A journey for a little change
No matter how we start, we can never plan what happens in between until the end. – Francine
I think that Jamie Baywood’s book fits well with the theme of the month so I’m glad to have her today at the blog. Her book was based on her own personal journey, and we’ll be able to know more about it in this little interview.
Let’s start with something simple. Please tell us something about yourself.
I’m from California. In my mid-twenties, I had bad dating experiences in California and a dream to live abroad. I read in a tour book that New Zealand’s population had 100,000 fewer men than women. In an attempt to have some ‘me time’ I moved to New Zealand.
It was shockingly easy to relocate to New Zealand literally a few weeks after I made the decision. It only took a couple of weeks for my work visa to go through. I was 26, single, I quit my job, I moved out of a little cottage I was renting and put the few things I had at my mom’s house and brought a suitcase with me to New Zealand.
If things aren’t working out for you at home with relationships, instead of staying at home crying that you’re single, consider yourself free. You are free to do whatever you want.
What is your favorite book?
May I Ask You Something? by Cyan Corwine.
Tell us a little something about your 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.
Recently on Twitter, the characters in Getting Rooted in New Zealand are described as, “Wicked. Lots of heroes and villains. It’s a story you can read again and again- it’s laugh out loud shocking in parts and cringe worthy, some office peeps are monsters!” by Colin Mathura-Jeffree, a male model and judge for the TV show New Zealand’s Next Top Model. Colin is one of my favorite characters that I meet in New Zealand.
I had good, bad and weird experiences in New Zealand. I’m grateful for all the people I encountered, heroes and villains, the experiences I had turned me into a writer.
How much of Getting Rooted in New Zealand is based on real life?
Reading my book would be similar to receiving emails from a friend living abroad. I didn’t really come up with the distinct writing style. It’s just how I honestly observed things and described them. I only know how to write my truth. My truth tends to be stranger than fiction.
It would be impossible to write down every single thing that happen to me in New Zealand for over a year and it probably wouldn’t be interesting to read. My book is 100% true. These are 100% my experiences. I have changed some the names, but not all of individuals and organizations to preserve privacy. 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. In February 2013, I organized my stories into a cohesive narrative. It went through several rounds of editing and then I published in April.
What made you write your book?
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!
What was the most difficult part about writing your book?
The hardest part has been trying to promote the book while simultaneously attempting to stay anonymous. My life is literally an open book, but Jamie Baywood is a pen name. I haven’t told my family that I’ve written or published a book. They think I’m just living in the UK working on a MA in Design studying book covers.
I am rather enjoying leading a double life. I am living in a different country from my family and my husband’s family so that aids the author secret. I have a few relatives on both sides of the family having babies this year, so both sets of families are mostly talking about the imminent arrivals and not questioning what I am doing.
It’s just such a soul-baring book, it’s literally my diary. In many ways it is easier to tell strangers my story. I know they would be proud of me, but for now it’s nice to have the privacy from my family about the book. All of my relatives and in-laws don’t need to know extremely personal details about my life that are in the book.
Tell us something about your book cover.
I designed my book 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.
Does the books include pictures? If not, do you have any you could show us?
I also checked out Jamie’s Pinterest and there are a lot of good photos.
What is your favorite part about your trip or the book?
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.”
What did you find or learn in this trip? Or what really stuck to you after it?
I really feel travel is the best teacher. I didn’t know a soul in New Zealand before I went there. Within two weeks of my plane landing in New Zealand, I found a place to live and a job. I don’t know anywhere else in the world you can do that. I’ve been living abroad since 2010. It’s made me resilient, self-reliant, fearless and adaptable. I’ve really learned to trust my instincts and believe in myself.
Although I intended to have a solo adventure I ended up meeting my husband a Scottish man in New Zealand. By the time I meet my husband at the age of twenty-seven, I had fulfilled my dream of living abroad, been single for over a year and felt healed from previous heartbreaks. We had a mutual friend that invited us both to watch the fireworks on New Year’s Eve. At first all I heard was his Scottish accent in the dark, rolling Rs and all. It was the sexiest accent I had ever heard. We found out we were living in the same neighborhood and he asked me out for neighborly tea. I tried to say no, but he just looked and sounded so mesmerizing.
He was a perfect gentleman. He was more clueless about dating than I was. I found comfort in our mutual awkwardness. He was very different than the guys I dated in California. We spent the first couple months going on long walks and talking. It reminded me an old-fashion courtship. I knew very early into dating him that he would be my husband.
(I like ending my interviews on a fun note) Lastly, were you able to see Hobbiton? If so, what was it like?
I read in a tour book that the Lord of the Rings sets were taken down for copyright reasons. I didn’t go to Hobbiton, but I had a chance to travel around most of the country after I quit my job. Those stories will feature in my next book. I plan to publish at the end of 2014. My next book will be about traveling on the South Island of New Zealand, Australia, California and attempting to settle down in Scotland.
Thank you so much for answering my questions, Jamie!
Jamie Baywood Event
February 13, 2014 – Newcastle City Library, Newcastle, England.
Title: Getting Rooted in New Zealand
Author: Jamie Baywood
Publisher: Jamie Baywood
Date of Publication: April 21, 2013
Purchase link: Amazon
Praise for Getting Rooted in New Zealand
“I read this book in one night over four hours. I couldn’t put it down. It was so, so entertaining. I laughed out loud on numerous occasions – comedy highlights include brain poisoning from complications over a hair perm, eating stale sunflower seeds and the multitude of accent-related mistakes. Jamie is a lovely, endearing protagonist and I can guarantee you’ll fall in love with her. A must read for anyone moving to New Zealand. Or anyone moving anyway for that matter.” (5 out of 5 stars) Thomas Sainsbury (Amazon Customer Reviews)
“I’ve got this book and finished read it all so quickly, because I couldn’t stop reading it. It’s just so hilarious!! I can’t wait to read her next book. I highly recommend to read this book for everybody. I absolutely loved it!!” (5 out of 5 stars) S Halls (Amazon Customer Reviews)
“This book is perfect for travel-reading! It’s light, in small sections (as a diary), totally hilarious and also quite amazing. So many crazy experiences Jamie Baywood had in one year, some wonderful and some truly horrific, all taken together adds up to fruitful reading indeed. This book is like a rough diamond – I look forward to reading future novels as Jamie becomes more and more polished through life’s experiences” (5 out of 5 stars) Anna H(Amazon Customer Reviews)
“Really enjoyed this book, I have to say. It was funny, quirky, even weird in places, but always entertaining. Having lived in New Zealand myself, I can definitely relate to some of Jamie’s experiences as a foreigner. Love NZ and love this book – highly recommended!” (5 out of 5 stars.) Polak (Amazon Customer Reviews)
“Fantastic, hilarious & Inspiring, I absolutely loved it. It is funny & absolutely honest. Very inspiring as it really draws reader’s attention to read more and more. I can’t wait now for her 2nd novel to come out. A movie should be made on “Getting Rooted in New Zealand”. Definitely will be a super hit “(5 out of 5 stars.) A-dreamer (Amazon Customer Reviews)