June's Writing

June Tate's SouthhamptonThe Avenue - SouthamptonJune Tate's SouthhamptonSouthampton Pier

I must confess I wasn’t born with a longing to write. From the age of five all I wanted was to be a hairdresser, and after I left school, I served a five year apprenticeship in my chosen career. I worked in Shirley in Southampton for several years and then, wanting to leave home and travel, as I came from a seafaring family, I applied to the Cunard Company to ask for a position on one of their ships as a hairdresser.

The following week I had an interview with the lady superintendant as in those days the Beauty Parlours were under the supervision of the Chief Barber and not franchised out to a private company. Luck was on my side as they were short of a hairdresser at the time and I sailed on the Queen Mary two weeks later!

I worked on this beautiful liner for nearly four years, looking after many American movie stars, like Rosalind Russell, Joan Fontaine and others. It was not unusual to see Judy Garland walking long the decks with her daughter Liza and Michael Wilding called into the Beauty Parlour looking for his wife and in a night club in New York I was introduced to Errol Flynn, who held my hand and talked to me. To this day I couldn’t tell you what he said, but my feet didn’t touch the floor as I left!

Eventually I was moved to the Mauritania which used to go to New York for six months of the year when it would make two weeks cruises around the Caribbean and a three week trip around the Mediterranean. So I was paid to see half the world.

During these years I used to write letters to my friends and family, they used to call them epistles as they were so long. As a teenager I thought when I get old and retire, I’ll write a novel and as a teenager I had seventeen pen-friends so writing was important to me.

Eventually I married a handsome pilot who flew out to New York unexpectedly to propose to me…very romantic! Then I gave birth to two daughters, opened a hairdressing salon in Seaford in Sussex, moved to Hamble on the Solent before leaving to live in Estoril in Portugal for three years.

June Tate"Compulsive Reading"

When we returned to England we lived in Sussex and it was here that Maxine my youngest daughter persuaded me to go to night school with her as she wanted to do a photography course and showed me there was a course for creative writing…so she started me off on this wondrous journey.

It was here that I started to learn my craft. I wrote articles, short stories, which I eventually sold, but by then I wanted the broader canvas of the novel. I wrote five for Mills and Boon, which were all rejected! Then I wrote my first saga, found an agent, rewrote my novel from a different point of view, at her suggestion, and it was sent to two publishers. To my great delight, they both wanted to publish it, so there was an auction between them before Headline took me on.

Since then I’ve written a book a year and now have started my twenty-first novel. It is a solitary existence being a writer, but not lonely. How can you be lonely when these characters walk across your page and start talking to you? I just hope my readers enjoy reading them as I do writing them.

I am a member of the Romantic Novelists' Association, was chairman of the West Sussex Writers' Club for three years, have held teaching seminars in Corfu, Tuscany and Winchester University. I also give talks to womens’ clubs, writing groups and Libraries, so it is a busy life and I wouldn't change it for anything!

© 2018 June Tate