INSPIRED by a love of soul music and a stormy summer day, a 45-year-old Eastbourne woman decided to put pen to paper and won this year's Sunday Express Summer Story writing competition.
Keen writer Michele Ranger, an e-communications officer for Eastbourne Borough Council, entered her story Summer Breeze in to the competition.
It is a bitter-sweet love story set in a seaside resort in the post-punk, mod-revival year of 1979. The tale centres around Billy, his love for the ever-elusive Dinah and Billy's observations on life.
Michele said, "It was a challenge. I usually write somewhat darker fiction, so I was absolutely thrilled to hear that the story had won."
More than 1,100 writers entered the competition, with the final 500 being judged by authors Katie Forde, Jill Mansell, Adele Parks and Jojo Moyes.
Jill Mansell, author of Millie's Fling and Sheer Mischief, said, "It was a pleasure to judge this competition and a tough task to whittle the offerings down to a shortlist of 10.
"But for me Summer Breeze had a style on par with One Day by David Nicholls."
Although Michele has been writing for some time, this is the first piece of fiction she has entered a national competition.
The story was published in the Sunday Express 'S' Magazine on September 27 and can now be read on Michele's blog at http://micheleranger