Cora Harrison

Cora Harrison

Mullaghmore mountain on the Burren, County Clare, Ireland

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Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Dear Rita,
That is indeed amazing. It is so fascinating to try to unconver the past.
Once or twice I have discovered that there is a factual basis for something which I thought I invented. For instance, I found out recently that the castle which I have allocated to Mara and Turlough was actually inhabited in the mid-sixteenth century by 'a descendent of King Turlough Donn' - no name given.
It gave me quite a strange feeling - almost as if I had some link with these long-gone people. When I wrote about this first I had no idea that there was an connection - I just like the dramatic appearance of Ballinalacken Castle up there on a hill over looking the sea. You can see it on my website.

Sat Aug 1 14:44:39 2009

Rita Davern writes from USA
A warm hello, Cora.

Since Sting of Justice is not yet out here, I'm looking forward to getting a copy when I return to Clare in September. My family so enjoys reading your stories about our Brehon ancestors. I met a young woman recently in Minneapolis whose mother is a MacNamara. She did some research and found out they came from County Clare, and may be connected to the clan you have written about. Our ancestors may have known each other. How amazing that is. Thanks for helping us recover lost history. It matters!

Fri Jul 31 14:54:03 2009

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Dear Mary,

I very much liked the first one of Walter Mackan's trilogy 'Seek the Fair Land.' This deals with the Cromwellian period (the other two deal with the Famine and the Civil War).
I'm glad you liked mine - there are plenty more to come!

Fri Jul 31 13:27:11 2009

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Lauren: Thanks for your praise. I do rather like Mara, myself. She almost seems like a friend to me and I do enjoy writing about her.
Book 2 is 'A Secret & Unlawful Killing' (Michaelmas Tribute in the UK), 'Sting of Justice' is book 3 and book 4 will be 'Writ in Stone'.
I hope you enjoy them equally.

Fran: I feel very proud of the Irish for living by such humane and advanced laws. Wouldn't it be lovely if we could live our lives like that nowadays!

Fri Jul 31 13:17:55 2009

Mary Forrest Barrett Breen writes from United States, CA, Half Moon Bay
Dear Cora,
what a pleasure not only to come upon your book in our library but to see that you have decided to write a series set in this period of Ireland, with such a wonderful sleuth.
I have read Tremayne's Sister Fidelma series, but as an avid reader of Irish historical novels, this will only increase my pleasure.
Would you know of any novels of the Cromwellian period, that terrible time of ethnic cleansing by the means of forced movement of the Irish population, kidnap and enslavement, transportation, imprisonment, death and starvation?
Ellis wrote about it in a historical treatise, and Sean O'Callaghan wrote "To Hell or Barbados". I'm hoping you can share the names of other authors for me.
Thank you for your work and for continuing to educate via this method. As a teacher, mom and grandmother, myself I admire your energy, efforts and success.

Thu Jul 30 20:57:51 2009

Lauren Woodiwiss writes from USA
Dear Ms. Harrison,

I have finished, "My Lady Judge" and enjoyed it so very much. Your Mara is so wise and caring with the right blend of adherence to law and sense of justice, and compassion for victim and perpetrator. I'm looking forward to picking up "Sting of Justice" and continuing to learn about this wonderful time, and the people who inhabit it, that you bring so fully to life. Thank you for sharing your gifts with us.

Thu Jul 30 13:00:29 2009

Fran writes from USA
I've read about Irish history, but really only about the history of the 'troubles' and the great famine. I've always been fascinated about where my ancestors came from and what got them here. But, I had never heard of Brehon laws. Yes, the humanity of the laws sounded so surprising to me. As I read, I wondered how some of those laws worked with the Catholic Church - marriage and divorce!!

Yes, a lot to be proud of - I hope many, many people read your books. I'll tell my family land friends and I'll ask for your other books at my library.

Thanks for your reply.

