As the frigid temps continue to winterize Iowa, I’m so glad for this week’s featured author who gave me directions for the transporter and soon we’re basking in the warm sunshine of Tisa Barefoot Bar in American Samoa. Leaves of palm trees moving lazily in the warm breeze, white sand and a spectacular view of the blue Pacific. She says this place makes the best pina coladas and I must concur.
Better get to the interview before I over indulge and forget why we’re here.
1. Who are you and what makes you the most fascinating person in your city?
I grew up in Petaluma, California. By the age of twenty-six, I was actually much happier being alone than dating, but I was completely bombarded by guys trying to date me. I read in a New Zealand tour book that the country’s population has 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, a Scottish man in New Zealand.
2. Without revealing a deep dark secret (unless you want to), what one thing would people be surprised to learn about you?
My life is literally an open book, but Jamie Baywood is a pen name. Getting Rooted in New Zealand is based on my real life experiences living in New Zealand 2010-2011. 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. The one thing that most people don’t know about me is that I am an author.
3. What interested you to become a writer rather than something else such as an Arctic explorer?
My education is in fine arts, I didn’t write until I moved to New Zealand. 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.
4. Writers are readers. With which author(s) would you enjoy sharing dinner? Why?
I was lucky to meet a lot of talented people in New Zealand. I’d love to have dinner with the authors Cyan Corwine and Thomas Sainsbury. Cyan Corwine is sincerely the nicest person in the world and gives the best hugs. Thomas Sainsbury is very fascinating, funny and eccentric.
5. If I were stranded on a deserted island or suffering from a four hour layover at the airport, why would your book(s) be great company?
Getting Rooted in New Zealand would be great company if you were stranded on a deserted island or suffering from a layover at the airport because my truth is stranger than fiction. It will make you laugh out loud.
6. Share your process of writing in regards to: plot and character development, story outline, research (do you Google or visit places/people, or make it up on the spot), writing schedule, editing and number of rewrites.
Reading my book would be similar to receiving emails from a friend living abroad. I didn’t really come up with the distinct writing style. It’s just how I honestly observed things and described them. I only know how to write my truth. My truth tends to be stranger than fiction.
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. 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.
I constantly make myself notes. This summer in Wales, I was scribbling stories on the backs of maps and Google directions as a passenger in the car. I also send myself text messages or emails riding in trains or buses. It might not look like I’m writing a book if one was to observe me, but I am constantly watching, listening and thinking about writing.
7. “I think I have a good idea for a story, but I don’t know where or how to begin. Your process may not work for me. Any advice?”
8. I saw an amusing T-shirt the other day which read, “Every great idea I have gets me in trouble.” What is your philosophy of life?
“Be the change you want to see in the world.” – Gandhi
9. Please tell me you’re not going to stop writing? What’s next for you?
I haven’t stopped traveling since I moved out of California in 2010. I never moved back to California. For over 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. I plan to divide my books by the countries I’ve lived in. My next book will be about attempting to settle in Scotland. I plan to publish it late 2014.
10. Where can people find more information on you and your projects?
Getting Rooted in New Zealand is available in paperback and ebook on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1482601907
Jamie Baywood can be followed on the following sites:
Getting Rooted in New Zealand book 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.
Where Jamie Baywood can be seen:
January 20, 2014 – Brixton Fiction Book Group, Brixton, England.
January 22, 2014 – Pimlico Library, London, England.
January 23, 2014 – Kilburn Library, London, England.
February 13, 2014 – Newcastle City Library, Newcastle, England.