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 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.
Q. What inspires your writing?
A. I moved to New Zealand because I read in a tour book that New Zealand’s population has 100,000 fewer men than women. I thought it would be the perfect place for me to escape the crazy dating scene in California.
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.
Q. What is your favorite thing about being a writer?
A. I love making people laugh more than anything else. I love hearing from readers that my book is making people laugh out loud.
Q. What is the toughest part of being a writer?
A. The hardest part has been when people don’t understand my humour. 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.
Q. If you could not be writer, what would you do/be?
A. I have a fine arts background, I consider myself an accidental author. I was bored with the fine art scene. Everything has already been done before in painting, but I am the only person that can tell my own story. Writing feels like a more honest form of art than any other method I’ve tried. People either laugh or they don’t.
Q. What would the story of your life be entitled?
A. Getting Rooted in New Zealand is the title to one of the years of my life.
Q. What is your favorite book of all time?
Q. Which character from ANY book are you most like?
A. I’m pretty weird. I only know how to be me.
Q. What character from all of your book are you most like?
A. The main character of Getting Rooted in New Zealand is me.
Q. Which book would you love to take a weekend vacation inside of?
A. It would be great to take a vacation inside of a Lonely Planet tour book that way you could see and do everything a country has to offer.
Q. What is your favorite season?
Q. What inspired your book cover? Or what is your favorite book cover and why?
A. 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.
Q. Tell me something funny that happened while on a book tour or while promoting your book.
A. 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 around her neck.”
Q. Are you working on something new?
A. I plan to divide my books by the countries I've lived in. I've lived in five countries; America, American Samoa, New Zealand, Scotland and now England. My next book will be about attempting to settle in Scotland.
Q. Anything you want to say to followers of this blog or those that are just stopping by?
A. I don’t consider myself a representative of America and I don’t consider my book a representation of New Zealand. It’s my , not a travel guide. 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!
Getting Rooted in New Zealand is available in paperback and ebook on Amazon:
Jamie Baywood can be followed on the following sites: