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 traveller before Jamie learns what it really means to get rooted.
I was delighted when Jamie contacted me through email asking me to review her book, ‘Getting Rooted in New Zealand’. I got stuck right in and was drawn to Jamie’s different and utterly ridiculous world from the first few pages. This book is a collaboration of diary entries from when Jamie moved to New Zealand in order to escape the horrific dating scene in America as New Zealand’s population has 100,000 less men! You learn something new everyday right? Despite Jamie’s bad luck, unfortunate job placements and constant money struggles it is an exceptionally funny but brutally honest account of her life in New Zealand with a surprising but well deserved happy ending.
I was excited to give this book a try because not only has it had some great reviews, I don’t read much non-fiction, if any. One of the main things I loved about this book was that I frequently forgot I was actually reading a non-fiction novel. She doesn’t tire you out with all the boring stuff of everyday life she gets right down to the nitty gritty and with the ridiculousness of some of the situations Jamie finds herself in, it could easily be mistaken for fiction! I’ve never wrote a review of a book like this before so I’m not sure what’s appropriate and what’s not but Jamie, how did you manage to attract so many weirdo’s?! I found this book very interesting, especially learning about how different things are in New Zealand and America to over here in England, where I live. Jamie has lead a very different life and it was fascinating to read about. Although it was probably extremely frustrating for Jamie, I found it very amusing when she talked about how the people in New Zealand couldn’t understand her and the fact they use different words over there for example, calling ‘garbage’, ‘rubbish’ like we do here in the UK.
Despite all the ridiculous things that happened to her, I think Jamie was very brave for packing her bags and moving to another country alone. I would love to travel and see the world and find out what it’s like to live in another country with a different culture to the one I am used to and I found it quite inspirational that Jamie did exactly that and wasn’t afraid to admit that it wasn’t the adventure she had hoped it would be. Her trip to New Zealand was no where near perfect and she doesn’t at any point pretend it was – which I liked. She tells the truth which I think makes this book such an easy, hilarious and enjoyable read.
1) Hi Jamie! Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions today. I absolutely loved ‘Getting Rooted in New Zealand’. Can you tell us from your own point of view what it’s about and what we can expect?
My book is a true story. I had good, bad and weird experiences while living abroad in New Zealand. My life has been so strange it sounds like fiction, but it is really too weird to be made up. As a reader, you can expect to laugh out loud while you read Getting Rooted in New Zealand.
2) Was a book always on the cards?
No, I consider myself an accidental author. 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. 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.
3) How did it feel reading back your life in New Zealand?
It made me dreadfully nostalgic and homesick for New Zealand. I organized the stories in February – summer in New Zealand winter in the UK. It was the longest winter of my life in England; I was ready to get on the next plane to Auckland.
3) Can we expect any more books from you in the future?
Yes, I plan to publish another book next year about attempting to settle in Scotland.
4) Who are some of your favourite authors?
I love Tama Janowitz, Edward Canfor-Dumas, Tom Robbins and Elizabeth Gilbert.
5) In your book you mention that you wanted to go back to school and study graphic design. Is that still something you’d like to do?
I’ve just completed a MA in Design. Designing, publishing and marketing my book was my dissertation project.
6) Did you self-publish your book? And what made you decide to do so?
Because my book was my dissertation project I had to do everything within a couple of months. Self-publishing was the fastest way to publish within the very limited time scale I had
Self-publishing is one person taking on all of the responsibilities typically held by teams of people in traditional publishing companies. It has been a steep learning curve.
7) Do you still keep in touch with any of the people you met in New Zealand?
I do keep in touch with most of the people I met in New Zealand. Some of my dearest friends in the world are in New Zealand. Although it is technically not home to me or my Scottish husband, it feels like home to us as a couple because that is where we met. We have been feeling homesick for New Zealand and really miss our friends there.
8) Was your husband supportive when you decided to turn your life in New Zealand into a book? Considering he has quite a big part in it?
My writing was one of the things that initially attracted my husband to me when we first met. He has been very supportive and encouraging of me publishing. I tried my best to respect his privacy during the process and he vetoed a few stories about him from the book that made him blush.
9) What tips/advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Be yourself and find a good editor.
10) One last thing, did you find a nice castle to get married in in the end?
We did! We got married in a little castle in Scotland at the beginning of year 2012. My husband wore a kilt. I was hoping for a white winter wedding, but we ended up getting sunshine in Scotland during the winter. It was a magical day; we had a rainbow over a loch, bunny rabbits hoping by us, birds chirping and a full moon reflecting on the loch at night.
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.