I was born in 1981 on a military base in North Carolina. My father served in the U.S. Marine Corps for most of my childhood. Like many military families, we moved around frequently. Of all the places we lived in those early years, my fondest memories are of Whidbey Island, Washington. I remember riding the bumpy ferry to and from Seattle and watching with great wonder the many birds taking flight. Little did I know that my very first children’s book, The Conference of the Birds, would involve these feathered friends!
When I turned seven we settled in northern Virginia, a wonderful melting pot of people from around the world. By the time I was a college student at The George Washington University, my interest in other cultures quickly developed into a love for world religions. I have a B.A. in comparative religion. It was during this time that I also met my husband. Shortly after graduation, we moved to Egypt, where he was teaching at the American University in Cairo. When I wasn’t studying classical Arabic, I would explore the colorful streets of Old Cairo and visit some of the most magnificent mosques in the world. My fondest memory from Egypt however, was a five-day camel trek through the desert to Saint Catherine’s Monastery in Mount Sinai. Come to think of it, riding a camel is a lot like riding a ferry; it is bumpy, but wonderful.
After Egypt, we moved to Amman, Jordan, where we had our first child. A year later we moved again (apparently I am destined to move more than I'd like).
In the suburbs of Boston, we expanded our family and soaked in the bucolic nature of New England.
Were it not for motherhood, I do not think I would have become an author for there was a book that I wanted to read with my kids, but didn't exist. So I said to myself, ‘Well, why don’t you write it!’ Toni Morrison famously said so herself.
Writing isn’t as easy as it sounds. But if we dig around deep enough we will find that there is an artist of some sort hidden inside us all. As Ray Bradbury said, “We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.”
I read often, work hard and follow my heart. I've had a ton of support along the way from professionals in the industry to my amazing family. I often listen to music when I write and I think this helps as well. I'm a huge fan of Tracy Chapman and Mumford & Sons. Sometimes I'm more in the mood for instrumental music like the Middle Eastern oud (especially the old stuff like Fayruz).
We currently reside in the U.A.E where I am learning how to cope with the extreme heat (umbrellas help, so do frequent trips to the pool). On the flip side, the U.A.E is home to many gorgeous birds and my feather collection is growing rather nicely. Can you identify any of the feathers? (Some are North American, others are Middle Eastern birds)
Thanks for visiting my website!
Wa Salaam (with peace),
~Alexis York Lumbard
Alexis as a little girl Whidbey Island, WA
Alexis in Sinai, Egypt speaking with "Mabruk."
Alexis with her three daughters.