Cora Harrison

Cora Harrison

Mullaghmore mountain on the Burren, County Clare, Ireland

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Ella writes from United Arab Emirates
Hi Cora,

Just replying to your last message. Thank you for your quick reply, I think that it is great that you reply to your fans so quickly! Just curious as to your reply, ummm what do you mean by "the ending would be sad"? Still hoping you will write another book

Thu Dec 13 17:21:19 2012

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
I haven't come across it, Carla, but will have a look when I have finished the book that I am writing (about a very different time). I always have to immerse myself in a historical period when I am doing a book, and so try not to allow another time to intrude.

They do sound fun.

Thu Dec 13 10:05:51 2012

Carla Clements writes from USA
I was wondering if you are a fan of the Youtube series "The Lizzie Bennet Diaries"? It is a surprisingly charming modern day adaptation of Pride & Prejudice with a large fan base who either already love all things Austen, or are being introduced to her books through the series.

Thu Dec 13 01:20:30 2012

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
It would be interesting to write about Jenny's married life - though the ending is sad.

Wed Dec 12 18:05:42 2012

Ella writes from United Arab Emirates
Hi Cora,

I have read both "I was Jane Austen's best friend" and "Jane Austen Stole My Boyfriend". I am desperate to know if you will be writing anymore books in this series about Jane and Jenny after they are married?! My friends and I are really hoping you will write another book in the series because it is gives you so much insight as to how Jane Austen lived and how she meant her character's in her books to be portrayed and understood. Please please please please please please please write another book!
My Best Wishes and Seasonal Greetings

Wed Dec 12 14:10:31 2012

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Thank you, Hayley. I do hope that my portrayal of Jane as a teenager is reasonably accurate. Her writings in her teen years suddenly inspired me.

I would so love if they were made into a film - it could be very pretty and fun, but so far there have been no nibbles.

Fri Nov 16 09:40:48 2012

Hayley writes from England
Hi, Cora!
I would love to let you know that I read "I was Jane Austen's best friend" and "Jane Austen stole my boyfriend".
I loved them and I keep thinking about them. I imagine that this portrayal of Jane as a teenager is the most accurate!
I love the fun adventures the girls and boys went through.
I was thinking how amazing these books would be as movies. Is there anything in the future that could suggest that they will become films???
Thank you :)

Fri Nov 16 08:03:13 2012

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Thanks, Charlotte, I very much appreciate your comments.

Thu Nov 1 19:35:43 2012

Charlotte writes from England
Thank you so much for your reply re. sources for pre-Elizabethan history - very very much appreciated! Those books sound brilliant, can't wait to get reading!
And if I might comment, I would say that it is essential that you know your character inside out, and with Mara it relly shows - a beautifil level of depth. Thank you again.

Thu Nov 1 18:00:17 2012

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Yes, I do wish that my publishers would agree to put a map in the beginning of the books.
You should be quite right with Google Earth, though and It does provide a wonderful opportunity to do a virtual walk through the places of the Burren. It is still a very scarcely populated region and the people there have an old-fashioned courtesy and a link with the past which I love to explore.
It;s astonishing to think that right into the sixteenth, and even the early seventeenth century, Brehon law still prevailed in this remote place in the mid west of Ireland.

Sun Oct 28 20:15:23 2012

Barbara Barillas writes from Guatemala
Dear Mrs. Harrison,

Your books were placed on my "recommended list" by Amazon. I read the first one in the series and was hooked, going through all of them in about three weeks via Kindle.
Mara is such a believable and intelligent character and her relationships with her students, her neighors, and the king are a strong point to the stories, as is the description of the Burren. My only criticism is that there is no map! I have poured over the Google Map of the Burren and have even purchased a road map of Ireland to try to get a better fix, so to speak, on the places that play such an important part in the novels. I hope that the places that are tagged as Leahmanah, Catherconnell, and Cathermacnaughten on Google are the same as you have in mind, despite the 500 years difference. I look forward to the next Brehon Mara novel.

Sun Oct 28 19:08:06 2012

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Davoren is such an unusual name, Elizabeth, that I think there may be a very good chance that you could be related to the legal family in North Clare.
Domhnall O'Davoren is my hero - it was so wonderful that he preserved so many of the laws by getting his scholars to copy them out. When I looked through the actual book in the British Library in London and when I saw the handwriting of the boys - and one girl(!) I just trembled with excitement.

Sat Oct 27 18:10:00 2012

Elizabeth writes from Australia
Hello Cora,
I found the first of your 'Burren' series shortly after our new library opened. I was rapt...Mara and her life became so real as I read the books, ordering them ahead at the library so that I always had one at hand until I had read them all. My Irish ancestry is of the Burren, which I have visited on several occasions. I love its stark beauty and uniqueness and its connections to my Irish families (O'Dea, Lee, Davoren/Davoran). To find your series added so much extra knowledge - culturally, historically, geographically and geologically that I not only do appreciate my heritage even more but feel a close affinity to it. I too have visited Cahermachten - the site of the law school and wondered so much about its history. Now I understand why its so special. As I have Davoren ancestry I now also wonder if my family was originally O'Davoren and whether I can trace my family back to Mara or her relatives. As for Mara, I was able to relate strongly to her in so many ways - what a special character but to know that your story was based on a real person certainly made the series live even more for me. Thank you.

Sat Oct 27 07:41:24 2012

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
I share your frustration with the lack of resources for the history of pre-Elizabethan 16th century Ireland. I think that the most fruitful are books or articles on local history where someone has gone to the trouble of tracking down all the available resources. I found such books and articles very useful for the history of the Burren and north-west Clare in that era.
For a more generalized approach 'Gaelic and Gaelicized Ireland in the Middle Ages' by K.W. Nicholls is scholarly and detailed.
For law, my 'bible' is Fergus Kelly's 'Early Irish Law'. My copy is dog-eared and bristles with post-it notes.

