Note from Jessa: Occasionally I have interesting writer and reader folk stop by to share their words. Cuz I love words 🙂 In this case, I was super eager to have Jamie Baywood share because I think I’d love to run away to New Zealand if I had the chance!
Check out her first book, Getting Rooted in New Zealand, to learn more about her adventures. Meanwhile, here are her answers to the Amok on Mondays questions where I think you can start to get a glimpse into the sort of mind that jumps across the world.
- Which is your favorite myth, legend, urban legend, Aesop fable, fairy tale, or superhero, and why?
When I was living in American Samoa learned about the legend of the Turtle and the Shark in the village of Vaitogi. The legend says the grandmother and granddaughter threw themselves into ocean during a time of famine and magically transformed into the turtle and the shark. It is believed that if children of the village Vaitogi sing the turtle and shark song they will appear. I didn’t believe this until I witnessed it myself. As soon as they started singing the turtle and shark popped out of the water and looked up at us on the shore.
- Which Disney princess are you most like? Or least like? Personalities aside, whose hair would you want?
I think I look the most like Snow White, but I am most like Ariel. I’d love to have red hair. Living abroad I have often felt like a fish out of water, constantly trying to find my legs and figure out new customs of the land. I also love being in the ocean. There is just something about seeing the sea that calms me. I love snorkeling and boogie boarding as well.
- Which romantic lead tropes do you find yourself returning to in your stories?
I moved to New Zealand because I read in a tour book that New Zealand’s population has 100,000 fewer men than women. I thought it would be the perfect place for me to escape the crazy dating scene in California. I think readers will enjoy reading about my unromantic leading men that gave me a reason to flee the country.
- When did you realize you were a writer? What was your inciting incident?
Writing helps me stay sane. I consider myself an accidental author. I kept finding myself in unbelievable bizarre situations that I had difficulty processing. I wrote them down and shared them with other to verify I wasn’t losing my mind that these things were really happening. In New Zealand, I wrote and performed a monologue based on my real experiences contained in the book. After the show I talked to members of the audience that didn’t believe my story was true.
- If you weren’t a writer, what would you do with all that free time?
I would like to think I would learn how to knit, but I don’t have the patience. I’d really like to try film making or maybe stand-up comedy.
- Not including the obvious (guns, knives, etc.) which object nearest you would make a suitable weapon in the event of a zombie-ninja-robot invasion?
My husband is slightly obsessed with zombie movies. Believe it or not, we have discussions about zombie attacks all the time. The other day, I thought he was going to ask me a serious question, but he said, “Do you think we can tie our bedroom curtains together to climb down two stories in the event of a zombie apocalypse to get to the car?”
This summer we were sightseeing driving through the Highlands of Scotland with our friends who also like zombie movies. As we drove past, the amazingly high mountains of the Highlands, and lochs with the islands, we debated whether it would be better to be on an island in a loch or in a cave at the top of the mountain.
To answer your question, the object nearest to me that would make a suitable weapon in the event of a zombie invasion is a horribly uncomfortable broken couch that we bought at a charity shop. Because we move internationally so much we don’t want to commit to furniture. The only thing preventing us from falling through the couch when we sit on it is a suitcase wedged under it. There are lots of pieces of wood on our couch that would make great weapons to beat off zombies.
[Note from Jessa: Beat off zombies… Heh heh.]
- What do you like best about your current work, published or not?
I have a fine arts background, I consider myself an accidental author. 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. People either laugh or they don’t.
- What is your earliest memory of story?
My grandma has been the biggest inspiration and role model for me in my life. I have always been very close with her. When I was young I loved asking her questions about her childhood. She was born in 1921. She has seen so much in her life and have had so many amazing experiences. She is in her 90s now and still very active and independent.
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.
About the author 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.