An Interview with WEbook's December, Christmas Challenge Winner - NJ_Wade


In December, we asked the community to submit entries to our WEbook Christmas ChallengeYour task was to write, 'an alternative Christmas story', and wow, did we have some seriously out-there alternatives to contend with! 

With interpretations ranging far and wide, playing on both historical and modern tales - our WEbook judging elves had a serious challenge on their hands! But, no matter how many fabulously interesting, original and completely enthralling entries we had, a winner had to be crowned. 

Our winner - Nyree!

After much deliberation, NJ_Wade's, Professor Moore, was picked by the WEbook elves as our Christmas Challenge winner - and we're sure you'll all join us in congratulating Nyree on her fantastic entry. It really captured the Christmas, fireside spirit and played on a timeless classic. 

Recently we had a chat with Nyree about her piece, Professor Moore, and how she devises the imagery which whisked us away to the warm, December fireside.... 

WEbook: Hi Nyree, congratulations on winning the Christmas challenge with your brilliant entry, Professor Moore

One of the things that struck us most about your piece was the beautiful imagery in use throughout. The line, 'It's like dreaming, but with your eyes open', was a particularly stunning visual metaphor - how do you plan and develop the use of descriptive imagery within your writing?

Nyree Wade: Hello and thank you! To be honest, I’m still quite shocked, but incredibly happy to have produced a story readers have connected with. 
As for the line, “It’s like dreaming, but with your eyes open,” that line is actually a variation of one of my favorite quotes by Anissa Trisdianty. The quote resonated with me, because as a child whenever I read a story, my mind would drift into a fictional world, and it was like dreaming. Even as an adult, when I read a book or come up with a story idea, I still picture the characters and events in a way that is much similar to using my childhood imagination. 

With regard to the use of descriptive imagery, I really wanted to use light and shadow to create a magical atmosphere. You know the feeling you get when you’re sitting close to a fire and everyone gets really quiet? 

The only sounds are those of the occasional pop and crack of the fire. It almost sets the mood for someone to tell a good story.  I really enjoy the mystery and intrigue that surround all myths, and sometimes wonder if there’s a kernel of truth hidden beneath every story.

WB: The challenge brief asked for 'an alternative Christmas story', you really kept the reader guessing as to what your inspiration was - we were geared up for Marlowe's ghost to jump out at any moment! Do you enjoy leading the reader in a false direction and then creating a surprise for them at the end, or was this unintentional?

NW: It was unintentional, although it would have been clever to have planned it that way! Sometimes when you write, the story creates itself, and you’re just as surprised by how things end, too. I write with a general idea—and then let the story unfold from there. My intention was to retell the story, ‘The night before Christmas’, and bring the author Clement Clarke Moore, to life as well.  I knew at some point I’d have to reveal his identity, the end just seemed the best time for it. 

WB: Are the characters that you have used in your story in use elsewhere in your writing, or were these original creations for the Challenge?

NW: Besides the use of non-fictional character Clement Clarke Moore, all others were created by me, and haven’t been used in any other work I’ve written. Professor Moore is the first historical fiction piece I’ve written, and once the scene was set, the characters took on a life of their own.

WB: Professor Moore has a nice old-worldly, almost whimsical charm to it, which is mixed with the timeless pressures of family life. What were you trying to convey to the reader through this duality?

NW: That sometimes the best stories are the ones that we create around us. Finding that delicate balance can be a challenge, but it’s not impossible. I really wanted to create a character that people could relate to, and sympathize with (especially writers). For me, I know that if I’m not careful I’ll find myself locked in my cave that is my ‘office’, pouring myself into whatever project I’m working on. It helps that my family keeps me in check, when the scale tips a little off balance.  

WB: What is your favourite genre to read in, and what type of influence do you take from theses authors when writing yourself?

NW: My favourite genre is YA contemporary fiction. It’s hard to pick just one genre, as I like so many. Anywhere from Science fiction, Romance, Historical Fiction, they’re all great! As for the story Professor Moore, I really drew inspiration from Luisa May Alcott’s ‘Little Women’, when recreating that old-world feel. At the moment I’m really inspired by the work of YA novelists Sarah Dessen, Jenny Han and Tammara Webber. Other favorites are historical fiction authors, Steven Saylor, Diana Gabaldon, and Jane Austen.

WB: You're a relatively new member on WEbook, having joined just last year, could you tell us a bit about how you found the site and what your first impressions were?

NW: Back in 2012 a friend of mine, Bu Domingez, had introduced me to WEbook. We both submitted stories for the Valentine’s Day challenge and had a blast. But, it really wasn’t until last year that I’d become an active member of the website. The people here are amazing, and are really what keeps me coming back. They’re hilarious, yet honest and make an effort to help each other out, which is something I really like. They genuinely care and want to see everyone succeed!

WB: What is your writing background? What inspired you to start?

NW: I’ve been writing since I was about eight years old. I remember my first story was titled, Dr. Friend, and my mom still has it in a box somewhere, with a bunch of terrible kid art.  I think my mom really nurtured my imagination as a child. We’d read a lot of stories together, and it inspired me to write my own. I’d make book jackets out of construction paper, and weave yarn through the spine to hold the pages together. When I started getting into British literature I remembered sitting in my bedroom paraphrasing Shakespearian sonnets for fun, and my brother peeking in on me, wondering when I’d get a life! But, that was my life. Literature and writing will always be a big part of who I am.  

WB: Thanks so much for letting us in to some of your writing secrets, Nyree. And again, congratulations on being crowned our December Challenge winner! We're sure that we'll be seeing some more brilliant entries from you in upcoming challenges...

If you have any questions that you'd like to ask Nyree about her piece, then go ahead and submit them in the comments section below!

January's Challenge is all about new beginnings, and you've only got a few more days left to submit before entries close for the month! So get writing WEbookers! Who knows, you could be crowned our next winner and become the proud owner of a brand new iPad Mini.... 

The WEbook Team

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  1. Fantastic interview, Nyree, and a well deserved winner for December's challenge. Looking forward to reading more of your work, here on Webook!

  2. Thank you, Sue. I had a blast, and look forward to more of your work as well! Thank you :)

  3. Congratulations on winning the challenge, Nyree. Great interview.


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