Originally posted to the Vault on 4/27/12.
I can't help but feel there's not been as much attention paid, fanfiction-wise, to our benevolent Princess of the Sun, as there has been to the darker Princess of the Night. I expect that's why, really - often the darkness is what's more interesting, what draws us in and makes us wonder, makes us think... but sometimes we just need some sunshine in our lives.
[Slice-of-Life] • 8,500 words
Princess Celestia tires of constantly being surrounded by decorum, deference, and formality, and decides to take a day off from being Princess. But visiting Ponyville incognito is harder than she expects. Will she be able to fit in and make friends without blowing her cover?
Hit the break for a look at the fox behind the curtain, and links to Sunny Skies All Day Long around the ponynet. Don't forget to grab an eBook from the Vault's Downloads page, if you are so inclined!
Where do you live?
I currently live in Maryland.
What kind of work do you do? (i.e. are you a student, do you have a career/day job, etc)
I'm in retail at the moment while between more stable jobs. No pun intended.
How did you discover My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic? When did you realize you were a fan of the show?
My primary hangout is the Order of the Stick forums, and when the first ponythread went up (which is now on its 42nd iteration) I kept seeing it as the topic most recently posted in on that subforum. Thinking it was a snark thread, I took a peek in there and saw it wasn't. Some pics of the main characters caught my attention, as I noticed they resembled the Powerpuff Girls, and not the overly saccharine styles previous. Reading some more gave good impressions, and there were mentions that the songs tended to ear work. So in a fit of boredom and curiosity, I followed a link to Winter Wrap Up. And lo and behold, it wasn't too cheesy, but there was actual HARMONY, I liked the voices, the animation was good, and there hints of actual plot? Knowing nothing of the series, I was curious on why Twilight didn't have or couldn't use magic. And after a few days of having the song stuck in my head, I caved and watched the pilot and enjoyed it. And having a decent amount of free time that day, proceeded to binge the whole series up to that point. (right before Fall Weather Friends IIRC). After that, there was no going back.
Do you have a favorite episode?
Oh gracious, that's a tough question. I would have to say that would be Sweet And Elite, as I feel it's the best written episode. Everything flowed very naturally!
Who is your favorite character based purely on the canon of the show itself? Would your answer change if you considered the fandom in its entirety (i.e. art, fanfiction, memes, etc)?
I identify rather strongly with Twilight Sparkle. Rarity has been climbing the ranks to #2 of the Mane 6 recently through sheer ham, but Twilight will always have a special place with me.
How did you come up with your handle/penname?
I have always been PhantomFox. Foxes are my favorite animal, and the alliteration made it sound like a superhero of some sort
Have you written in other capacities (other fandoms, professionally, etc)? When did you first start writing?
Shameless plug time! I am currently the writer in a writer/artist duo for my webcomic Deep Forest. Check it out at http://www.deepforestcomic.com/comic. I first started writing back in middle school with the characters that eventually found their proper home in Deep Forest. I wrote this three part novelette, and boy, was it horrible. It was this sorta adventure superhero thing that makes me cringe when I remember it. I can't believe I thought backwards names were clever...
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
A little of everything. Reading, board games, video games, movies, etc...
Who is your favorite author (published or fanfiction)? Do you have a favorite story or novel?
Hmm... tough choice. I'd have to say Terry Pratchett for his Discworld series. My favorite book... currently the Belgariad Quintology by David Eddings.
Stephen King believes that every author has an "ideal reader" - the one person who they write for, the one person whose reactions they care about. Do you have one, and if so, who is it?
Um... not that comes to mind right away.
Do you have any tips for aspiring writers, or writers who are struggling with their own stories?
Characters, characters, characters! Understand your characters! Keep asking questions to yourself about them until they become actual people in your mind. Then they take on a life of their own instead of being pure plot movers. Then they start writing themselves to a certain extent.
What is your typical writing process? (Do you work through multiple drafts, do you have any prereaders/editors, etc?)
I'm a planner, so I work out the plot framework completely before I get started, and then write it all from beginning to end. After that, I revise it as much as I can and pass it off to as many people as are willing to help to help catch typos and give advice.
What inspired you to write Sunny Skies All Day Long?
The beginning of A Bird In The Hoof, where Celestia is at the luncheon. You can practically SEE her wanting to say "Will you all please relax? I just want to hang out as friends!" That inspired the opening scene of Sunny Skies, and when I shared it, I was demanded to do this whole thing entirely.
Did you run into any tough spots or challenges when writing Sunny Skies?
Few people know that there was originally a first draft that got half of it re-written into what it is today. Trust me, it needed it. Pinkie didn't figure out that Celestia was in disguise, and Celestia ended up going to a picnic AJ was having. Except Twilight wasn't there and was working herself to death trying to rewrite Luna's history to now include her redemption. So Celestia and the gang trooped down there and taught her a lesson, the friendship report triggering the reveal as it is now. The problem was that the core conflict of the piece was all over the place, as Thanqol pointed out to me at the time. So after talking things over with him, I rewrote the entire middle section to be about Celestia struggling to keep her disguise a secret, and that led to what it is now.
When you set out to write Sunny Skies, did you have any specific messages or themes in mind?
Mainly I wanted to show that Celestia is a humble Princess, and just wants her subjects to be her friends, and hates it when her title gets in the way.
Where can readers drop you a line?
My main hangout, as mentioned, is the Order Of The Stick forums, so send me a PM through there. I go by the same name there.
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
I'm continually astounded at the sheer mountain of praise this thing generated, and I can only dream of writing something that'll get anywhere near the same reaction. Doesn't mean I can't try!