Ever since Tony read his first H.G. Wells and Edgar Rice Boroughs novels, and was captivated by movies such as Forbidden Planet and the works of Ray Harryhausen, he has had a thirst for the compelling stories, rich characters and worlds of wonder found in science fiction and epic fantasy.
An “Italian from Pennsylvania who was fortunate enough to grow up in the Islands,” he began writing for the high school and college news papers. He attended at the University of Hawaii to become a music educator, but found he preferred selling instruments rather than teaching them and went to work for a music store. His career matured when he move to California in 1975 and worked with the Guitar Center chain for over a decade. In 1986 he began to work independently, doing branding, marketing and packaging for companies such as Mattel Toys, Proctor & Gamble, and was recruited by Benchmark / Interbrand, one of the world's largest brand identity companies.
WHen he married, he formed his own communication and consultation firm, which strageized brand identities and campaigns for international corporations and retail chains ranging from fashion to information technology. He has authored investment collateral, corporate video scripts, and successful national marketing campaigns. His company has produced action figure packaging for Mattel Toys and others, and worked on projects including “Demolition Man.” He has authored numerous web sites, repurposing the corporate collateral for the Internet.
Tony is a regular panelist at science-fiction conventions where he shares his extensive writing experiences and advice. He has appeared with notable authors including Harry Turtledove, Tim Powers, Vernor Vinge, Kage Baker, and William F. Wu, among others. "The community of writers is wonderful. We have so much to share, yes, including the pain," Tony explains.
Todaro began downsizing his business, and considerable financial rewards by the millennium to pursue a career as a full-time novelist. As Lillian, his wife, explained, “Tony felt a need to reinvent himself.”
He spent years developing the Lightriders concept, characters, civilizations, and synopsis for the first four novels. “It was great being able to write freely and express ideas, emotions and tell stories that interested me. I felt inspired by everything I had read and everything my mind could imagine. Every day became, What if?”
One wall of his office became the star map of the C’Hamarande Protectorate. "It was exhilarating to develop the complex and colorful universe of the Lightriders Saga. With my experience in branding, target marketing, action figures and character packaging, I used creative world-building to develop species, civilizations, and imaginative scenarios that I could clearly portray and would make smart reading for Lightrider’s fans of all ages.”
For the title of the first novel, Tony borrowed from his strategic branding expertise: after his “first readers” had critiqued the manuscript, he presented a list of 25 titles and asked them to pick the top five that best suited the spirit of the novel. “TRUE LIGHT” won. Great patience went into every detail. Tony first wrote a 30 page treatment that prompted his intellectual property attorney to comment: “All you need is to add dialog!” Tony spent a year writing the 130,000-word novel, then a second year editing it down and refining what he called an “intricate fabric” of words. "The novel needed to tell a compelling story, be well-written, and had to set up all the threads for future books in the series. I wanted readers to care what my characters did, where they went, what obstacles they faced, and if they survived, what were the consequences of their actions. Pivotal characters became, as I refer to them from a descendant’s viewpoint, weavers in the fabric of time.”
Tony writes as “T.N.Todaro” rather than use his full name. “I’ve always wanted to capitalize on my initials, but never had a reason ‘til now.” He has finished “NEXUS OF SWORDS,” Book Two of the Lightrider Saga, and currently developing two other stand-alone novels and a number of short stories.
He lives with Lillian, his wife and personal inspiration of twenty years, in Redondo Beach, California. Lillian is an award-winning jewelry artist and well-known author of instruction books. Tony’s father was a well-known author and lyricist of Hawaiian pop music with songs on over 80 albums. When not writing, Tony and Lilly can be found at fine art shows, writer’s conferences, or snorkeling in Hawaii.
*** T.N.Todaro PO Box 2267, Redondo Beach, CA 90278 (310) 621-3530 • E-mail