Sun Jul 19 21:18:49 2009

Cora Harrison
Fran: I hope that your local library have 'MY LADY JUDGE' - that's the first one in the series. 'THE STING OF JUSTICE' is now out in the UK but will be out in America in November. I hope you like both of these just as well.
Mayo is beautiful - very sad - lots of memories of the 'Great Famine' in the roofless cottages everywhere, but incredibily beautiful.
I was interested in what you said about 'adopted children' not knowing their history - I think that a lot of people in Ireland do not know about their wonderful legacy of the Brehon laws with all their humanity. I feel proud to be Irish everytime that I come across a new law!

Sun Jul 19 18:01:57 2009

Fran writes from USA
Just happened on 'A Secret and Unlawful Killing' at my local library. What a great find! Can't wait to get the others in the series. My ancestors were from Roscommon and Mayo and I appreciate looking into what their lives may have been like. I think sometmes Irish Americans are like adopted children who don't know the history of their real parents. How fascinating! Thank you!

Sun Jul 19 14:15:42 2009

Alan Madden writes from Ireland
thank you for the advice.
I'll let you know how I get on.

Sat Jul 18 21:15:56 2009

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Jerlyn: Many thanks for your message.
"Writ in Stone" Book four is coming out here in September ("Sting of Justice" is book 3). I hope you enjoy them. I haven't actually read Sister Fidelma myself. I didn't know about it until my American publishers mentioned it and then I purposely kept myself from reading the books in case I would be influenced.
What I am trying to do with the 'Mara' books is to give as good a picture as possible of the life of a Brehon and of a law school in the 16th century, as well as the puzzle of a murder to be solved. I thought that, unlike Agatha Christie's Miss Marple, it was fairly possible for a law officer (as a Brehon was in that era) to have a few murders to solve every year!

Daphne: Hope you enjoy 'Writ in Stone' coming out in UK on September 1, I think.
I feel that one has more pace than the toerh three - I'd be interested to hear what you think.

Sat Jul 18 17:04:59 2009

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Alan: Sorry not to have been in touch before now - there seemed to be all sorts of problems with the Eircom site when I tried to write to you a couple of nights ago.
I'd say that it is better to approach an agent before a publisher. You would need to have the whole book written first - probably something between 70,000 & 90,000 words. Try it on as many people as possible before you do so - beg them not to be polite, but at the same discount 50% of what friends and relatives say.
Good luck!

Sat Jul 18 17:02:21 2009

Daphne Kellaway
What great reads these books are, I have read all three in record time, can't put them down. MORE please...soon!

Fri Jul 17 16:55:30 2009

Jerelyn Ryan Sehl writes from USA
I just devoured "My Lady Judge" and "A Secret and Unlawful Killing"! They did put me in mind of the Sister Fidelma books, all of which I've read, but are different enough in many ways that I would never hesitate to recommend them to fellow readers. I also wanted to tell you that I've recommended to my local Library that they purchase the new book when it is released, they agreed, and I'm first on the list to get it.
I've been to Ireland and the Burren twice, so reading your books brings back many fond memories.

Wed Jul 15 21:08:26 2009

Alan Madden writes from Ireland
Hi Cora,
About 6 years ago I posted a story called "The Magical Quest" on your Story Club.
I am now working on a murder mystery which is aimed at teenagers.
I was just curious as to what publishers I should send it to and also weather I should send them a few chapters to begin with and see if they like the idea.

Many Thanks,

Mon Jul 13 16:09:32 2009

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Judy: I think a pronouncing index on the website is a great idea. I must see if I can get some expert to help with this.

Carolyn: I know just what you mean. I wasn't born here, but I love this place so much. I have just been for an evening walk out through the lanes and the sun shone and the air was full of the lovely scent of new-mown hay and all the ditches were full of wild orchids and sweet cicely. It was breathtakingly beautiful.

Elaine: 'Writ in Stone' book 4 is already being advertised on Amazon. I hope you like it. I think it is the best so far - but I may be wrong. It will be out in September so that is not too long to wait.

