Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Getting Rooted in New Zealand, Jamie Baywood spotlight and review.

Getting Rooted in New Zealandbook 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.

Interview with Jamie

1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
It was always my dream to live abroad when I was growing up in California.  I had bad dating experiences in California and read in a New Zealand tour book that the country’s population at 100,000 fewer men than women.  I wanted to have some me time and an adventure. New Zealand seemed like a good place to do so. Although I intended to have a solo adventure I ended up meeting my husband in New Zealand.

2. Where do you get your ideas?
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. 

3. When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
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.
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.  

4. How did you choose the genre you write in?
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. 

5. Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
Traveling alone and being celibate for a year was how Elizabeth Gilbert found her husband in Eat, Pray, Love. I probably took it too literally like an instructions manual, but it worked for me. I also enjoyed reading Area Code 212 by Tama Janowitz, The Buddha, Geoff and Me by Edward Canfor-Dumas, and Even Cowgirls Get the Blues by Tom Robbins.

6. Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
I wrote, self-published, designed and have been marketing my own 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.

7. What do you do when you are not writing?
I like yoga, pilates and running. I recently ran 10K in York, England raising money for a friend with MS.

8. What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
“Just like “biscuits,” the word “rooting” has a completely different meaning in New Zealand than it does in California.” (Page 55)

I had a lot of culture shock moments, learning the Kiwi slang definition of rooting inspired the title of my book. One night I was brushing my teeth with my flatmate Liam and I said, 'I'm really excited to live in this house because I have been traveling a lot and I just need to settle down, stop travelling and get rooted.'

He started choking on his toothbrush and asked me if I was hitting on him. 

9.What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
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. I am very appreciative for all of the positive reviews of my book. I have also been getting kind and encouraging emails from readers.
The hardest part has been when people don’t understand my humor. The main criticism I get is that my book isn’t a representation of the entire country of New Zealand. It’s my dairy, not a travel guide. 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.

10. Can you tell us about your upcoming book?
My next book will be about traveling on the South Island, Australia, California and attempting to settle down in Scotland.

Reviews from other readers
“Getting Rooted In New Zealand is a diary of a California girl's introduction to a completely different life experience in a new country and never has the phrase `stranger in a strange land' been more relevant than in reading her intriguing and often insightful diary entries! Her observations about both culture and language are a wonderful mix of observation about one person's reaction to the differences that make up the wonderful human race and the minutiae of daily living. I'll be looking forward to seeing if Jamie produces another book about her experiences of coming to live in the UK.” (4 out of 5 stars) Linda Parkinson-Hardman (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)

“Giggle Worthy... It is difficult to write so openly about your life as you have and I found myself keenly reading to see what happened next. All your adventures with those crazy people sounded so dreadful, but provided such amusement in the way you have represented them. You make no real judgment on any person and I can tell that while you respect them as humans, you don't put up with bad behaviour, so that's an inspiration in itself” (4 out of 5 stars.) O. Dale (Amazon Customer Reviews)

“As a New Zealander, I really enjoyed this book. It was funny, and a lot of the things about NZ are definitely true.... I live overseas, so I can understand that no one outside of New Zealand really gets our slang and sometimes our accent, so that part really spoke to me! However, at the same time it doesn't paint a true picture of New Zealand, given that the author worked in terrible jobs, had visa restrictions, didn't have a lot of money, and stayed in run-down housing. Auckland, while being the largest city, isn't necessarily representative of NZ. Overall, I'd recommend this book” (4 out of 5 stars.) Mark (Amazon Customer Reviews)

“Honest Humour... A great read! Honestly and effortlessly humorous. I giggled lots and really felt for Jamie at her times of struggle. Thank You for sharing so openly your experiences, obstacles and breakthroughs” (5 out of 5 stars.) Sparkles (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)

“Must Read Book - Hilarious! A real page turner - like reading a very funny / interesting friend's secret diary.Also a fascinating insight into life in New Zealand as seen through the eyes of a traveller. Jamie Baywood is the thinking man's Bridget Jones—with an edge. Would make a hilarious movie - but until that comes out the book is a must” (5 out of 5 stars.) J. Hamilton (Amazon Customer Reviews)

“Getting Rooted in New Zealand is wonderful chain of events unfolding in the most unusual way leading to the most perfect new beginning... Loved it” (5 out of 5 stars.) Ruchi Vasisht (Amazon Customer Reviews)

"Just finished your book Jamie, superb read!!!! Had me laughing on every page!!! Looking forward to the next one!" Natalie

"Just finished reading the book. I loved all the hilarious characters in the office. Now I know where all the money goes that we pay Auckland Council. Ahhh !!! So many funny stories and lots of laughs, and most importantly it has warmth and humanity as you write from a Buddhist perspective. Look forward to reading book number two !" Greggo x

I am new to NZ from the states and I am loving the book - I'm also a mum, so it's the perfect light read after a long day with my toddler. Many good laughs and feeling the sisterhood as the real NZ (versus my fantasy NZ) manifests itself...! Almost finished. Thank you for writing's so unassuming and funny and real. I will look for your second book. (Marika Pickett)

Jamie Baywood Stalker links

Buy Link

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