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Sunday, 8 September 2013

Author Interview : Jamie Baywood

Getting Rooted in New Zealand By Jamie Baywood

Getting Rooted in New Zealand book description:

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.

About the author Jamie Baywood:

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.


What inspired you to write this book? Of course your own personal experience, that is like stating the obvious. But how did you strike upon the idea of writing a book?
While living in New Zealand, 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. Most of the book was written as the events happened; it just took me a few years to work up the nerve to publish. Publishing my book Getting Rooted in New Zealand 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.
They say, writing is a lonely task. That is also the toughest part of a writer’s job. Did you enjoy the solitude?
Although I enjoy my alone time and working for myself as an author, I really am very grateful for feedback about my writing. Nothing makes me happier than making people laugh.

So tell us more about the characters that you have etched for the book? How far do you relate to them?
My book is a true story. My life has been so strange it sounds like fiction, but it is really too weird to be made up. Some of the names of the characters and organizations, but not all have been changed to preserve privacy.

How did you feel writing in varied genre(s)? Was juggling between them a bumpy ride?

As an individual I’ve never fit in easily. I’ve always felt like a bit of a foreigner especially at home in California. It makes sense that my book is a “varied genre.” The best way I can describe it is a funny travel memoir or an accidental true love story within a comedy of errors. The most difficult thing about being a varied genre is most book reviewers only review specific genres like romance, YA, or refuse to read non-fiction. The only thing I can do is be myself, tell my story and hope that readers enjoy reading my book. For the most part I’ve been getting positive feedback.

You are garnering appreciation for the hilarity element of the book. How are you feeling?

I feel very grateful that most readers understand my sense of humor. I’m always relieved and grateful when I receive a positive review. I love hearing from readers that my book is making people laugh out loud.

The hardest part has been when people don’t understand my humor. I have been in a lot of situations where I had two choices: laugh or cry. I’ve chosen to laugh. I write my experiences from a purely personal standpoint. Compared to other travelers who worked abroad in NZ my experiences have been very unusual. I would highly recommend everyone goes to New Zealand to experience their own adventure.

So, what does it mean to get rooted?
In New Zealand, I had a lot of culture shock.  One of the most memorable moments was learning the meaning of the Kiwi slang word “rooted.” One night I was brushing my teeth with my flatmate and I said, ‘I’m really excited to live in this house because I have been travelling a lot and I just need to settle down, stop travelling and get rooted’. He was choking on his toothbrush and asked me if I knew what that meant because it had a completely different meaning New Zealand than it does in the States. You’ll just have to read Getting Rooted in New Zealand and find out the Kiwi meaning for rooting.

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