Cora Harrison

Cora Harrison

Mullaghmore mountain on the Burren, County Clare, Ireland

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Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Dear Ali,

I think you are like me - I read fast, also and when I like a book I can't wait to read the next in the series.

I'm just on the last pages of writing book 6. Like you, I'm fond of Nuala and there's quite a bit about her in this book. It's fun to write lots of books set in the same place and bringin in the same characters as a backdrop to the mystery. I was just passing the ruins of Lissylisheen the other day and I could almost picture Ardal O'Lochlainn on his strawberry mare riding down the road ahead of me!

My brother lives in Australia - in Sydney - and he loves Austalia and says that Ireland in his memories (we lived in Cork) is such a miserable place - always raining. However the there were a few wonderful summers in the beginning of the reign of King Henry VIII so I feel justified in letting the sun shine!

Sun Jun 27 07:35:37 2010

Ali writes from Australia
I have just finished all 5 of the Burren mysteries (in less than a month I'm afraid). I have now posted them all to my mother. She'll love them too, I'm sure. Please write more soon!
I love the way the characters are so fully described, yet there are not too many to keep track of. I think my favourite may be young Nuala, although I love all the characters. You describe the exuberance of all the youngsters so well. I can picture them them gambolling about like puppies when released from their lessons.
I am so pleased there is another series to enjoy describing the very interesting early justice system of Ireland. I also love Peter Tremayne's books.
Burren sounds like a fascinating place. Yet another interesting location to visit...

Sun Jun 27 03:48:12 2010

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
I've just read your email, Carol - have just returned from Scotland.
Thanks for the compliments. Like you and your daughter, I and my daughter share a taste in reading and she was the one that recommended Ellis Peters 'Brother Cadfael' books to me - I think they certainly were part of my inspiration for my own 'Mara' books.

Sat Jun 19 21:31:31 2010

Carol Cook writes from Canada
Dear Cora, Have just finished reading "My Lady Judge", a delightful book and introduction to the past.
I must tell you how this all came about. In an email to my favourite mystery book shop, (walls lined with books and ladders to climb to reach them, and a little dog, Percy, whom I haven't met as yet) I asked for recommendation for an Irish mystery, by an Irish person, living in Ireland, to be read prior to visiting Ireland. You have introduced my daughter, granddaughter and myself to a part of Ireland, we never knew existed. We did get to visit the Burrens and walk around, and oh, so very sorry we had not more time. The three of us loved the area and wished we could have stayed to explore.
What a treasure to be able to read such a lovely storey and relate to where it took place. Thank you, Cora. Fortunately, my granddaughter, Meghan, is a "reader" and I will give her your book for she and her Mom, to enjoy. We had only a week, a celebration of a young lady's 16th birthday and a chance for us all to be together and see where parts of us came from.
Sincerely, Carol Cook

Thu Jun 17 03:40:52 2010

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Thanks, Tricia, that's great to hear! I'm busy with number six now and hope that you will enjoy that also when it is published.

Fri Jun 11 14:32:56 2010

Tricia writes from England
Dear Cora,
Having visited Ireland on numerous occasions, I was thrilled to discover your Brehon books......and now I'm completely hooked. We've just come back from Ballyvaughan, it was wonderful to visit places mentioned in your books, made me feel really close to Mara....she's such a charismatic person.
I'm now on my 4th book, and once again can't put it down.
Once again .....thank you

Wed Jun 9 13:08:58 2010

Francis Close writes from Northern Ireland
Hi Cora.........just ordered 15 copies of the Famine Secret at Drumshee from Tara Book Co......................thanks very much.............I look forward to doing it with the children in September..........................Maybe we will see you in the Glens sometime in the school year 2010-2011.....will keep in touch...........

Thanks again and all the best

Francis Close (Principal, Glenann Primary School, Cushendall, Co. Antrim)

Tue Jun 1 15:40:09 2010

Rebecca writes from France
Hello again!

The family were very touched to be remembered after by "a world famous author" (as Tabi put it!) and send you their best wishes. Yes, I remember Sarah and James although we weren't in the same year, and I also remember taking Mara for walks in Dawbourne woods. I have very happy memories of St Michael's and do often wonder if my own teaching style is a reflection of the many teachers who have touched my life over the years.
I was also amused to see that you share a love of French wine with your main character. The whole culture of food and drink that there is in France is one of my favourite aspects I must admit, although my love affair with all things french started after a family holiday whilst at secondary school. After Ashford Girls, I went on to study French and Spanish at Durham and spent my third year abroad, 6 months in Madrid and 6 months in Nice where I met my future husband. I have been teaching in the French school system as an official 'fonctionnaire' for 4 years now but recently went back to university to start a phD in American cinema studies. As I am working at the same time I won't be looking to present my thesis before another 3 or 4 years if everything goes to plan!
You always encouraged me to do my best at school and even today you are an inspiration to me as you have done so much in your life in different fields which proves that if you put your mind to something you can do it. So I just wanted to say again what a pleasure it was to discover your books and I will let you know how my own attempt at writing (my thesis) evolves.

