Are you really Muslim? Haa! I get asked this question more than one would think. Yes, الحمد لله, I have been Muslim for nearly twenty years. The American Muslim community is rich and varied and converts--of all skin types, constitute a large majority. My story to Islam is deeply personal & is not a rejection of other faiths. But I do feel it is the best one for me.
What's up with your name "situation?" Alexis is my given name and it is very special to me. It is what I use most of the time. Rabiah is my Muslim name. It was given to me in college and is the name of a great female Sufi shaykh and poet.
Who are some of your greatest literary influences? Hmmm . . . hard to pin down! Here's a very short list. PB: Leo lionni, William steig, Rukhsana Khan
MG: Kate Dicamillo, Pam Munoz Ryan, Sharon M. Draper, Sara Pennypacker
YA: John Green, Renee Watson, A.S. King, Jacqueline Woodson, Jason Reynolds, and my MFA advisor Lamar Giles (Go Spalding!)
What's your favorite food? Easy! Carrot cake! Wait. That's a dessert. Still counts.
Favorite color? Green!
Favorite city? Can't choose. I've been to some pretty cool places--Paris, Muscat, Damascus, Jerusalem, Cairo, Istanbul. I don't know. All beautiful in their own way.
Where is home? Um, where the heart is. With my family? Cats? Technically speaking it is difficult to answer. As an "expat" living in Qatar, I feel a bit unrooted. I grew up in DC area, though, and spend summers in Nashville--visiting both feels like a homecoming.
Favorite movie? That's like asking me my favorite book! Or child (I have three). But there are a few classics I love to rewatch: Shawshank Redemption, Braveheart, Ferdinand, Finding Nemo. Oh and Elf.
Favorite songwriter? Tracy Chapman. Hands down.
What would you want to be if you weren't an author? I love my job, but if I weren't doing this I would work with animals in some capacity (which in truth I already do!). In another life I'd like to be one. A bird, I think.