I'm delighted that you like the characters. I'm rather fond of Mara, myself. I always know what she is going to say or do - rather as though we have many friends for years and years!

Thu Oct 18 15:37:08 2012

Charlotte writes from England
Dear Ms Harrison
I don't usually leave messages like this, but having come across your guestbook I can't resist! I've been thoroughly enjoying your books for several months now and would like to say how delighted I was to find them! Other historical mysteries series that I have read have been great in details but very lacking in character depths - so refreshing to find both so well written.
I've been fascinated by 16th century Ireland for many years, and am currently doing in-depth research, but find it very difficult to find good sources to work with. Might I ask how you've achieved your research, particularly into the details of the Brehon laws? I see that you've mentioned before working with sources at hand - might I been very cheeky and ask what these are?
Many thanks, C.

Wed Oct 17 11:39:39 2012

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
I'm as delighted that you found Mulloughmore as that you like my books. What a magical place it is - especially in May.

I set my books in the early days of Henry VIII as the summers then were, apparently, wonderfully fine warm summers. If only we could get them back again! When the sun is out, the Burren sparkles.

It was finding the remains of the law school at Cahermacnaghten which gave me the infpiration for the Mara stories.

Fri Oct 12 16:51:59 2012

sylvia writes from usa
Helllo Ms Harrison, I am just writing to let you know I have been captured by your books. I found them after my last visit to Ireland in 2010. I think I have read them all. I love the Burren area and went there in September. Of course I read 2 of you books while there. Last time in 2010 we went to CaherMacnaughton, unaware it would show up as a Brehon law school in your books. Since, we have been to many of Maras places, your stories add a lot of color to the memories of them.
You really know your neighborhood well. I kept asking about you in the burren this time, one fellow at Dysert O'dea knew you. you live in my favorite part of Ireland, thanks for bringing out the flora that lives there. We even found Mullaghmore mountain. Keep writing!! You have a real gift for it.

Fri Oct 12 15:57:57 2012

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Great minds think alike...

My agent came up with a similar suggestion a couple of weeks ago. He suggested sending one or two of the cholars to Tudor London...

Mon Oct 8 09:58:01 2012

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Richard: I think that is a very good idea. It would probably be easier to have it on my website as publishers are very fussy and difficult about any additions to books, other than the usual acknowledgements etc. For years I have been pleading for a map of the Burren, showing the places where Mara visited, but they have not been keen.

Mon Oct 8 09:54:48 2012

Richard J. Vielbig
Ms. Harrison, I saw and heard your presentation at the last Feilè Fidelma in Cashel. Following it, I had picked up your first Burren mystery: My Lady Judge. I totally enjoyed it. I am reading its sequel now and hope to complete the series.

Might you be persuaded to write a "forward/introduction" to the next book in this series or post online a "typical" milieu of "life" in this period of Irish history for us who are not as familiar with it as you are. Thank you

Mon Oct 8 07:53:17 2012

Michael writes from USA
Thanks for responding. I thought that "Burke" was a typo because you have written a lot about Burke in the last two or three books and you mentioned about Brutus just before calling Margaret a Burke.
I think it was interesting to show how the two laws conflicted in Laws in Conflict. Mara is certainly portrayed as a strong woman, smart and quick-witted. There have been enough women in history to indicate that one could have been that bold and survived. I think the portrayal of the English law is a good example of its basic inhumane basis, especially how it is supposed to be based on Christian tenets. The Irish law is much more humane. It does seem, however, that murder is rather accepted without rancor in the Burren. Of course, the people who are murdered are generally not sympathetic figures.
I like the idea of including Galway and since there is so much interchange between the two areas, I could see more such action occurring. I would also like to see more
of the other two O'Brien kingdoms included, and to see Mara's students go out on their own, but calling on her for help. You have given the kids enough character development to have stories...

Thu Oct 4 10:16:27 2012

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Michael: I'm afraid that was just a careless error - yes, of course, Margaret Lynch was a 'Blake', not a 'Burke' - I think because I had quite a bit about Ulick Burke and his family in other books I just made a slip.

re the other matter, I think that Mara's concern always is that a crime should be admitted and that retribution should be offered - whether it was needed or not.

If you want me to reply privately you could send me your email address (it would not be published) and then I would reply to that.

Opinion seems to be divided about whether it was a good idea or not to take Mara out of her home environment in the Burren and set one of her cases in the anglicized city of Galway. What do you think?

Tue Oct 2 17:11:24 2012

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
That's very nice of you, Michael, to think of that.

However, there is no problem as I see all messages before putting them onto the guestbook, or the children's message board. I can therefore remove all 'spoilers' from the message or just answer without putting the message on.

Thanks for the compliment - I'm no expert and write with three Brehon law books by my side.

Mon Oct 1 08:08:00 2012

Michael writes from USA
I have read all of the Mara books and recommend them. I try solving the mysteries but seldom get them right. I am amazed at how much law you know to be able to use it to write the novels. I have some questions about Laws in Conflict. I don't want to ask the questions in an open forum so I won't spoil the ending. Is there any way to ask the questions through a website or your publisher?

Mon Oct 1 05:23:21 2012

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
I hope that when you were in Doolin, Leonie, that you took the opportunity to visit the Aran Islands - they are so incredibly beautiful, and would, of course, be part of the kingdom ruled by King Turlough Donn in the sixteenth century. I set quite a bit of the story of 'Eye of Law' there and they are also a backdrop for 'Deed of Murder'.
Thanks for the praise - it's very nice of you to take the trouble to write.

Sun Sep 16 08:30:59 2012

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