My winning story was inspired by a painting by a Victorian artist, L C Henley, which depicts a young woman reading by the fireside and idealises Victorian domestic life. I wanted to twist the title and approach it from a modern, chilling perspective.
A Quiet Half-Hour
A quiet half-hour was all she needed. Settling in her favourite chair, she closed her eyes and let the silence wash over her. No sounds to disturb her thoughts, no banging doors, no raised voices - just peace, perfect peace. The peace she had craved for months but never expected to experience again. It couldn't last, of course. Reality would come crashing in and her life would change forever. But she still had this half-hour. She felt the tenseness leave her body.
Only twenty-five minutes left now. And then she would telephone the police and tell them what she had done.
'This story is full of unspoken, suppressed emotion. It crackles with underlying tension and never overplays its hand. A hugely impressive piece of writing.'
Click on my earlier posts which tell of my great excitement on learning I'd won the 100 Word Story Competition, and all about the photo shoot that followed - the latter giving an insight into the work that goes on behind the scenes to make Reader's Digest such an enjoyable read.
Visit the Reader's Digest website.
My prize money of £500 paid for a trip to Santiago de Compostela to research my Spanish roots - I hope that this year's winner will also spend the prize money, now increased to £2,000, on something really special. Good luck everyone!