Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Getting to Know You – Sunday Interview – Author Janet Gogerty

My guest Janet Gogerty, entertained us earlier in the year with posts from her archives, including avoiding embarrassing silences on the telephone thanks to the Invention of the email

Before we discover which questions Janet has chosen to share with us today, here is the official bio.

About Janet Gogerty

I have been writing frantically for 10 years and still enjoy being part of two writing groups. I am inspired by anything and everything and enjoy writing about ordinary people; but usually they find themselves experiencing strange events! When I was encouraged to tackle a novel my daughter suggested I use my short story ‘Brief Encounters of the Third Kind’ as she wanted to know what happened to Emma, whose fate had been left in the air at the end of the story.

The novel became a trilogy, Three Ages of Man and finally Lives of Anna Alsop, published in March 2015.I enjoy writing fiction of any length and have had many short stories published online. I have just published my fourth collection of short stories Someone Somewhere which includes two novellas. I also write a regular blog ‘Sandscript‘ at Goodreads. My website long ago took on a life of its own with new words and pictures regularly; visit to read short stories and other items.

Now to find out something more about Janet…..

Welcome Janet and can you tell us what is your favourite music genre and why?

People who know me, or have to put up with me, would say Classical is my genre, but rather like my novels I don’t stick to genres. The narrowest definition of Classical is music written in the European tradition, approximately 1750 to 1830, when the symphony was standardized. Yes I do like music from that period and the symphony orchestra is an amazing creation to listen to and watch, but most people think of the bigger picture.

According to taste, classical music could be any music you find boring, anything they play on BBC Radio Three and Classic FM, or works performed at The Proms. Perhaps all music that has stood the test of time is the best definition.

Two easier questions to answer

‘Can you live without music?’


‘What music don’t you like?’

Anything involving Pan Pipes, Sondeim or the Eurovision Song Contest… plus a collection of pieces and songs from all genres that make me lose the will to live. For example, ever since I was a child I could not stand Moon River.

But I do love all sorts of music, whether it’s on the radio livening up cooking and housework through to the ultimate, live performances.

I have sat wanting Riverdance to never end ( I’m sure the dancers did want it to end ), seen Phantom of the Opera four times, been taken totally out of the dreary surroundings of a school hall when a Bhangra band burst onto the stage and been blasted out of this world by Verdi’s Requiem.

If the symphony orchestra is at the heart of classical music the concert hall is pure theatre; from the moment you trip over feet finding your seat, watching the orchestra tune up, the ritual of the leader coming on, applause, the conductor coming on, even more applause and no one’s done anything yet. If there is not a great choral work being presented then some audience members sit in the choir seats behind the orchestra, looking down upon the percussion section. Plenty of composers have written BIG symphonies and how happy the percussion players look as they get a chance to strike the timpani and clash the huge cymbals; we wait with bated breath to see if the cymbals will fly out of his hands back into the audience in the choir seats. There is drama at the front of the stage also. The development of the iron frame piano in the 1800s was the best thing to happen to keyboards, gone were the long dreary evenings of harpsichord. Beethoven led the way to testosterone fuelled concertos, Rachmaninov, with his famously long fingers, stretched them beyond imagination. Sitting in row C gazing up at the shiny grand piano played by an international soloist beats seeing a tiny figure in the distance at a pop concert.

Meanwhile back in the kitchen, what do I recommend for dancing round doing the dishes?

The original recording of Benny Goodman at Carnegie Hall in 1938, ‘Sing Sing, Sing’; twelve minutes of Swing heaven and heart stopping drums. I guess ‘you had to be there’, but for those of us that weren’t you can get the CD. ‘Forty Second Street’ is one of my favourite musical numbers and a playing of the original film at our little local Art Decor cinema remains a highlight of my cinema experiences. Or how about a waltz? The waltzes from Carousel the musical and Khachaturian’s Masquerade Suite are both life affirming and energising.

On Saturday evenings BBC Radio Three often broadcasts Live From The Met. While audiences in New York are enjoying a matinee opera, I am cooking dinner. I enjoy the presenters with their mellifluous voices telling us the story, talking about the scenery and costumes; then when the opera actually starts I’m usually bored after fifteen minutes! Sometimes it’s better just to hear the best bits.

We all have rhythm, we all have a heart beat. Babies like simple tunes, our ancestors sung round the fire outside their caves when there was little else to do. But music evolved, chords and harmony appeared, musicians started writing it down. You don’t need to be a music expert to enjoy listening, all you need to know is that music is an amazing combination of pure mathematics and mystery. Who can analyse why certain music sends shivers down our spine?