Best wishes,

Sat May 29 14:08:12 2010

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Dear Rebecca,

How wonderful to hear from you!

Yes, you are quite right. Mara was my dog when you were at primary school. Do you remember Year 6 volunteers playing hide-and-go-seek with her in the wood across the road?

My heroine wasn't Mara in the beginning. Her name was Macha, which is an ancient Irish name, but everyone in England, my agent, the publisher and my editor seemed to have great difficulty in pronouncing it with the proper 'huh' sound in the middle so they asked me to change it. I thought of 'Mara' my so intelligent, so feisty dog, and so renamed her.

I love France - everything about it - language, literature, countryside, wine (especially the wine) and so quite envy you.

Nice to know that you enjoyed the books. I've heard from sarah Bilik - do you remember her? And met James Warren and a few others when I went to Tenterdern for the launch of 'My Lady Judge'.

Please give my love to your mum and to Tabitha, and to yourself, of course. You were a very bright girl and I'm sure make a very good teacher.

Thu May 20 17:15:26 2010

Rebecca Landi née Franklin writes from Nice, France
Dear Mrs Harrison,

I was delighted to discover the first book in your Burren Series, especially as I'm one of your old St Michael's Primary School pupils and have many fond memories of my time there and of you as our headmistress! My mother came across 'My Lady Judge', got hooked and sent me the first two installments of the series for Christmas. I have only just got round to reading them and was delighted by the setting, characters and storylines. Although my first thought when seeing the name Mara was of your puppy back at primary school, I'm sure that was her name!?

I've followed in your footsteps and am now an English teacher in France, so more grammar than literature, but still very interesting. I won't bore you with any more details, but I just wanted to say what a delight it was to discover your work.

Best regards,

Thu May 20 15:41:26 2010

Nina Meyer writes from USA
Dear Ms Howard,

I just finished your STING OF JUSTICE. It was such a delightful book with a twist at the end. I have added your books to the list of must have books. Thank you for you wonderful writing and the hours of enjoyment I got reading it.


Wed May 12 12:21:40 2010

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Jackie: I'm about quarter of the way through 'Summons to Labour' and it's going well! It should be out in the UK in September. US is always a few months later, I think.

Larry: I'm glad you said that about writing well about young people. These bits just write themselves. I think that those six boys are as real to me as kids that I have actually taught.
A year or so ago I actually saw, in the British Library, the manuscript of Brehon Laws written at Cahermacnaghten. It was compiled by Domhnall O'Davoren and his scholars. They seemed a very bright sparky crew - complaining in marginalia about their master and the food and joking about Semus and the drink.
At the moment I am struggling with what to do about Enda. I like him very much but he has just passed his final examinations and really should go out into the world. I am so sorry to part with him as he is a great favourite of mine.

Shauna: Yes, I did send to that address - but I have re-sent so hopefully it should arrive. I think emails are a bit strange at the moment with all this volcanic dust over Ireland.

Wed May 12 10:51:38 2010 writes from Larry Mitchell - Canada
Just finished A SECRET AND UNLAWFUL KILLING and enjoyed it very much. You write beautifully with a deep understanding of children and the young. I was charmed from the get-go and look forward to reading the rest in the Mara series.
I am requesting my library to track down some of your childrens books. Even tho I am 64 I love to read quality childrens literature.
From some of what I've read hear it may be difficult finding some of your books here in Western Canada. However, there is always Amazon and I understand much of your stuff is available there.
Thank you so much for the great pleasure you have given me.
Warm regards,

Tue May 11 04:28:04 2010

Jackie Wallace writes from USA

Just finished your last book Eye of the Law and have read all six so far. I pray you are writing another as I need to know if Mara has her baby or not. Wonderful writing. My friends are enthralled with your books also and can hardly wait for me to finish each book so they can read them.

Tue May 11 00:02:01 2010

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Morag: I agree with you about Amazon. I spend a lot of my money there. Living as I do in the remote west of Ireland it is hard tofind any much other than the latest bestseller in bookshops. Once you have found out about a book you can get it on Amazon.
I'm so pleased that you like my 'Mara' book. I am just writing book 6 at the moemnt and am pleased to find that it flows along and almost writes itself. More often than not it is some one of the Brehon laws that triggers a book. In book 5 it was the law that said a woman on her death bed must be believed when she names the true father of her child.
intersting about Saxon law. I must confess I know nothing about it. I must look it up.

Sheena: I have listened to the auido edition of the first two books and thought they was very well done. The reader got advice from Galway university - and that's great.

Shauna: I hope that map of places was ok and that you could open the file. It would be wonderful to have a real map on my website.

Sun May 9 20:31:24 2010

Sheena Rennie writes from Yorkshire
I am SO pleased to find your web-site - but even more happy to have found "My Lady Judge" on my library shelves. For information to Eileen McCarthy Burbage who wrote earlier - I found it first as a talking book, read by a very authentic-souding Irish voice which gives some hints at pronounciation. I have now listened to that twice and read the paper copy twice thinking I might have to wait years before finding another story!
I, along with many of your other correspondents, feel that Brehon Law seemed so much more humane and sensible! Bring it back!! Interestingly my brother-in-law tells me that in fact English law prior to the landing of the Normans was similar.
I look forward to meeting with Mara again soon. Thank you for all.

