Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Getting Rooted in New Zealand - Author Interview

At 26 Jamie decides to move from California to New Zealand to escape men (there are 100,000 fewer men than women there), and to discover something new. There she befriends a famous model, works a series of odd temp jobs and learns a lot about herself.

A pleasant, easy and heart warming travel/life/dating/work memoir. Honest and real, no part of her story seems contrived or forced. Jamie welcomes you to experience it all along side her. Reading the book felt like chatting with a hilarious and emotionally honest best friend.

The author Jamie Baywood was kind enough to ask a few of my questions. Getting Rooted in New Zealand is available in paperback and ebook on Amazon.

In one sentence how would you describe your book? 
The best way I can describe Getting Rooted in New Zealand is a funny travel memoir or an accidental true love story in a comedy of errors. 

You mention that during some of your temp jobs, you spent your time writing about your coworkers and experience on the job. Was that content the beginning of this memoir? 
Yes, absolutely. 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 didn’t start keeping a diary or writing until I moved to New Zealand. I wrote to keep in touch with friends and family. 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. I saved the emails that eventually became my book. 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. 

What challenges did you face when writing this book? Was it hard to remember some of the details? Is it all based on journals? 
Most of the book was written as the events happened; it just took me a few years to work up the nerve to publish. To write my book Getting Rooted In New Zealand, I relied upon my personal journals, e-mails, and memories. Some of the names of the characters and organizations, but not all have been changed to preserve privacy. In February 2013, I organized my stories into a cohesive narrative. It went through several rounds of editing and then I published in April. 

I self-published through CreateSpace an Amazon company. Getting Rooted in New Zealand is available on the Amazon US and Amazon Europe sites. I would like to have the book translated into different languages. 

The biggest obstacle I am finding is book distribution, I would like to have the book available to purchase in New Zealand and Australia. I’m in the process of trying to get it printed and distributed in New Zealand and Australia through, and Whitcoulls. It’s been a struggle to find a way to properly distribute the book to New Zealand and Australia. 

While in NZ, you perform a monologue about an experience at your temp job. Have you done any more performance or live story telling since then? 
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. I had never done anything like that before. 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 around her neck.” 

Besides the lack of men in NZ, moving from California what was the one biggest cultural impact?
Whenever I go back to California, I am always shocked by how busy, crowded and loud it is. Everyone is rushing around, there is so much traffic, and it just feels chaotic all the time. I was amazed with how quiet and unpopulated Auckland felt. People in Auckland would complain about traffic and I would laugh. 

California and New Zealand are roughly the same size. It wasn’t until I went to New Zealand that I understood how enormous America is.

New Zealand feels so safe. In California, I would carry pepper spray with me everywhere I went. I was always on edge living in California. It was amazing to me that in New Zealand the police didn’t have guns. I felt much safer as a single female traveling alone in New Zealand than living in California. 

The flip side of the feeling of being sheltered from the world in New Zealand was I felt isolated. There was a palpable feeling of being at the end of the world in New Zealand that at times I found overwhelming. 

I read you are working on a second book. Will this also be a memoir or a novel? (PS: I'm looking forward to reading it whatever it is) 
I’ve been living abroad for over three years. I lived in five countries; America, American Samoa, New Zealand, Scotland and now England. I plan to move again internationally in 2014, I’m not sure where yet. I plan to divide my books by the countries I've lived in. My next book will be about attempting to settle in Scotland. 

Any advice you would give you an aspiring writing wanting to write a memoir about their own life?
Be yourself. Some people are going to love you; some people will hate you no matter how good your book is. Believe in yourself, no one else is going to do it for you. 

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. 

Jamie Baywood can be followed on the following sites:

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