Hi Jamie. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m from California. In my mid-twenties, I had bad dating experiences in California and a dream to live abroad. I read in a tour book that New Zealand’s population had 100,000 fewer men than women. In an attempt to have some ‘me time’ I moved to New Zealand. I lived in Scotland in 2012 and now I’m in England until 2014.
How did you choose the genre you write in?
I didn’t make a conscious decision to choose a genre. To write my book Getting Rooted In New Zealand, I relied upon my personal journals, e-mails, and memories. Reading my book would be like reading emails from a friend describing her observations abroad.
As an individual I’ve never fitted in easily. I’ve always felt like a bit of a foreigner especially at home in California. The best way I can describe it is a funny travel memoir or an accidental true love story within a comedy of errors. The only thing I can do is be myself, tell my story and hope that readers enjoy reading my book. For the most part I’ve been getting positive feedback.
What do you do when you are not writing?
I like yoga, pilates and running. I recently ran 10K in York, England raising money for a friend with MS.
Tell us a little bit about your cover art.
Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?
I’ve just completed an MA in Design at a university in England. Designing, publishing and marketing my book was my dissertation project. 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.
Who is your favorite character from your book and why?
Some but not all of the characters names have been changed to preserve privacy. Some of my dearest friends in the world are in New Zealand. Although it is technically not home to me or my Scottish husband, it feels like home to us as a couple because that is where we met. We have been feeling homesick for New Zealand and really miss our friends there.
How about your least favorite character? What makes them less appealing to you?
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!” Colin Mathura-Jeffree, a male model and judge for the TV show New Zealand’s Next Top Model . Colin is one of my favorite 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.
How did you come up with the title?
In New Zealand, I had a lot of culture shock. One of the most memorable moments was learning the meaning of the Kiwi slang word “rooted.” One night I was brushing my teeth with my flatmate and I said, ‘I’m really excited to live in this house because I have been travelling a lot and I just need to settle down, stop travelling and get rooted’. He was choking on his toothbrush and asked me if I knew what that meant because it had a completely different meaning New Zealand than it does in the States.
What is your favorite quote and why?
“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
I like that quote because it’s a good reminded that we are responsible for making our own dreams into reality.
What books have influenced your writing?
Traveling alone and being celibate for a year was how Elizabeth Gilbert found her husband in Eat, Pray, Love. I probably took it too literally like an instructions manual, but it worked for me. I also enjoyed 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.
Will you have a new book coming out soon?
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.
Getting Rooted in New Zealand
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.
Enter to win one of five (5) copies of her book Getting Rooted in New Zealand. Enter using the Rafflecopter below. The giveaway begins October 24th and will close on November 7th.