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Writer Wednesday: 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.

1.Why did you want to become a writer? 
I consider myself an accidental author. I didn’t go to New Zealand with the intentions of writing a book about my experiences there. 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. My education is in fine arts. 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.

While I was in New Zealand I meet a director named Thomas Sainsbury, he asked me what I was doing in New Zealand. My everyday stories made him laugh and he asked me to write a monologue for him. I had never done anything like that before. I was shocked by the adrenaline rush that came with storytelling and making people laugh. I decided to organise the stories into a book and publish in the hopes of make others laugh too.

2. What's the toughest part of the writing process for you? 
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. I am rather enjoying leading a double life. I am living in a different country from my family and my husband’s family so that aids the author secret. I have a few relatives on both sides of the family having babies this year, so both sets of families are mostly talking about the imminent arrivals and not questioning what I am doing.

 3. What's the most enjoyable part of writing? 
I’ve been told by readers that Getting Rooted in New Zealand is making people laugh out loud. I love getting emails from people that enjoyed the book and encourage me to write more.

4. Out of all the amazing books out there, which book do you wish you had written and why? 
Eat, Pray, Love definitely inspired me to take my own leap of faith by moving abroad, but I am happy to have my own story that continues to unfold.

5. If you could only save one of your characters from fictional calamity, who would you pick and why? 
Bambi’s mom.

6. If you could spend the day with your favourite character (not from your books), who would you spend it with and what would you do? 
I would spend the day with the character Geoff from the book The Buddha, Geoff and Me. Geoff seemed like a really cool guy.

7. What can we expect next from you? 
For the past three years, I’ve been disassembling and reassembling my life by moving to different countries. I’ve lived in five countries now. I plan to publish another book next year about attempting to settle in Scotland.

8. Is there any particular writing advice you wish you'd been given at the start of your writing career? If so, what is it? If not, what advice would you give to someone starting out? 
Books published through traditional publishing companies are edited at least five times. Have your book edited again and again for typos.

9. Tell us what a typical writing day involves for you. 
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. In February 2013, I organised my stories into a cohesive narrative. It went through several rounds of editing and then I published in April. I constantly make myself notes. This summer 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.

10. Finally, what are you reading at the moment? 
Wild by Cheryl Strayed.


Getting Rooted in New Zealand 

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.

Buy on Amazon | Follow Jamie on Twitter |  Like her on Facebook

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