The Cornish countryside is surely one of the most inspiring places to be for a writer, and local author Georgie Adams has proven that, having written and published over 100 children’s books. The locations for some are set around Launceston.
Author of The Railway Rabbits series, plus many more, Launceston Life caught up with Georgie to talk about her work and where it all began for her as a writer. Georgie, who now lives in an idyllic corner of Launceston, just beyond the steam railway, has been writing from a young age, and continued this passion into adulthood. During her many years working in publishing, she was commissioned to write a series of books for Lego, and was ghost-writer for Roger Hargreaves' Mr Men Annuals. Her late husband, artist Tom Adams, was probably best-known for his many iconic paperback book covers for Agatha Christie and other best-selling authors.
“When Tom and I moved here in 1999, we didn’t know many people in Cornwall,” said Georgie, who has since become chair of Launceston in Bloom and joined two u3a Launceston walking groups. “We'd moved from Hertfordshire from a Georgian palladian villa, shared with members of our family and friends. We were there for 25 years and it was an idyllic place to bring up our two daughters. When they went off to university, we decided to move to the Westcountry. I'd always loved Cornwall, and feel very much at home here."
Georgie and Tom lived on Trebursye Hill, overlooking the Kensey Valley, with a steep-sloping garden, orchard and field. Georgie described it as ‘lovely but an impossible place for gardening!’
"While we were there, my publishers asked me to write a series of fiction for young children,” she explained. “From our house I could see the Launceston Steam Railway, running along the valley. I thought, ‘you’ve heard of The Railway Children, let’s have The Railway Rabbits!’ So I started a 12-book series that was inspired by this local, award-winning attraction. I met Kay and Nigel Bowman who own the railway, and they told me all about it.”
One of their locomotives, ‘Covercoat’, is the inspiration for the Red Dragon, a character in Georgie's books. “All the adventures take place along the route of the railway, between the Station - just down the road from the castle - and New Mills Farm Park along the Kensey Valley. A real local location for children to visit.”
After Tom died in 2019, Georgie moved to a house nearer town, sitting comfortably below towering Launceston Castle and around the corner from the railway station - the inspiration for her Railway Rabbits series. But before railways and popular books, Georgie had to find her place in the world of book publishing.
“I always knew I wanted to be in publishing,” she said.“I didn't go to university. I suppose when I was twenty it was easier to start work without a degree. So one day, I walked into Fleetway Publications in London with my first, appalling attempt at an illustrated story. The poor art editor of Harold Hare was forced to read it! My first job at Fleetway was secretary to Muriel Granger, managing editor of Women's Weekly Romantic Libraries. She had a very grand, oak-panelled office with armchairs on either side of a fire. Miss Grainer sat dictating letters to authors - Barbara Cartland among them - and would sometimes nod off, which meant I could catch up with mys horthand!”
However, it was Muriel who introduced Georgie to Odhams (Press) in Long Acre where she began as a junior assistant editor. "Here I learnt the ropes of book production ,” Georgie said, reminiscing on her days of literally cutting and pasting text on to layouts for Robin and Storytime Annuals.
Asking if Georgie adopts a specific writer’s routine, she said: “I'm a morning person. If I’m writing I have to be on my own and focused. I shut myself away then work for hours at a time.
“I edit and re-edit a lot,working at the text till it reads well. I’ve been really lucky as I’ve had a career doing what I like doing best."
Georgie is published in the UK by Orion Children's Books, Hachette and Zephyr. All of Georgie’s children’s books are available to purchase in bookshops and online - a perfect gift idea for the approaching festive season.