vineri, 27 decembrie 2013

Author Interview & Review "Getting Rooted in New Zealand" by Jamie Baywood

I use Grammarly's online plagiarism because apes are funnier than apers.

Title: Getting Rooted in New Zealand
Author: Jamie Baywood
Publishing Year: 2013
Edition: E-book (provided by the author)

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.

~ Review ~

To begin with, I should mention that this is the first book of the genre I've ever read, and most certainly not the last one. 

Getting Rooted in New Zealand is Jamie's first book about her adventure in New Zealand. At first I was really curious (well, surprised actually!) to find out why would anyone want to leave California and go to New Zealand. I live in Romania, so one of my biggest dreams is to visit USA, the country of the unlimited opportunities. However, it seems living in California has its own weak points. Therefore, Jamie said to herself that she needs a change, a big one in my opinion. So she moves to New Zealand. Once she arrives in the country where the population has 100,000 fewer men, she has to get accustomed to the Kiwi's funny pronunciation rules, their way of living and habits. Of course, her adventure doesn't stop here. Jamie is going to meet someone who will become really special to her and, consequently, will influence her future plans.

This book is certainly the funniest I've ever read. Although it's a memoir, some situations are so funny that I can't believe those dialogs and events actually happened. Jamie is that kind of person I would be grateful to have as a friend. She had to face some pretty difficult situations, and yet she didn't lose her sense of humor. And that is a big thing, trust me. It's not easy to live with bugs and to work with a weird mime (an extremely weird one!). It is obvious that she has her own defects, but what kind of human being doesn't? If she was perfect, then Getting Rooted in New Zealand wouldn't be nonfiction. As the description says, Jamie (the author) captured "a hysterically honest look at herself, her past...", so she didn't create the character. It's like she described herself, directly or indirectly, that's all. 

However, I have to admit this book needed at some points more description. I am aware of the fact that this is a travel journal, but I also know this is a book, and a book needs a little more description than a journal does. Also, the author insisted a bit too much on some characters (like Bob the mime or Gretchen, another odd coworker), while some other were described pretty superficial. My point is, there is room for improvement in terms of narration.

To sum up, I gladly recommend this book to everyone who enjoys an easy, quick and really funny read. Jamie Baywood has a great potential and I look forward to reading her next creations.

My Rating: 4/5

~ Interview ~

1. How did you decide to write about your experiences living in New Zealand?

For over three years, I’ve been disassembling and reassembling my life by moving to different countries. I’ve lived in five countries now America, American Samoa, New Zealand, Scotland and now England.

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. 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. Although I intended to have a solo adventure I ended up meeting my husband a Scottish man in New Zealand.
My education is in fine arts, I didn’t write until I moved to New Zealand. 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.

2. What did you enjoy the most about writing Getting Rooted in New Zealand?

I love making people laugh more than anything else. I feel very grateful when readers understand my sense of humor.

3. How would you describe your writing style?

Reading my book would be similar to receiving emails from a friend living abroad. I didn’t really come up with the distinct writing style. It’s just how I honestly observed things and described them. I only know how to write my truth. My truth tends to be stranger than fiction.

4. You designed the cover yourself, right? Tell us about it. 

That’s correct; I designed my book cover myself. The girl with the suitcase is a drawing of me. The striped dress and red hat was my first outfit I bought when I moved to New Zealand. The birds are New Zealand native birds like the kiwi and fan tail. The city is Auckland and the tower is New Zealand’s Skytower. The sky in the back ground and the water are pieces of a watercolor painting I did of the New Zealand coastline.

5. How about your hobbies? What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I like to go running, hiking, do yoga and pilates. I’ve ran in 10K races in New Zealand, Scotland and England. In August, I ran 10K in York, England raising money for a friend with MS.  I miss living near the beach, I used to go to the beach to relax or go boogie boarding.

6. What other countries would you like to visit?

I want to go so many places. The thought of living in once place for ever seems foreign now and makes me feel claustrophobic. It would be fun to be a tourist again rather than dissembling and reassembling my life and taking all my belongings with me when I move internationally.  I’d love to be able to tour around Europe.

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. I would love to see more Pacific Islands, and travel throughout Micronesia and Melanesia.  I had the chance to visit Australia briefly after I lived in New Zealand. I would move to Australia or back to New Zealand in a heartbeat.

I've been to Costa Rica and Peru on short holidays; I would love to see more of South America and Central America. I absolutely want to go to Yucatán peninsula in Mexico and see the Mayan ruins. I’d love to go to the Caribbean.

As strange as it may sound, although I’m American I haven’t been to many States. I’d love to go to Alaska, New York, see the Grand Canyon, New Orleans, Miami, Austin, Chicago, Portland and Seattle. I hear Canada is amazing. 

It looks like I need to sell more books to buy plane tickets!

7. You are currently working on your next book, right? Can you tell us something about it?

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 plan to publish it late 2014.

8. Finally, tell us about your favorites - books, movies, quotes, music, animals. 

Favorite book: May I Ask You Something? by Cyan Corwine.
Favorite movies: Drive, Jaws, Boy, Lords of the Rings.
Favorite quotes:
"I'm only smart enough to know I can't predict the future." – Paul Pena
"Now, listen my dear. It's possible to live with no worries or fears, but you may find it boring to live year after year. Life's not meant to be rain-free, you know? All things need water, in order to grow." – May I Ask You Something? by Cyan Corwine
“No matter how wonderful our dreams, how noble our ideals, or how high our hopes, ultimately we need courage to make them a reality. Without action, it’s as if they never existed.”– Daisaku Ikeda
Favorite music: BiitterSweet, Goldfrapp, The XX, Paul Pena, Santigold, Kids of 88, Naked and Famous, Kavinsky, College & Electric Youth, Metronomy, Maximum Balloon.
Favorite animal: Rabbits.

~ 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.

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

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