Thursday, October 17, 2013

Getting Rooted in New Zealand by Jamie Baywood

Getting Rooted in New Zealand
by Jamie Baywood 


(information taken from Amazon and Goodreads)

Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (April 21, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1482601907
ISBN-13: 978-1482601909

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.

My Review
In keeping with tradition, lets start with the cover and how it spoke to me prior to reading the book.
The first thing that I honestly noticed where the butterflies, I love butterflies and I wondered what did the butterflies and New Zealand have in common. I thought the figure of the young lady sporting her red hat with luggage bag was really cute. But most of all I was most intrigued on the title, and what the book had in store for me.
The book is truly a walk in author Jamie Baywood's shoes from the moment she touches down in New Zealand. I will admit I was wondering how would a daily account of life's events really be an entertaining read. What can I say, Baywood made it happen and then some!
I could without a doubt see a TV series or movie out of her book. She left me laughing until I was in tears from her candid accounts of what she was going through, the people she met and the jobs she had. 
Some people have a natural funniness about them, even when they are trying to be serious, Baywood is one of those people. I loved how the people of New Zealand responded to the California born American. How although both are English speaking countries, the dialects and meanings behind words were so different, that some of Baywood's conversations literally reminded me of something off "I Love Lucy." And I promise you one thing, after reading this book, you will always laugh at the word "deck" and "rooted". This I promise!
Baywood managed masterfully to make her day to day life a sensationally funny and warm lighthearted story that left me staying up late to read and wondering what was going to happen the next day in her life.
The New Zealander's or Kiwi's that Baywood introduced were so intriguing and some were just down right comical. I found myself on numerous occasions bursting into a laugh that I quickly had to stifle because everyone around me would turn and look at me crazy. I also found myself in at night bargaining with myself, "just one more day" before going to bed and ended up much longer than expected.

If you are looking for that book that will make you laugh but also has true sincere moments that make you reflect on things, this is by far the book for you. 

For me, on the Hottie scale, this book was without a doubt a...

Jamie Baywood took a few moments out of her busy schedule to allow the Hotties to interview her.

Thank you so much Jamie for taking the time to do this interview. Your book was so much fun to read. I had never thought that someone’s life would be so comical.
With that being said, my first question is:

Where all the characters in your book based off real people you met?

Yes, all of the characters in my book are real people I met. Some of the names of the characters and organizations, but not all have been changed to preserve privacy. 

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. 

Do you still keep in touch with any of your new found New Zealand friends?

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. 

Have you been back to New Zealand to visit after writing your book?

I haven’t been back to New Zealand, but would love to return. I think I had to move to England to truly appreciate New Zealand. Publishing the book 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.

I have been living in the UK since winter 2011. I am currently on a visa in the UK called an Extension to Stay as the Spouse of a UK Citizen. This visa will expire in 2014. We are deciding now if we should go through another round of visas for me to stay in the UK or if we want to try living somewhere else in the world.  We are seriously considering moving back to New Zealand next year.

Dealing with visa restrictions has been the most difficult things about moving abroad. In New Zealand, it greatly limited my options for employment.  Overall, I found the New Zealand immigration office significantly easier to deal with than the UK Border Agency.  From my personal experience the New Zealand immigration office were efficient. All of my visas in New Zealand were processed in a couple of weeks.  Although I was married in January 2012 in the UK, my marriage visa was not approved by the UK Border Agency until September 2012. While my marriage visa was being processed, my only right was to not be deported. I wasn’t allowed to work, study or even leave because they had both my passport and my husband’s.

Nothing could have prepared me for the soul-crushing bureaucracy of the UK. My husband is in the middle of a two-year MA in Landscape Architecture in England. We plan to move internationally again in 2014, I’m not sure where yet. 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 with director Thomas Sainsbury. 

What made you decide to publish your personal journals or was that your intentions from the beginning?

I didn’t go to New Zealand with the intentions of writing a book about my experiences there. 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. I consider myself an accidental author. 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.

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.  

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.

What are your current project(s)?

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. 

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

Traveling alone and being celibate for a year was how Elizabeth Gilbert found her husband in Eat, Pray, Love. I probably took it too literally like an instructions manual, but it worked for me.  

What was one of the first books you read that is still your favorite?

Is Your Mama a Llama? 

What book are you reading now?

May I Ask You Something? by Cyan Corwine. 

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

I wrote, designed, published and have been marketing my own book. Self-publishing is one person taking on all of the responsibilities typically held by teams of people in traditional publishing companies. Writing, designing, publishing and marketing books are each valid full time careers.  I have been figuring out everything as I go. It’s been a steep learning curve.

The whole process has taught me to trust myself, believe in myself and follow my dreams. 

What was the hardest part of writing 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. 

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Believe in yourself. No one else is going to do it for you. 

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

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.

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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