Wed Jun 24 21:18:29 2009

Carolyn writes from US
I am suffering from Burren deprivation after reading your two books that are out in the US. We have been to Ireland quite a few times. On our first trip in 1980 we stayed near Kilfenora. I can still remember walking along a small road and being struck with a deep and profound feeling of being "home". Actually my people are from near Burr in Tipperary rather than the Burren.

I shall be watching for the third book to come out in the US and am delighted to learn that 4, 5, and 6 are "in the works".
We are currently trying to organize a trip to the Burren in August of this year.
Best, Carolyn

Thu Jun 18 13:37:10 2009

Judy Lyman writes from USA
I just started reading 'My Lady Judge' and I am enjoying it very much; however, I would have really appreciated a pronouncing index included in the book. Since there is none, would you ever consider adding such to your website?

Sat Jun 13 17:12:22 2009

Elaine Dingsdale writes from U.K.
Cora, I have recently read all 3 of your Burren series, and have found myself immediately captivated by them all. Time, place and characters are all a joy (even the nasty characters!) I'm already impatient for the next instalment.....anything planned as yet, or will I have to curb my impatience for a while?!

Fri Jun 12 18:33:36 2009

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Just a quick message to say that I shall be away for a few weeks. I'd love to hear from you, but the message won't be posted or answered until I return.


Sun Jun 7 16:24:35 2009

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
The funny thing is, Maggie, that when I wrote 'My Lady Judge' I had never heard of Sister Fidelma, and had no idea that I was going over well-trodden ground.
When I did find out about Peter Tremayne and his Sister Fidelma books I made the decision not to read them as I was afriad that they might influence my style.
I'm glad you liked the descriptions. I purposely set the books in the early years of the reign of Henry VIII as apparently there were some fantastic summers and autumns then and the Burren always looks so lovely in sunny weather.

Fri May 22 21:24:32 2009

Maggie Terry writes from England
I am a Sister Fidelma fan and was interested when I found your first book. I couldn't stop reading it and quickly passed onto the second. Thoroughly enjoyed both and now can't wait for the third. Love the descriptions of Mara's surroundings and the pictures in your gallery. They bring the story to life even more now. Thank you.

Fri May 22 09:37:12 2009

Melanie writes from USA
Hi again Cora:

Many thanks for your response and your interest! I'm excited to hear that the third in "Mara's series" will be out in the States this fall. Can't wait to purchase. In the interim, I moseyed (that's a good Southern US word) back to our library to go ahead and check out "The Lady Judge" and found that they don't carry the first in the series! (But do have the second). Not to worry, I plan to talk with them about that and read the first, albeit out of order.
As to the question of my children, they do love all history. I have two boys, 9 and 12, who I homeschool. We use a literature-based curriculum, so we are constantly reading. I don't know if our library carries your children's books, but I will find out. Again, thanks for your response!

Sat May 2 21:24:30 2009

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Probably this is hard to credit, but I had never even read, or heard of, Peter Tremayne and his Sister Fidelma series when I wrote my first book about Brehon law!
I was, however, very influenced by another Ellis - Ellis Peters - and loved her Brother Cadfael series. The only drawback, I felt, was that it was hard to envisage a monk investigating a murder every few months.
With my Mara, however, unlike Sister Fidelma I may add, she is the Brehon, or investigating magistrate, for the whole kingdom, so murder is just as much her business as it is the business of, say, Inspector Dalgleish.
Harrison is my married name and my husband thinks that his family might originate from some Cromwellian that fled to Northern Ireland after the restoration of Charles II.

Fri May 1 09:59:48 2009

Ken Harrison writes from Staffordshire Moorlands, England
Dear Cora,

I have just picked up a copy of "My Lady Judge" and can't wait to read it! I just wondered -
were you influenced by Peter Berresford Ellis / Peter Tremayne and his Sister Fidelma series?

I also wonder if Harrison is your married name and if so, whether your husband has any connection with Newcastle-under-Lyme where Major-General Harrison, the infamous Cromwell's right hand man and regicide, was born?

Kind regards,

Ken Harrison

Thu Apr 30 23:43:20 2009

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