Author Interview: Jamie Baywood

by - Wednesday, September 18, 2013

My Book and My Coffee welcomes Jamie Baywood, author of Getting Rooted in New Zealand (a funny travel memoir).

Ara: Hello lovely readers! Jamie Baywood will be joining us today for an interview.

Hi Jamie! It’s really nice to have this opportunity to talk to you even just for a bit. I’m Ara and welcome to my blog. :P So, please tell us a little bit about yourself.

Jamie: I’m from California. For the past three years, I’ve been disassembling and reassembling my life by moving to different countries. I’ve lived in five countries now; America, American Samoa, New Zealand, Scotland and England.

Ara: AWESOME! I’ve read your bio and I just have to say that I am really impressed. Your courage to make such a major decision and leave everything behind and start a sort of new life in another country is just so inspiring. What made you do that? Was there an event in your life that made you decide to go abroad all of a sudden? I know it said that it was an “impulsive decision” – as in you didn’t really think twice? I am really curious as you can see. :)

Jamie: I just had had enough with California. I didn’t feel like I could grow there anymore. I felt stifled and was completely bombarded by crazy guys trying to date me. In my mid-twenties, I had bad dating experiences in California and always dreamt of living abroad. I read in a tour book that New Zealand’s population had 100,000 fewer men than women. In the attempt to have some ‘me time’ I moved to New Zealand.

Ara: I see... And now, you live in the United Kingdom, right? Well, you certainly love to travel. :) I AM JEALOUS. Hahaha. I want to go there, too! :) Last year, we visited France and Germany and I was like... “next vacation should include the UK!” :D Do you plan to go back to California?

Jamie: I highly recommend visiting Scotland and Wales if you visit the UK. I’ve lived in Scotland in 2012 and now I’m staying in England until 2014. We’ll be moving in 2014, but I’m not sure where yet. I have no plans to go back to California to live. I am open to live just about anywhere in the world. Any suggestions?

Ara: Oh. Thank you for your suggestions. Well, France, perhaps? :) So, let’s talk about your book, Getting Rooted in New Zealand. I understand that this is your first book. Please tell us more about it. What inspired you to write this memoir? 

Jamie: I consider myself an accidental author. I didn’t go to New Zealand with the intentions of writing a book about my experiences there. I had funny experiences that I had trouble believing were true. I wrote the stories down to stay sane. I wrote situations down that were happening around me and shared them with friends. The stories made people laugh so I decided to organize the stories into a book and publish in the hopes to make others laugh too.

I was very lucky in New Zealand to meet a lot of talented people. I had the opportunity to write and perform for Thomas Sainsbury the most prolific playwright in New Zealand. I performed a monologue about my jobs in the Basement Theatre in Auckland.

The funny thing about that experience was Tom kept me separated from the other performers until it was time to perform. I was under the impression that all the performers were foreigners giving their experiences in New Zealand. All of the other performers were professional actors telling stories that weren’t their own. At first I was mortified, but the audience seemed to enjoy my “performance,” laughing their way through my monologue. After the shows we would go out and mingle with the audience. People would ask me how long I had been acting. I would tell them, “I wasn’t acting; I have to go to work tomorrow and sit next to the girl wearing her dead dog’s collar.” No one believed I was telling the truth.

Getting Rooted in New Zealand is available in paperback and ebook on Amazon

Craving change and lacking logic, at 26, Jamie, a cute and quirky Californian, impulsively moves to New Zealand to avoid dating after reading that the country's population has 100,000 fewer men. In her journal, she captures a hysterically honest look at herself, her past and her new wonderfully weird world filled with curious characters and slapstick situations in unbelievably bizarre jobs. It takes a zany jaunt to the end of the Earth and a serendipitous meeting with a fellow traveler before Jamie learns what it really means to get rooted.

Jamie Baywood can be followed on the following sites:

Ara: I soooo love that cover!

Jamie: Thank you I designed the cover myself. The girl with the suitcase is a drawing of me. The striped dress and red hat was my first outfit I bought when I moved to New Zealand. The birds are New Zealand native birds like the kiwi and fan tail. The city is Auckland and the tower is New Zealand’s Skytower. The sky in the back ground and the water are pieces of a watercolor painting I did of the New Zealand coastline.

Ara: Wow, you are very talented! Jamie, I’ve read a lot of really awesome reviews about your book. *high five* :) It’s really very impressive. How does it feel to know that there are people that can relate to some of your experiences?

Jamie: I feel very grateful that for the most part readers understand my sense of humor. I’m always surprised and grateful when I receive a positive review. I thought my book would mostly appeal to young women in their 20s or 30s. I was happily surprised by having a couple of men emailing me telling me they loved my book and can’t wait to read the next one.

I don’t consider myself a representative of America and I don’t consider my book a representation of New Zealand. It’s my dairy, not a travel guide. Publishing my book was my way of transforming poison into medicine. I hope that it can help people that have had bad dating experiences or bad work experiences – make them laugh and not give up hope. I had good, bad and weird experiences in New Zealand and California. My experiences have turned me into a writer and I am extremely grateful for that. People that read it either seem to think it’s hilarious or horrifying and I respect all points of view. I hope my book Getting Rooted in New Zealand makes you laugh!

Ara: I'm sure we will enjoy the book! I've seen so many great reviews. I know (coz I’ve read somewhere) that you have a second book! YAY! Is it almost done? If you could, please tell us what we can expect on your next book.

Jamie: My next book will be about attempting to settle down in Scotland. I plan to divide my books by the countries I’ve lived in.

Ara: Really? I'm sure it will be really interesting! Jamie, do you have advice to bloggers out there who want to become a writer?

Jamie: Believe in yourself.

Ara: Thank you for that advice, Jamie. Before we end this interview, I really have to ask these:

Coffee, sweet tea or hot cocoa?

Jamie: Coffee.

Ara: If you have to choose one fiction book as your ultimate favourite, which will it be?

Jamie: Game of Thrones.

Ara: And lastly, who is your favourite ‘friend’ from F.R.I.E.N.D.S.?

Jamie: Phoebe.

Thank you soooo much for answering all of my questions, Jamie. You are FAB!

More about the Author: 

Jamie Baywood grew up in Petaluma, California. In 2010, she made the most impulsive decision of her life by moving to New Zealand. Getting Rooted in New Zealand is her first book about her experiences living there. Jamie is now married and living happily ever after in the United Kingdom. She is working on her second book.

Ara of My Book and My Coffee

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