Those of us who tried and failed to learn any instrument properly will have been left with great admiration for real musicians, who have reached their pinnacle with hard work as well as talent. But in my novel, Brief Encounters of the Third Kind, a very ordinary couple, who know nothing about the musical world, find themselves with a child genius. And Emma’s mother has good reason to fear that her daughter is not an ordinary human, not even human at all…

Sally here: Janet has given me plenty of music to choose from, and avoiding those pieces that might cause her to leave the room.. here is Benny Goodman with Sing, sing, sing.. not at the Carnegie Hall but should have you jiving and doing the Lindy Hop all around the kitchen…

If you were given a million dollars what would you do with it?

A million dollars really isn’t that much, if my maths is right that would be about £740,000 Stirling, lots of people have houses worth more than that. People win more than that on Mega Euro Lottery. So I’m going to give it all away.

I might keep a little, throw everything out of the kitchen and buy multi-coloured stuff from Steamer Trading and perhaps a drum set (see question 1). But I am banking on getting everything I want with my three wishes.

I shall give it to a clever person who has great ideas, but not enough money to develop them. The idea could be anything from building a solar powered airship to instant environmentally friendly home pods for the homeless and young families. Fellow bloggers can help me with the difficult choice. A million dollars will probably not be enough, but a clever person will get investors interested.

Do you prefer the beach or the mountains and why?

Beach or mountain? If you have looked at my website or read my blogs you may have detected a seaside theme.

No holiday is complete without a walk up a hill and enjoyment of the view. But I have never been up a mountain unless you count the Nevis Ranges. The Nevis Range Mountain Gondola is built on the north face of Aonach Mor, the 8th highest mountain in Britain. Built for skiers, but in summer you can go up and enjoy walking, ‘mountain climbing’ and a cafe… It is fantastic being up there and you can come down again when you like, not like going up Everest. On one Scottish holiday my daughter and our friend climbed Ben Nevis, while my sister and I went on the ferry to the Isle of Mull for the day; ankles, knees and the lack of toilets and coffee shop at the summit ( or half way up ) played a part in our decision.

So the answer is beach. When I was in infant school I had this dream we were going to the seaside, I was all excited, but when we got there the sea was just a narrow strip of water in the school playground. When we finally moved to the coast I fully expected to wake up and find it had all been a dream.

I love the British coast because it is so varied and I never tire of visiting new places. Sand, shingle, craggy rocks, scenery like you see in Poldark and an endless variety of human intervention, for better or worse. I like looking at the waves, paddling, swimming. Unlike mountains, the seaside is accessible to everyone, whether you want to sit in the car with your sandwiches looking at the view, or try the various water sports such as windsurfing.

We were six years on the waiting list for a beach hut, a six by six wooden box on its side, on a piece of concrete rented from the council at an exorbitant rate. But it is worth it to have a refreshment and changing base and a sea view.

What is your favourite holiday and why?

My favourite holiday would be a combination of five Scottish holidays we have had. Three weeks away, visiting friends or relatives on the way up and down and staying at bed and breakfast.

The middle week is spent in a cottage, travelling all the time is no fun and having a washing machine and your own space is vital. The cottage will be on an island or remote cove. If, rather when, it rains I have a lap top and can do some writing. Part of the holiday will be trips to islands; I love going on Caledonian MacBrayne ferries. When the lilting accent comes over the tannoy telling us the emergency drill ‘…please don your life jackets…’ you know you’re in Scottish waters. On this holiday we will go to the very top of Scotland; there is some dispute if John O’Groats is the most northerly tip of the mainland, but it has a beautiful white beach with glistening fragments of shell.

If you were granted three wishes what would they be?

Be careful what you wish for, use your three wishes wisely. I am glad I had time to think.

The first is pure indulgence. A famous British composer, a living one hopefully, excited to find a novel about musicians, reads my novel Brief Encounters of the Third Kind. He or she is overwhelmed and inspired to write what I cannot; the music Emma Dexter has composed. I don’t know how Emma’s music sounds, I do know it is deep and moving and full of melodies: that is why she and her cellist husband are so popular with the general public. The music is received rapturously, some of the works are premiered at The Proms and the great composer is inspired to write the entire opera that takes place at the end of the novel.

Actually I would settle for a totally unknown poverty stricken composer, who becomes famous after being inspired by my novel and writing the opera.

Be careful what you wish for? Supposing I disliked the music and the critics panned the opera?

Sally here: I happen to be a fan of violinist David Garrett and here he is with some say the finest conductor of our times..Riccardo Chailly…you never know Janet..

