Saturday, October 5, 2013

Author Interview: Jamie Baywood

Today's post is all about the author of Getting Rooted in New Zealand, Jamie Baywood. In her interview we'll learn a little bit about how she got writing and the process of publishing her book. Let's give her a warm, Splash of Ink welcome. 

Getting Rooted in New Zealand Synopsis: 
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.

The Interview:
1. Tell us a little bit about what inspired you write a book about your experiences in New Zealand? Were you planning on writing when you moved there or did the book idea come later?

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 didn’t start keeping a diary or writing until I moved to New Zealand. I wrote to keep in touch with friends and family. 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. I saved the emails that eventually became my book. 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.

2. Was Getting Rooted in New Zealand your first encounter with writing seriously or had you written in the past?

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.

3. What surprised you most about your move to New Zealand?

How easy it was to do. It was shockingly easy to relocate to New Zealand literally a few weeks after I made the decision. It only took a couple of weeks for my work visa to go through. I was 26, single, I quit my job, I moved out of a little cottage I was renting and put the few things I had at my mom’s house and brought a suitcase with me to New Zealand.

If things aren’tworking out for you at home with relationships, instead of staying at home crying that you’re single, consider yourself free. You are free to do whatever you want.

4. What type of audience would you recommend Getting Rooted in New Zealand to? Would readers who normally read fiction enjoy your book as well?

Many of my reviewers on Amazon.co.uk state that this isn’t a book they would normally read, but enjoyed it:
“I don't read much non-fiction, if any. One of the main things I loved about this book was that I frequently forgot I was actually reading a non-fiction novel. She tells the truth which I think makes this book such an easy, hilarious and enjoyable read.” –jennyinneverland (Amazon Review, 5 stars)
“Considering this is not a book I would have picked up on my own, I enjoyed it very much!” – Liz Wilkson (Amazon Review, 5 stars)
“Not normally something I would pick up by choice. Witty and funny, Jamie engages you from the beginning and I loved all the stories about the various characters she met on her journey.” – dawniechococats (Amazon Review, 4 stars)
I feel very grateful that for the most part 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. One man told me my book made him laugh and cry.

5. How long was the writing process (first idea to publication) for Getting Rooted in New Zealand and did you run into any major obstacles along the way? If so, how did you overcome them?

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. Some of the names of the characters and organizations, but not all have been changed to preserve privacy. 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 self-published through CreateSpace an Amazon company. Getting Rooted in New Zealand is available on the Amazon US and Amazon Europe sites. I would like to have the book translated into different languages.

The biggest obstacle I am finding is book distribution, I would like to have the book available to purchase in New Zealand and Australia. I’m in the process of trying to get it printed and distributed in New Zealand and Australia through Booktopia.com.au, Bookworm.com.au and Whitcoulls. It’s been a struggle to find a way to properly distribute the book to New Zealand and Australia.

6. Why did you choose to self-publish instead of traditionally publish your book?

Last year, we found out we had to move to England from Scotland. Rather than being displaced to a country I didn’t want to move to, I decided to be displaced with the goal of publishing. I’ve just completed a MA in Design. Designing, publishing and marketing my book was my dissertation project. Self-publishing was the fastest way to publish within the very limited time scale I had.
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.

7. What steps did you take to get your book in print?

It’s astonishingly easy to self-publish, it’s a matter of uploading PDFs. CreateSpace is an Amazon company with print on demand services. When someone purchases the book on Amazon it is printed and sent to them.
8. If you have any advice for non-fiction writers (or just writers in general), what would it be?
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.
“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.” – Ikeda

9. Can we expect any other books from you in the future?

I’ve been living abroad for over three years. I lived in five countries; America, American Samoa, New Zealand, Scotland and now England. 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 move again internationally in 2014, I’m not sure where yet.

10. Do you have any other comments or interesting tidbits that you’d like to add about writing Getting Rooted in New Zealand?

I love making people laugh more than anything else. I love hearing from readers that my book is making people laugh out loud. The hardest part has been when people don’t understand my humour. I have been in a lot of situations where I had two choices: laugh or cry. I’ve chosen to laugh. I write my experiences from a purely personal standpoint. Compared to other travellers who worked abroad in New Zealand my experiences have been very unusual. I would highly recommend everyone goes to New Zealand to experience their own adventure.
I think readers need to remember this is the dairy of a young, hormonal and confused twenty-something, this is not a travel guide to New Zealand. I am sincerely appreciative of everyone that has read Getting Rooted in New Zealand. I’m absolutely grateful that readers are enjoying the book and reviewing it positively. I love making people laugh. I hope you enjoy Getting Rooted in New Zealand!

Getting Rooted in New Zealand is available in paperback and ebook on Amazon
Jamie Baywood can be followed on the following sites:
Facebook.com/jamiebaywood
Twitter.com/jamiebaywood 
Pinterest.com/jamiebaywood 
Goodreads.com

It was so great to have you, Jamie. Thanks for joining us on SOI. All the best in the writing of your next book!
If you'd like to guest post or be interviewed on SOI be sure to check out the guest posting page.

Reading: When Gods Die by C.S. Harris
Listening: Mumford and Sons
Watching: Harry Potter movie marathon!

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