Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Getting to know … Jamie Baywood

Tell us a little about your books
Getting Rooted in New Zealand is a funny travel memoir about my time living aboard in New Zealand.

What made you choose to write about your experiences?
I started writing my book because 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 long does it take you to write a 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 spent the month of February organizing the stories I had written attempting to make a cohesive narrative. It then went through several rounds of editing. To write my book Getting Rooted in New Zealand, I relied upon my personal journals, e-mails, and memories.

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
I constantly make myself notes. Last week in Wales, I was scribble 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.

Where do you get your ideas for your books?
My book is a true story. My life has been so strange it sounds like fiction, but it is really too weird to be made up. My truth is stranger than fiction.

How old were you when you knew you wanted to write and what was your first attempt?
I consider myself an accidental author. My educational background is in fine arts.  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. People either laugh or they don’t.

My first attempt at writing was writing a monologue for the director Thomas Sainsbury in Auckland, New Zealand when I was 27-years-old. Performing the monologue was the scariest thing I had ever done. I was shocked by the adrenaline rush I got from making people laugh. I was addicted to writing ever since.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I love traveling. I am very gluttonous. I love cooking, baking and drinking wine. To counterbalance my gluttony, I enjoy yoga, pilates and running. I’m running 10K this weekend in York raising money for a friend with multiple sclerosis.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
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. It has been a steep learning curve. There have been many bumps   Even more surprising is people I have never met have been sending me nice messages through my email or Facebook telling me they liked my book Getting Rooted in New Zealand and can’t wait for the next one.  I’m always shocked to see a good review on Amazon from someone I don’t know.
in the roads and moments when I regretted publishing. The most surprising thing I’ve learned in creating my own book is I am capable of doing all of the above.

How many books have you written?
I plan to divide my books by the countries I’ve lived in. When I move to a new country the story begins there.   My next book will be about traveling on the South Island of New Zealand, Australia, California and attempting to settle down in Scotland.

Which is your favourite and why?
Getting Rooted in New Zealand is the first book I published. I am curious to see reader’s reaction to my next book. Getting Rooted in New Zealand will always be special to me. My good, bad and weird experiences in New Zealand turned me into author and I am extremely grateful for that.

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
As a child, I wanted to be a hairdresser. I honestly thought I would be good at it. When I was 9-years-old, I gave my little sister a haircut when our parents weren’t looking. My little sister’s hair went from shoulder length to above her chin. It was just a few days before picture day at school. I’ve never been fully forgiven.

What are you working on now?
I’m working on promoting my book Getting Rooted in New Zealand. I have been volunteering for Museums Sheffield and the Lantern Theatre.

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.
Twitter: @jamiebaywood

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