The second wish is for my own island. Not tropical; rugged, but not bleak. No cars allowed. Perhaps it would be a mix of Iona, Lindisfarne, Rottnest off the Western Australian coast and Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour. Not easily accessible, especially in winter, but not too far from civilisation. There will be an old house, a castle or perhaps a neglected Art Deco hotel.

Sally here: I had several options to offer you Janet, but this one really took my fancy…

I must not waste the third wish. Looking after the dream island and affording to live there will be up to me. I shall establish a settlement of artistic and practical people, we will restore original buildings and create new homes that blend in with the environment, grow food and be sustainable. Not too many people, otherwise the peace of the island will be spoilt, but enough people so I don’t get bored or have to do too much work. I shall spend the days writing and walking or riding around the island on a horse. My wish since I was two was to have a horse, but I can’t spare my third wish, I shall have to buy or rescue a steed. I shall swim in the sheltered cove and chat to the wildlife enthusiasts who are monitoring various exotic creatures.

After Cyberspouse ( I’d better invite him to stay ) has cooked dinner in our cosy turret, evenings will be spent with our talented community, storytelling and playing music. At weekends we will have a film evening on our giant digital television in the community hall, our only concession to the outside world.

But what will happen if these folk don’t all live in harmony or some are too lazy to contribute? Or worse, we get invaded?

My third wish is for a small solar powered airship which will literally be a ship as it will also be able to sail on the oceans. It will be nifty enough to pop on and off the island, but capable of reaching family in Australia and the USA. I hope my island will be in safe hands while I’m away.

The airship will have been designed by the person I gave the million dollars to, he or she will get more orders, the business will flourish and I have shares in it. What could possibly go wrong?

Sally here: I am sure that Lockheed would make you a custom sized personal version, hopefully within the money left after buying your island.

Books by Janet Gogerty.

About Brief Encounters of the Third Kind

In the early years of the Twenty First Century, widow Susan Dexter has more to worry about than the recession. For thirty years she has kept a secret; she is not sure if her daughter is human. New events lead her to other people who need to find the truth.
How do ordinary people cope with the extraordinary?
Mystery, music and medicine are at the heart of this family saga; sub plots are woven amongst several very different love stories, as the characters question what it is to be human and what is reality.

One of the reviews for the book

Brief Encounters of the Third Kind is anything but brief. It is a meaty story that kept me entertained until the end. It left me wanting a sequel. I believe Janet Gogerty has a great story that could lead to further adventures.

The pace is moderate, but there is terrific character development. Each persona is different and robust. Emma is an unusual character and we can see the strain that she is placed under due to her uniqueness, which results in perfectly normal behaviour for someone who is anything but ordinary. We see her in a very human and fallible light.

At times, I was so engrossed in the story and the characters that I forgot that I was reading science fiction. With a few shocking moments toward the end, Brief Encounters of the Third Kind will keep you reading past your bedtime.

I’m rather hoping there are further adventures and that Janet Gogerty writes a follow up. I think we would all like to hear about little Adam. What happens to him? What does he become in time? I found baby Adam fascinating and well written.

If you are looking for a great story, with wonder character development, and a little bit of science fiction, then read Brief Encounters of the Third Kind.

Read the reviews and buy the book:

And on Amazon US:

A selection of other books by Janet Gogerty

Read the reviews and buy the books:

And on Amazon US:

Read more reviews and follow Janet on Goodreads:

Connect to Janet


Thank you so much for joining Janet and I today, I hope you have enjoyed the interview and I am sure that Janet would love your feedback and questions.. Thanks Sally.

I shall be continuing the theme of this Sunday Interview until at leas the end of the year, so if you would like to participate then here are the details. I am currently book slots for the end of September. Look forward to hearing from you.

50 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Getting to Know You – Sunday Interview – Author Janet Gogerty

  1. Thank you so much for welcoming me again on a sunny sunday and for your research to give us all some interesting listening and looking. David Garrett’s concert looks fun and making one’s own island could be a possibility!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – Tahini, August predictions and all that Jazz | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

  3. Sign me up gals to join Janet at her island! Fantastic episode of Getting to Know Janet. I’ve also spent time at a beautiful bed and breakfast in Scotland – now enticed to go back! 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Pingback: Smorgasbord End of Summer Party – Afternoon Tea – Colleen Chesebro, Sue Hampton, Jane Gogerty, Norah Colvin, Jane Risdon, Wendy Janes, Gigi Sedlmayer, Jena C. Henry and Darlene Foster | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

  5. Pingback: Musical Mysteries | Times and Tides of a Beachwriter

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