David Gerrold, Mike Resnick, Steven King, Tim Powers, Donald Mass, Stanley Schmidt, Orson Scott Card, Ben Bova, and others, inspired me to take my writing to a new level. My first speculative fiction/fantasy novel took almost two years to complete and I hope you enjoy the ride as much as I have.
There's a number of additional stories lurking on my laptop and soon to be on publisher's desks. I also have begun a loosely related series of prequels to the Lightriders. They each have their own life, and I'll keep you updated as each is given birth.
The Lightrider Saga and The Legend of the Lightriders will total nine or ten novels. I invite you to join me as I explore new worlds of wonder. I'll do my best to make the journey worthwhile and memorable.
Otherwise, you'll find me snorkeling in Hawaii.
T.N.Todaro PO Box 2267, Redondo Beach, CA 90278 • (310) 621-3530 • E-mail