Sun May 9 18:14:19 2010

Morag Rothwell writes from Milton Keynes England
Dear Ms Harrison,

I discovered your "Burren" books about a month ago in my library, they are fantastic! I'll now be buying them to read again and again! Your descriptions of the law and the land and the people have awakened an interest in me to find out more. It's such a shame that a "conquering" people have to try and stamp out things they look down on or feel are "outdated and simple". The Brehon laws sound so much more practical and logical, as you say, what is the point in putting some one in prison for what was really no crime at all. I'm looking forward to reading your London books as soon as I find them. Thank goodness for Amazon! My daughter now knows exactly what to get me for birthdays etc. Thank you!

Sat May 8 19:17:45 2010

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Dear Mr Hornbeck,

Thank you for the nice compliment.

The first three books in the Burren series were published by Pan Macmillan. Through them I signed a hundred copies at Goldsburo books shop in Cecil Court, Covent Garden, London and I think subsequently these appeared on the Internet.

The hardback books 4,5,6,7 are now being published By Severn House who have an Internet and Amazon presence, but do not seem to have much of a shop presence. I have not been asked to sign any copies of 'Writ in Stone'.

Have you tried the online bookshop, Kennys of Galway? If they have any or could be persuaded to stock some then I would be very happy to go across to Galway and sign them there.

Tue May 4 09:15:25 2010

Ron Hornbeck writes from Charleston, South Carolina
Good afternoon, Ms. Harrison,

I'm trying to find a signed copy of Writ in Stone. I have purchased signed copies of all of the earlier titles in the Burren series, which I really enjoy! I collect modern medieval fiction writers and other historical fiction writers dealing with Anglo-Irish topics. I have tried all of my usual sources but cannot locate a signed edition of Writ in Stone. Can you help by mentioning some of the bookstores in the British Isles or the US where you have signed copies? Or, have you not signed many copies?

Looking forward to hearing from you,

Mon May 3 18:57:29 2010

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Dear Shauna,

It would be fantastic if you could do this. Would you be willing to send me your email adddress (it would not go on the website) and I will send you something that I roughed out when Macmillan were interested in putting a map in the books.

Who knows but sales might pick up as I hear there is a film producer interested in making a series. That would be so wonderful!

Mon May 3 08:43:13 2010

Shauna McKain-Storey writes from United States

Yes, I heard from some bookshop people there that your books were "not in fashion" now. But maybe if enough pesky Americans ask for them, they'll realize they are missing some sales opportunities. Maybe the Irish feel the weight of their history a bit too much still, and aren't as willing to mix it with entertainment. Yet.
I wish that more Americans would take history a bit more seriously. And be more informed.
I think making a map would be fun. I'll give it a try. I'll let you know when I'm done and you can tell me if you'd like me to email it to you.

Cheers, Shauna

Mon May 3 04:22:56 2010

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
These people at Caher Connell are always being told that they should stock my book - mostly by Americans! They write it down and then do nothing.
Oddly enough the books seem to sell badly in Ireland. It's much easier to get them in Britain.
Perhaps the Irish are not interested in their past.
re the map, I was told by my publishers that they were not willing to pay anyone to do it, and it would seem too much to ask anyone to do it free of charge. i would love to have a semi-pictorial one with little pictures of tower houses etc. but alas...
I'm so sorry that you were ill during your trip. How miserable!

Sun May 2 21:57:16 2010

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Eileen: There are quite a few pronunciation guides on the Internet - one in particular called Guide to Gaelic Pronunciation for Beginners.
It sounds a bit feeble that I don't produce one myself, but I am not very good at Gaelic, though fascinated by it, and I am not a linguist so may lead people astray.

Sun May 2 21:54:16 2010

Eileen McCarthy Burbage writes from USA
I was wondering if there was a pronounciation guide to the Gaelic words used in the book. My grandparents who were both born in Kerry and my dad who lived in Ireland as a boy are not here to help me with the pronounciation. Can you point me to somewhere that I can find the correct pronounciation?
Thank you,

Eileen McCarthy Burbage

Fri Apr 30 05:14:11 2010

Shauna McKain-Storey writes from United States

Yes, we had great weather in the Burren. I asked for your books all over Ireland, but only found Dha Chorp and one of the Drumshee books. The 1st will take me a while, but I enjoyed the 2nd (Secret of 1798, I think.) My group enjoyed the Caher Connell site (I think it was entirely covered in brambles when we saw it last,) and I told the people there that they really should stock your Burren mysteries in the shop, since the fort figures in them so prominently. They wrote your name down, so maybe they will!
I was wondering if there was any progress on posting a map on your website. I'm an artist, as may be others of your fans, and maybe one of us could help.
Glad you got a break, and hope you enjoyed it even more than I did mine (I got a bit sick while there.)

Cheers! Shauna from Oregon

Thu Apr 29 19:39:39 2010

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