Friday, September 13, 2013

My sit down with Jamie Baywood, author of "Getting Rooted in New Zealand"

I always love having the opportunity to interview authors I'm unfamiliar with. It's even better when I get to share it with a wide audience, while at the same time helping them discover new authors and books. It was my pleasure to interview Jamie, she is quite the personality :) You will enjoy this interview, and you will want to read her book!

Getting Rooted in New Zealand
Genre: Memoir, Contemporary
Publisher: Create Space
Published Date: April 21, 2013 

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.

Did you really uproot and move to New Zealand on a whim like that? What were you thinking?

It sounds a bit crazy when you put it like that, but yes I did.  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 inspired you to write a book about it?
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.

What is the weirdest job you had while in New Zealand?
The visa I was on only allowed me to work temporary positions. I worked in a basement, with ex-cons, next to a perverted mime and with a girl that wore her dead dog’s collar around her neck. All of the jobs were mundane office work, but the cubicles were filled with curious characters.

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.

What is the biggest thing that you've learned from being there?
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.

Favorite place to eat
I’m currently living in England finding the food bland at best. I prefer cooking at home rather than eating out. Auckland, New Zealand was a great place to dine out. I miss eating chicken katsu at Renkon a fabulous Japanese place, the amazing French restaurant Le Garde-Manger on upper Queen Street, and Ponsonby Food Court in Auckland. I also loved to go wine tasting on Waiheke Island, a little island that’s just a thirty minute ferry ride from Auckland city center.

Tell me about your most interesting experience in New Zealand.
I was very lucky in New Zealand to meet a lot of talented people outside of work. 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.” No one believed I was telling the truth.

Did you meet your husband there?
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.

Now that you've written a memoir do you think you will transition to fiction? Or will you write another memoir? Will you write another book at all?

I only know how to write my truth. 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. 

Finally If you could go anywhere in the world right now, as in right this moment, where would it be and why?
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. As crazy as my job experiences were in New Zealand, I would actually like to return to New Zealand and give it another try working as a writer. It would be great to return to New Zealand to make Getting Rooted in New Zealand into a TV show. 

       Getting Rooted in New Zealand is available in paperback and ebook on AMAZON.

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.

Find Jamie on the following sites: 


  1. Hi Jazmen! Thanks for the follow - I returned the favour.

    This author's life sounds really interesting. I have always wanted to travel and visit New Zealand, myself (I'd love to see the Lord of the Rings set!)

    It must be so much fun to do author interviews. I hope I get to that stage at some point!

    Take care.

    Rachel from Bookish Charm

    1. I've only been blogging for about three months you can start now if you like :) If I can, you can.

      I want to travel to Paris really badly! Maybe one day.

    2. Jazmen you are doing amazing for only blogging three months! I would have guessed three years. Go to Paris!

      You should both travel wherever you like. The world is small.

      Rachel, you should go to Weta Caves in Wellington, New Zealand and see the props from the movies. My email is if you want any advice about New Zealand or want to interview me for your blog too.

    3. Thanks Jamie! I would really really love to go to Paris. When money permits I'm going and I'm staying for at least a month. I want to sit in a cafe in Paris, sip a sweet hot beverage, and read. It sounds so simple but I imagine it to be a memorable experience.

  2. So interesting to hear about Jamie's decision. It takes guts to do what she did, for sure! Also, I'm slightly jealous- to hear a Scottish brogue everyday! *swoon* ;)

    1. I know right. I wish I was half as brave!

    2. The Scottish accent is the best. I also love how Scottish people say "wee" in almost every sentence. If you order a coffee in Scotland, they will say, "Would you like a wee napkin with that?"

      My husband calls me a wee fluffy bunny.

      When I first met my father-in-law, I wanted him to read me stories. I love hearing him tell stories about his father from the Highlands of Scotland.

  3. This sounds like a great book...and you know the author is with it if she finds British food bland!

    1. I find myself pouring chili flakes on everything in England.

      It was so cheap and delicious to dine out in New Zealand. I had to learn how to cook living in the UK. Whenever I would crave food I just couldn't get, I would Google the recipe and try to make it myself. I've spoiled my husband with my cooking, whenever we do go out to eat in England he just pushes his food around the plate, looks disappointed and tells me my cooking is better.

    2. I have to say your husband sounds like such a sweet guy!

  4. He is so sweet. I'm the luckiest girl in the world :)