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.
MF: Your book, Rooted in New Zealand, stems from what you call the most impulsive decision of your life. What made a ‘California girl’ move to another continent?
JB: Growing up in California, it was always my dream to live abroad. I found a work abroad company that helped young Americans get work visas in New Zealand and Australia. I had bad dating experiences in California and read in a New Zealand tour book that the country’s population at 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.
MF: What inspired you to write about the New Zealand experience?
JB: 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 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.
MF: Rooted in New Zealand is a travel biography. Do you have any plans to write fiction? If so, what genre would you most like to write?
JB: I have no plans to write fiction. I only know how to write my truth.
MF: Goodreads Reviewers of Rooted in New Zealand are looking forward ‘to reading future novels’ by you. Does that add pressure to your writing routine or does it inspire you?
JB: I’m absolutely delighted that reviewers have enjoyed Getting Rooted in New Zealand and are looking forward to future books by me. It is definitely encouraging to get positive reinforcement and feedback. Making people laugh makes me happier than anything else.
MF: Share some of the ways you market your book. Do you feel that being an independent author means you have to work harder at marketing than a traditionally published author would?
JB: Designing, marketing and publishing my book was my dissertation project for a MA in Design I just completed at a university in England. I absolutely feel being an independent author means you have to work harder at marketing than a traditionally published author would. Self-publishing is one person taking on all the responsibilities traditionally held by teams of people in companies.
Marketing the book has been the most time consuming aspect of the book. I emailed every single literary festival in the UK and library asking to participate in book festivals and to do meet the author events. I’m trying to connect with book clubs and would love to attend book club meetings to do author Q & As. I’ve also been contacting newspapers, magazine, radio stations and book bloggers to see if they will interview me.
MF: You currently live in the United Kingdom and on Twitter you’ve announced you’ll be making another international move next year. As a writer, you can take your job with you. Do the frequent moves help or hinder your creativity?
JB: After New Zealand, I lived in Scotland for nearly a year. For unwanted and complicated reasons I had to move to Sheffield, England last year and will have to be here another year. I didn’t want to move to England and decided to be displaced with the goal of publishing my book. I’m trying to see the unwanted move to England as an unexpected plot twist. I’m trying to make the most of my time here by doing book tours through England over the next year.
I’m grateful to Sheffield for forcing me to become an author. I miss the ocean and my friends and family. I feel like my heart is split into pieces missing my friends in Scotland, New Zealand and California and my family is scattered throughout America. I honestly don’t know where in the world to live next. Part of me wants to go back to places I’ve lived before and another part of me wants a fresh start.
MF: Your Amazon page says you are working on your second book. Will you share a bit about it with us?
JB: 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 think you can guess where my third book will take place.
MF: What do you read? What do you re-read?
JB: I loved reading Area Code 212 by Tama Janowitz, The Buddha, Geoff and Me by Edward Canfor-Dumas, and Even Cowgirls Get the Blues by Tom Robbins. I re-read Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert and could relate to her sequel Committed.
MF: What is your favorite writing tip or quote?
JB: “Never for an instant forget the effort to renew your life, to build yourself anew. Creativity means to push open the heavy, groaning doorway of life itself. This is not an easy task. Indeed, it may be the most severely challenging struggle there is. For opening the door to your own life is in the end more difficult than opening the door to all the mysteries of the universe.” – Ikeda
MF: Do you have any advice for other writers
JB: Be yourself. Some people are going to love you; some people will hate you no matter how good your book is. Believe in yourself, no one else is going to do it for you.
MF: If you could jump into a book, and live in that world … which would it be?
JB: As long as I could keep my head Game of Thrones would be amazing to jump into.
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