Lights, Camera, Blog Action!

This is a special feature dedicated to spreading the word about the other great blogs that are out there! I have found a lot of great blogs through such features and I want to be able to share some book blog joy too!

If anyone would like to participate email me at pageturnersbooks(at)

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Today I am featuring Amanda from Desert Book Chick. This is a relatively new blog but one that I have found has become essential reading. The reviews are well written and interesting and cover a variety a books. More importantly though, it is a blog that markets itself as a tool for bloggers. It has lots of resources for writing good reviews and building a following (which is particularly useful for new bloggers). She has recently started putting out a monthly newsletter which was a really good read. If you haven't had a look at Amanda's blog yet, make sure you check it out now.

This beautiful image is of Kings Canyon, and is taken from (would you believe it!) Amanda and her husband's front yard in their park house. Amanda's husband is the chief ranger of one of Australia's Northern Territory outback national parks.

1.                  Tell us something about yourself
I’m forty-three years old, and I live in outback Australia, in a famous town called Alice Springs. I have a PhD in Anthropology and work as the Manager of Anthropological Research at a small government agency which protects Aboriginal sacred sites.
I speak Indonesian (I spent a semester in Java at university) and Arrernte, a Central Australian Aboriginal language.
I have two children, Rhiannon (20) and Ben (13). My partner, Gary, is the chief ranger at King’s Canyon (Watarrka) national park. I also have two dogs (one Papillion and one Cavalier King Charles Spaniel), two cats, and seven chickens.
Besides reading, I love gym, running and yoga, and have worked casually as a fitness instructor for over 20 years. If you read my blog, you’ll know I go camping and hiking a lot, too. I hate grocery shopping, drama queens, and closed-mindedness.
I am also a published author and have won a number of short story competitions.

2.                  What was your favourite book as a child or young adult, and why?
As a child, Elyne Mitchell’s Silver Brumby books were my favourites. This series captured the landscape of the Australian Alps –especially its flora and fauna- in near-poetic prose.
The Silver Brumby books inspired me to write. By the time I was 14, I’d written two Silver Brumby books of my own.
Patricia Wrightson’s books –The Ice is Coming, An Older Kind of Magic and The Nargun and the Stars- were also childhood favourites. If you’ve read Wrightson and experienced her affinity with Aboriginal culture, then I suspect you wouldn’t be surprised that such a reader of these books became an anthropologist.
As a young adult, I began to read fantasy. I read fantasy almost exclusively for 15 years. The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks stands out as the book which started my love affair with the genre.

3.                  Why do you love to read?
Reading is like breathing. It fills me with life … with the creativity that is my life. Reading takes me away, relaxes me, inspires me. The day I stop reading is the day I die.

4.                  How do you choose your books?
I used to choose my books by browsing the local bookstores or going into the library and surfing the shelves. Now, I largely choose my books based on the recommendations of other bloggers. I still surf the library and browse the bookshelves, however.
I think publishers –especially Australian publishers- are still blind to the power of book bloggers on readers’ choices in book purchases. I have a number of subscribers to my RSS feed who don’t have blogs, but are keen readers. They tell me that they buy books based on the recommendations of on blogs like my own.

5.                  If you had to narrow it down  - who would be your 3 favourite authors and what would be your 3 favourite books?
That’s easy:
Kate Elliott - Jaran
Peter Mattieson - The Snow Leopard
Marcus Zusak – The Book Thief

6.                  When and why did you start your blog?
I started a book blog in January 2010, although I’ve been blogging and reviewing books on my various blogs since 2004. Desert Book Chick in its current incarnation was started in February 2010, but I didn’t settle on its theme (resources for book bloggers) until 20 April, 2010.
I was driving along in a Toyota landcruiser, on my way to Uluru, when the theme for the site hit me.

7.                  How did you choose your blog's name?
I wanted something that reflected where I lived and who I was. Also, since most book bloggers are female, I wanted a female-friendly name. Desert Book Chick was the title I selected. I think I was inspired by Book Chick City – which remains one of my favourite blogs.

8.                  What do you love about book blogging?
Three things stand out for me about book blogging:
Meeting new people all over the world. I’ve met so many wonderful people who’ve become friends. We are all linked by our love of books –even though we may not speak the same language, we have a language we can all share.
I’m going to the Book Blogger’s Convention in New York next year and I’m going to meet a few of the people I’ve become friends with when I get there.
Discovering new books. I’m constantly finding incredible new books to read. My reading horizons have expanded exponentially this year thanks to all the amazing blogs I’ve read.
Being in touch with my muse. For many years, I was unable to speak with my creative muse. For someone like me –who needs to create to feel alive- not being able to speak to my muse meant not being fully alive. Book blogging has awakened my muse and brought me back to life.

9.                  What tips do you have to offer to other book bloggers?
Shameless promotion here: visit my blog! Desert Book Chick specializes in resources for book bloggers.
Seriously, here’s my top 5 tips:
1.                  Focus on writing great content
2.                  Help other bloggers whenever you can
3.                  Don’t clog up your site with too much bling
4.                  Be yourself
5.                  Have fun

I have always thought that it sounds like you have such a unique an active lifestyle that it makes me sometimes long for something more than my sedentary city lifestyle. It was nice to see that one of your favourites is The Book Thief. I read it this year and fell in love. I hope to read more of his books as soon as I can. 

Thanks for participating Amanda, I hope that everyone heads on over to her blog now.


  1. Wow, I must check out this blog! It looks like Amanda started blogging around the same time I did, as a matter of fact. And a PhD in anthropology - that's so cool! I took an "intoduction to anthropology" class at school last year and found it really interesting.

  2. I love her blog advice! I'll have to pop on over.

  3. Hi Becky,

    Just saw this post was up during my lunchbreak! Thanks so much and I'll do a promo via the blog hop!

  4. I am already a great fan of Amanda and her Blog so was delighted to read this interview and learn a little more about her :) Thanks for featuring her Becky.

  5. I have been a fan of Amanda's blog since I first discovered it...I can't even remember how! Hopping around the blogosphere, no doubt. But the blogger resources and advice are really great....

  6. I learned a bit more about Amanda (and her life fascinates me!), very nice! She should be so famous now. She's been on my blog last week!

  7. Thanks for dropping by everyone. Amanda's blog is wonderful and I am pleased you all know something more about her


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