Oct 30, 2013

~BOOK SPOTLIGHT~ Author Interview with Jamie Baywood, Author of Getting Rooted in New Zealand

Title: Getting Rooted in New Zealand
Author: Jamie Baywood
Genre: Memoir


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 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.



What inspired you to write your 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.

How did you come up with the title?

In New Zealand, I had a lot of culture shock. One of the most memorable moments was learning the meaning of the Kiwi slang word “rooted.” 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 traveling and get rooted’. He was choking on his toothbrush and asked me if I knew what that meant because it had a completely different meaning New Zealand than it does in the States.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

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.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

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.

It’s frustrating 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 New Zealand my experiences have been very unusual. I would highly recommend everyone goes to New Zealand to experience their own adventure.

What would you consider to be your life altering moment in New Zealand?

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.

What was your favorite place in New Zealand?

New Zealand is such a beautiful country. Beaches, mountains, glaciers, lakes, forests, islands, New Zealand’s got it all. It has such freshness about it, like the islands just emerged from the sea. It feels like anything is possible in New Zealand. I also loved the quality of light in New Zealand. It was like looking through a polarized lenses, but more intense. Everything is so colourful and vibrant.

Auckland is on the coast and there was a little beach down the street from where I lived at the end of Hamilton Street. The beach has pohutukawa trees with branches that are almost horizontal. I used to go to that beach all the time and lie in the branches, look up at the sky and feel so happy and grateful. A lot of the times the water would be lapping up underneath the branches. It was also nice to go there at night and look at the stars.

Can you share with everyone an excerpt from your book?

Just like “biscuits,” the word “rooting” has a completely different meaning in New Zealand than it does in California.” (Page 55)

If you had to choose, who would you say is your favorite author?

Cyan Corwine.

What book are you reading now?

May I Ask You Something? by Cyan Corwine.

Are you currently working on a new book?

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.

Thank you to Jamie for allowing me to interview her! Head on over to Amazon to get your copy of Getting Rooted in New Zealand! 

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