Friday, March 2, 2012

EsperDerek's Out in the Cold

Today's entry is another Classic, a story that completely redefined Twilight and Trixie's relationship, and inspired several other excellent stories - be sure to check out the rest of the stories in this particular fanon continuity.

[Shipping] • 23,600 words
Feeling the weight of the world and haunted by memories of her past, The Great and Powerful Trixie returns to the scene of her greatest defeat. Will she find a new purpose, or will the events that transpired make such a thing an impossibility?

Hit the break for an interview with EsperDerek, and links to Out in the Cold online. If you're into ebooks, the Downloads page awaits!

Where do you live?

I live in Toronto, the largest city of Canada. Yep, I’m a Canuck. (Though I don’t worship the Maple Leafs. I laugh at their failure!)

What kind of work do you do? (i.e. are you a student, do you have a career/day job, etc)

When I first wrote Out in the Cold, I was a student, but now I’m working as a freelance graphics op for live television. Busy, busy, busy!

How did you discover My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic? When did you realize you were a fan of the show?

I am actually a late-bloomer when it comes to the fandom. I was vaguely aware of it, and the growing ‘bronydom’, but my first real taste was when my friend InkwellPony (check his art on deviantART!) admitted that he liked the show.

I promptly teased him about it.

Of course, the show began to get bigger and the fandom grew larger, until about the time of Sonic Rainboom, I threw up my hands one lazy Sunday afternoon and watched an episode (Look Before You Sleep).

Then I watched every other episode in turn.

Admitting to Inkwell that he was right was kind of... embarrassing!

Do you have a favorite episode? [Editor’s note: at the time of this interview, the most recent aired episode was Hearts and Hooves Day.]

Oh, geez, that’s a tough question. There are many different episodes I enjoy for multiple reasons. I’m sure a lot of ponies are expecting me to say Boast Busters, and it certainly is up there in the rankings. I also really liked Luna Eclipsed, Sonic Rainboom, Sweet and Elite, and Lesson Zero.

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)?

Canon, it’s easy. Twilight Sparkle. She’s my favorite character based purely on the canon of the show itself. Getting to see her growth, while maintaining what makes her essentially Twilight, is great. I mean, really, can you picture Twilight dancing without a care in front of ponies at the start of Season 1?

Fanon... hmn. Can I say Trixie when I helped pioneer much of the fanon around her? Does that count? It would feel too much like patting my own back. Actually, I’ll note that there was a fanon portrayal I was never a fan of, and that’s Luna. I never cared for Sad Luna, and was delighted by her deliciously hammy canon persona!

How did you come up with your handle/penname?

I’ve had EsperDerek for a longlonglong time. As a note, ‘Esper’ originally came from FF6, not the psychic style of Esper. That might explain just how old that nickname is.

Incidentally, imagine my surprise when I tried to register it on, and learned that somepony else was using it! They have a single Neon Genesis Evangelion fanfic.

Have you written in other capacities (other fandoms, professionally, etc)? When did you first start writing?

Apart from school, I never really wrote in any capacity before I wrote Out in the Cold. That’s what ponies has done to me, it’s made me write!

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

Not writing, and not working, I play video games. I tend to prefer RPGs, but I’ll play pretty much anything that catches my interest. Also, anything involving giant mecha.

Who is your favorite author (published or fanfiction)? Do you have a favorite story or novel?

I tend to read more short stories nowadays. I’m a big fan of ScFi anthologies such as the The Year’s Best Science Fiction.

Ponywise, you should totally read anything by Raz_Fox, Thanqol, and Phoe. This may be a plug for my friends, but they’re all amazing writers, and I aspire to be as talented as them someday.

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?

Oh, geez. At first I was a very self-indulgent writer, I basically wrote for an audience of me, what I found interesting, and what I wanted to write. That’s changed, actually, I have a bunch of friends who I have gained through the fandom who I care about.

Do you have any tips for aspiring writers, or writers who are struggling with their own stories?

Just write. So many times I’ve heard “Well, I want to write, but I’d probably *excuse*.” Seriously, just write, see what you can get. Oh, and absolutely do not down advice and constructive criticism. Don’t be afraid to learn, and admit that you have flaws in your writing. ‘cause you do, no matter who you are. Ask for help.

What is your typical writing process? (Do you work through multiple drafts, do you have any prereaders/editors, etc?)

Out in the Cold was written on the fly, and then just slapped up there willy-nilly. Nowadays, when I write, I have multiple prereaders and editors giving me their advice and changes. Really, it’s the best way to do things.

What inspired you to write Out in the Cold?

The picture that adorns its page on Equestria Daily, actually! That picture of Trixie being held and comforted by her dying mother was rather inspiring in a tragic sort of way. Uh, obviously. Plus, I was just a big fan of Trixie in general.

Did you run into any tough spots or challenges when writing Out in the Cold?

Dealing with the reaction. I was expecting maybe four people would comment on my story, and that would be the end of that. I wasn’t expecting the overwhelming reaction and demand for more. You have to remember that Equestria Daily hadn’t even come close to a million posters when I submitted, getting ten or so responses was considered good. Of course, nowadays, stories like Fallout: Equestria and that Nyx story have redefined what it means to be ‘big’, and even normal stories can generally expect a great deal of comments, but at the time, it was a massive response that I had gotten.

I also wasn’t expecting the jokey/absurd bonus chapter to spawn its own universe, and a popular OC!

When you set out to write Out in the Cold, did you have any specific messages or themes in mind?

That everypony has a reason for how they act, and forgiveness and understanding can go a long way to healing wounds.

Where can readers drop you a line?

Ponies can message me through deviantart, look for Esperderek.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

Midnight is the best OC pony!

Sorry, I had to.

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