Cora Harrison

Cora Harrison

Mullaghmore mountain on the Burren, County Clare, Ireland

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Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Dear Kevin,

Many congratulations. Selsted is a lovely school and I have very many happy memories of it.

As to the girl who was struck by lightning when touching the steel rope which rang the school bell, I think it was in the log book for that era - probably in Maidstone now.
However, this is about thirty years ago now so I may be wrong. I do remember that lots of the elderly residents in the Swingfield/Selsted area remembered it clearly.
Mrs Reynolds (Hawkes) who was caretaker of the school and lived in the schoolhouse, told me, I'm pretty sure, that her mother was there at the time.

Sorry I can be of no more help - do keep in touch, though, if anything else occurs to you.

I wonder whether the trees my class grew from acorns and a chestnut in 1976 are still there? I remember that Stevie Hawkes, the mother of two of your pupils, planted the horse chestnut one!

Best of luck with everything,


Tue Sep 29 15:06:54 2009

Kevin Bailey writes from England
Dear Cora
Please excuse this message out of the blue.
I'm the new head of Selsted Primary and I was reading a booklet you wrote about the area of Swingfield some years back.
In it you mention a child at the school struck by lightening. Can you tell me the information source for this please? Our top class wish to carry out a study of the school in Victorian times so it would be good to have a starting point we can look at.
Many thanks Kevin Bailey

Tue Sep 29 05:20:55 2009

Cora Harrison
Dear Ann,

Which poem was it? If you'd let me know then I could help you further.
Thanks for your interest.

Mon Sep 28 13:56:12 2009

Dear Cora,

I was just wondering if you would have an email address that I could contact you on, regarding usage of one of your poems in a book? Or would I be better off contacting the publishing house (?) directly?

Sorry for posting to the message board but I couldn't find any other contact details for you!

Thanks in advance - I look forward to hearing back from you.


Mon Sep 28 10:35:40 2009

Janet Briggs writes from England
Dear Cora
Thank you for your message about maps of the Burren in your books. A map would certainly help me to understand better the relationship between the various places in the book - sometimes this is important. Publishers manage it with other authors, am I right in thinking that Peter Tremayne sometimes has a map in his books?

A map drawn by you would be most acceptable and I look forward to seeing one one day!

Kind regards

Wed Sep 23 14:14:35 2009

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Dear Janet,

I have actually mentioned that to my publishers a few times, but they were not keen.

I suppose it might be possible to put a map on this website - it might be just a bit amateur - drawn by me, but it would give an idea of what is where for those who do not know the Burren.

What do you think?

Many thanks for your praise for the series,


Thu Sep 17 18:10:26 2009

Janet Briggs writes from England
Dear Cora
I'm so pleased I read about your books in my paper, I am loving them - I'm reading The Sting of Justice at the moment. I just how wonder if the Brehon law would work today, but it would be worth a try! I have just one request, could you have a map of the Burren printed in the books? It would be so helpful to be able to follow Mara's travels, and to see where the characters live.

Wed Sep 16 15:10:49 2009

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Thanks, Bruce. Your message has inspired in me a thought that it would be very interesting if someone would write a history of Brehon law starting from its probable origins and ending in its demise in the 16th/17th century.
That, I think, is probably for Peter Tremayne to do - he is the historian; I am just a teller of tales with a deep interest in Brehon law.

Wed Sep 2 15:21:20 2009

Bruce Carney writes from USA
Hi Cora,
I am a 4th generation Irish-American and over the generations our family has become the true "melting-pot" with many different ethnicities. About a decade ago I went through a rediscovery of my heritage with the Sister Fidelma series by P.Tremayne. I'd like to thank you for adding to that process with the Burren novels. The millenia that transpires between the two series leaves me constantly thirsting for more information. I eagerly await your 4th addition to the series which will be available here in a few months and I was thrilled to learn that you plan a 5th addition in 2010. So many Irish-Americans know little of their cultural history and your series gives us much to learn and be proud of. Thank You

Wed Sep 2 13:36:10 2009

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Just got your message.

No, book 3 is 'Sting of Justice' and it is set in the late autumn of 1509 and 'Writ in Stone' book 4, is set in Christmas of the same year.

Severn House are bringing out book 5 'Eye of the Law' in March 2010

I did sign a hundred copies of 'Sting of Justice' for a shop in London, but have not got around to thinking about 'Writ in Stone' yet. It comes out on September 1.

Are you in England or in America?

Sun Aug 23 18:40:30 2009

Hi Cora,

I love your books! I originally had your new book down as "Writ in Stone." Is that the same as "The Sting of Justice."

Because I have your prior books as signed, 1st editions, I should like to continue that. Where will be you signing so that I might contact them?

Thank you,

Sun Aug 23 18:22:05 2009

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Dear Pauline,

I'm sorry I'm so late in replying. I put it off until I could look up the matter in 'My Lady Judge' and then forgot to answer.

Yes, you are quite right - Turlough did have four sons in book 1 - I'm not sure where I got this piece of information from because most histories only mention Conor and Murrough.

To be honest, I didn't realise, when I wrote that first book, that Turlough would become so important. I had in mind that Mara would turn him down and stick to her status as a professional woman, but I fell for his charm, myself!

Thanks for your praise and for your interest in the books.

Sat Aug 22 14:34:51 2009

Pauline Groves writes from England
As with your other correspondents, I am really enjoying your books. As I have also read the Sister Fidelma series, it has been interesting to see the changes from one era to the other. You books have more meaning now as I was lucky enough to visit The Burren this year and I can now put the events and characters in place.
I am curious about one thing, however - in book one, Turlough had four sons - what happened to the other two - or were they merely inconvenient for the ensuing plots?

Thu Aug 20 13:33:37 2009

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

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