Thursday, October 03, 2013

Author Interview: Jamie Baywood

Please welcome Jamie Baywood, author ofGetting Rooted in New Zealand for an exclusive interview in my blog, Books Are My Best Friends. I'm really very glad to have her here and I want to thank her for giving me the time to interview here. Thank you, Jamie!
I asked her a few questions about her book and here are the answers she gave for those questions.

Interview of Jamie Baywood-->

Me: Hey Jamie, first of all welcome to Books Are My Best Friends. It's a pleasure to have you here. To start the interview I'd like to ask you first who are your target audience? And which genre do you prefer writing about?

Jamie: I think anyone that enjoys reading Bill Bryson, Chelsea Handler or Elizabeth Gilbert would enjoy reading my book Getting Rooted in New Zealand.
I love making people laugh.  I feel very grateful that most readers understand my sense of humor. I’m always surprised and grateful when I receive a positive review. I thought my book would mostly appeal to young women in their 20s or 30s. I was happily surprised by having a couple of men emailing me telling me they loved my book and can’t wait to read the next one.

Me: When did you first know that you wanted to be an author? Did you always want to be one?

Jamie: 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. 
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.

Me: What is your work schedule like when you're writing a book?

Jamie: 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.

Me: How did you come up with the idea behind "Getting Rooted in New Zealand"?

Jamie: 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.

Me: Is any of the characters/incidents in your book influenced by real life people or circumstances?

Jamie: 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. Some, but not all of the names of individuals and organizations have been changed to preserve privacy, but the stories are all true.

Me: What is your favourite character of the book? Which character was most fun to write about? And which one was most difficult to portray?

Jamie: 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 favourite 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.

Me: What was the biggest challenge while writing the book?

Jamie: 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 organized my stories into a cohesive narrative. It went through several rounds of editing and then I published in April. 
I am just now starting to go on book talk tours throughout the United Kingdom and being interviewed. Since publication, I’ve mostly been working on networking and marketing.  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. It’s been an interesting dance trying to promote the book and attempting to stay anonymous.

Me: Did you ever suffer writer's block? If yes, what did you do to get over it?

Jamie:I just try to take breaks and focus on something else for a while.

Me: What were your feelings when you first saw the finished copy of your book?

Jamie: My initial reaction was I can’t believe I did it.

Me: Are you completely satisfied with your writing or would you like to change something in your story, given a chance?

Jamie:There are always little memories or stories that keep bubbling up in my mind about my time in New Zealand that I’ll try to weave into sequels. It would be impossible to write down every single thing that happen to me in New Zealand for over a year and it probably wouldn’t be interesting to read. My book is 100% true. These are 100% my experiences.

Me: Is there any person who inspired you to become a writer?

Jamie: While I was in New Zealand, I made an amazingly talented friend named Cyan Corwine. We made a pinky promise that we would both go through with publishing our own books.

Me: What is your favourite place for writing?

Jamie:The passenger seat of my husband’s car is my favourite place to write.

Me: When you're not writing what do you do to relax?

Jamie: I like yoga, pilates and running. I recently ran 10K in York, England raising money for a friend with MS.

Me: Are you working on the sequels? When can we expect the sequel to be published?

Jamie: 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. 

Me: What are your favourite books?

Jamie: May I Ask You Something? by Cyan Corwine.

Me: What are you reading currently?

Jamie: Wild by Cheryl Strayed. 

Author Bio: 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.

About the Book: 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.

Getting Rooted in New Zealand is available in paperback and ebook on Amazon:
Jamie Baywood can be followed on the following sites: