Put your hands in the air for today’s story.
Suns and Roses
[Equestria Girls] [Romance] [Dark] [Tragedy] [Alternate Universe] • 10,907 words
The Crystal Mirror brought Sunset Shimmer not to the steps of Canterlot High, but to another world all together. She meets Roseluck, a prisoner in her own home trapped beneath the authoritarian rule of her father, and the two embark on a journey of love and bank robbing as they search for somewhere they can truly be free.
FROM THE CURATORS: The My Little Pony fandom sometimes seems dedicated to proving that ponies can cross over with any genre — and often, as with this tale, the result elevates both sources. “This is a high-speed fic about falling in love, seeking freedom, and getting into way too much trouble,” Present Perfect said in his nomination. “You’ve got bank robberies, tommy guns, gas that cost twenty cents a gallon, and going out in a hail of gunfire when the odds are stacked against you. Suffice to say, this story is entirely my aesthetic and I unabashedly love it.” He wasn’t the only one: “I am a tremendous sucker for period pieces,” FanOfMostEverything said. “And apparently for lesbian Bonnie & Clyde stories set in the Roaring Twenties. And brief interludes with human Twilight working at a patent office. Sorry, bank. I meant bank.”
And while its pitch-perfect genre elements endeared us to the story, those weren’t the only things it got right. “It’s a gripping roller coaster of a story,” FanOfMostEverything said, while Soge praised the characters: “Sunset and Roseluck worked out perfectly as a romantic pairing, with the kind of chemistry that would make me less harsh towards shipfics. The setting also works wonders in favor of the story, serving as a perfect way of framing this type of story as a pony fic.” Horizon appreciated the framing as well: “This melds its pony elements into its 1920s framework subtly and smoothly, and uses them to make the gut punch at the ending all the more poignant.”
While this was breezing to an easy feature, at times our discussion sounded more like a book club than a literary critique. “This was a fantastic tale of following a road paved with good intentions to its inevitable end,” FanOfMostEverything said, causing Soge to respond: “I will certainly disagree with the idea that this is about a road paved with good intentions, given their impressive (and seemingly dispassionate) body count. And I say that because it was probably my favourite aspect of this fic — the inherent tragedy to it all, of two teenagers broken by life finding their only escape to be through love, yes, but also murder. It feels very significant that, at the end of the day, they only lose when they take a more empathetic path.”
Read on for our author interview, in which Cyrano discusses boardwalk empires, spring semesters, and a little more panache.
Give us the standard biography.
I’m very boring, really. I was a teenager when I joined the fandom, and now I’m not. I got a degree in doing computer things and I’m planning to attend law school this year. Oh, and I’m Canadian, so there’s that. Go Canada!
How did you come up with your handle/penname?
I think I might have the most boring answer to this question ever, but I unashamedly stole it from the titular character of Cyrano de Bergerac. He’s larger than life: a poet, a warrior, a person unafraid to stand up for their ideals; but despite all of that he’s hopelessly hamstrung by his perception of other people seeing him as ugly. I feel like we could all use a little more panache in our lives (especially my life), so when it came to picking an alias, the choice practically made itself.
Who’s your favorite pony?
A couple years ago I would have said Applejack and that would have been that. These days it’s more difficult. I want to say Starlight, because I typically enjoy her episodes, especially those that deal with her friendship with Trixie, but it’s a hard choice.
What’s your favorite episode?
That answer has changed a lot (and will almost certainly continue to change), but right now I’ll go with The Perfect Pear. What’s not to like? It’s got romance, forbidden love, heartbreak, redemption, and pear puns! Plus William Shatner as Grand Pear (also a pun)!
But seriously, The Perfect Pear is exactly the kind of heartwarming story that that I adore. It doesn’t prop itself up on characters acting silly or unfortunate misunderstandings — it’s a love story that fleshes out characters we’ve wondered about since season one. I hope we get more episodes like this in the future.
What do you get from the show?
It makes me happy and it sparks my imagination. There’s a lot of grim in the world these days, so it’s nice to imagine a world where good guys win not by beating their opposition into a pulp, but by confronting their own flaw and letting their virtues shine through.
What do you want from life?
Happiness and stability. I have no idea where I’ll end up or what I’ll be doing, but who does?
Why do you write?
I wish I could say that I write because it’s something I’m compelled to do, or that there are stories in my head that I can’t help but release through my keyboard, but that’s not true. In reality, writing is hard, and that’s part of why I do it. There are stories in my head, but rather than building up until I’m bursting at the seams with them, eventually an idea that isn’t written down simply fades away.
I enjoy telling stories, and even though it’s hard sometimes, I want to do it. That’s why I write.
What advice do you have for the authors out there?
Don’t be intimidated by the success of other authors. It’s so easy to pick up a book or look at a featured story and feel tiny. Sometimes I read a passage and I can’t help but despair, because I think how impossible it is for my awkward fingers to write something that moving. But you’ve got to keep writing. Someone else’s success is not your failure.
What inspired “Suns and Roses”?
I wrote “Suns and Roses” for Oroboro’s Sunset Shipping Contest. I threw around a bunch of bad ideas (Roseluck herself was a holdover from one of these), until I eventually decided upon a Bonnie-and-Clyde-style crime story. This may also have been a bad idea, but I was watching a lot of Boardwalk Empire at the time and was hooked on the era.
Why the 1930s style gangster setting?
Because it’s awesome! I love gangster movies, and the style of the ’30s is just so cool. It’s a setting I’d like to see more of in pretty much all media. It was also interesting to think about the reactions people of the time would have to a pair of young girls going on a crime spree across the country.
Do you find the “Equestria Girls” universe more inspiring than the regular MLP universe?
I suppose I do. Other than the obvious fact that Equestria Girls characters are human (which certainly makes things easier), I feel like there’s a lot of unexplored territory in the Equestria Girls universe that makes it interesting to think about. This whole story is essentially a ‘what if’ centered around the portal to Equestria leading to a different place and a different time! Plus high-school drama is always fun to write about — other fandoms have to create their own high-school Alternate Universes, and ours is built in!
Or maybe it’s just easier for me to relate to pastel people than pastel ponies.
Do you see Twilight keeping the money?
I’m tempted not to answer this question, but I suppose Death of the Author means that my response has no more weight to it than whatever the reader has already come up with, so what’s the harm? Obvious spoiler warning for those (like me, I’ll admit it) who sometimes read the whole interview before the story.
The theme of the Sunset Shipping Contest was “Changing Seasons”. What I’d attempted to do with the story was have Sunset and Roseluck’s story follow the arc of the seasons: they met in spring, fell in love and began their crime spree in summer, had things begin to fall apart in autumn, and winter… well, you know how that went. Anyway, the way I see it, Twilight’s story started in winter, and mentioning the possibility of her attending the spring semester was entirely deliberate. I hope that answers the question.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
This was a super fun story to write, and I’m glad to hear there are people out there who enjoyed reading it. Getting a story featured by the Royal Canterlot Library is a huge honor, and honestly something I never thought would happen to me. Thank you so, so much.