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October 7, 2013

Meet Jamie Baywood

Welcome, Jamie Baywood, author of Getting Rooted in New Zealand. Will you tell us a little about yourself and your book?

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. For the past three years, I’ve been disassembling and reassembling my life by moving to different countries. I’ve lived in five countries now; America, American Samoa, New Zealand, Scotland and now England.

When I reviewed my first memoir, I commented that I would find it scary to write one. I mean, you are revealing your life to the world. Did you have doubts while preparing Getting Rooted in New Zealand for publication?

Publishing my story was one the most terrifying thing I’ve ever done. I barely slept the first half of the year worrying what people would think of my book.

What made you want to publish your story? When did you know you had a story that people would want to read? 

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.

My education is in fine arts. I had a lot of art shows in California and New Zealand and even managed an art collective in Auckland. 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. While I was in New Zealand I meet a director named Thomas Sainsbury, he asked me what I was doing in New Zealand. My everyday stories made him laugh and he asked me to write a monologue for him. I had never done anything like that before. I was shocked by the adrenaline rush that came with storytelling and making people laugh. That is when I knew I wanted to be a writer.

Getting Rooted in New Zealand is based on your journal entries. Have you always journaled or was this something just to document the experience?

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 saved the emails that eventually became my book.

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.

Buy Getting Rooted in New Zealand at Amazon

What do your friends and family think about 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.

Did you travel much before you moved to New Zealand? What are some of your favorite locales?

Before I moved to New Zealand, the longest period of time I had travel was only for ten days. For a single female traveling alone, New Zealand is one of the safest countries in the world. I might not have understood people’s accents initially, but I was able to get off the plane and land on my feet quickly. I got a job and a place to live within two weeks of arrival. I don’t know anywhere else in the world you can do that.

I currently have to live in the center of England. I desperately miss the ocean and being warm at the beach. I really miss the warm, friendly nature of the people in the South Pacific. I had the chance to visit Australia briefly after I lived in New Zealand. I would move to Australia or back to New Zealand in a heartbeat.

On a Friday night, what are you most likely to be doing?

Cooking dinner at home, watching a movie and plotting my next great escape.

I see you are working on a second book. Do you want to tell us a little about it?

My next book will be about traveling through the South Island of New Zealand, Australia, and California and attempting to settle down in Scotland. I plan to divide my books by the countries I’ve lived in.

About the author:
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.
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