About Christina Lyons

christyI am a freelance writer and editor based in the Washington, D.C. area, where I balance my interests in national and international politics and policy with local news and human-interest topics. I write and edit stories on everything from international trade and presidential power to juvenile justice and poverty. But I am spending much more of my time these days interviewing people or business owners about their own stories and delving into their ancestral histories as I help them build their own memoirs.

I launched my freelance career in 2011 to employ my skills and interests in news, storytelling and editorial training. A member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors, I produce enterprise stories, reports, book chapters and video scripts about national policy and politics for CQ Press, a division of SAGE Publishing that concentrates on issues of interest to college students and faculty. I also write for national policy news websites and publications, and for regional general interest publications like Frederick Magazine. I provided nearly three years of editing and reporter training for an international trade publication produced by Bloomberg Law, and more recently provided similar services for the company’s online publication covering environment, energy, and occupational health and safety.

With a longtime interest in genealogy, I help people preserve their own personal histories. I oversee the Teen Writing Club program — and lead a local club — on behalf of the Maryland Writers Association. The clubs are hosted by public libraries around the state and bring together teenagers who share an interest in literature and writing. I edited MWA’s recent teen anthologies, published in 2016, 2017 and 2019, featuring short stories, novel excerpts and poems by dozens of teen participants of writing clubs around the state.

Born and raised in the Los Angeles area, I earned a degree in communications from the University of the Pacific in California. I immediately moved east and found work on the Eastern Shore of Maryland as an assistant editor for the Queen Anne’s Record Observer and as a reporter for its sister newspaper, the Easton Star Democrat. Later I worked as a reporter for a daily paper, The Frederick News-Post, in Frederick, Maryland. After covering everything from education and human interest stories to local, county and state politics, I headed to Washington to cover Capitol Hill and administrative agencies. I worked for a series of newsletters focused on environmental and health care policies (and covered the 1994 health care reform effort) while earning my Master’s Degree in American government from American University.

I spent more than 15 years of my career at Congressional Quarterly. I began as a researcher and assistant producer on a documentary on Congress and the media produced with the Freedom Forum, then worked as an editor with a primary focus on training young reporters covering Congress while helping to launch and edit new online publications. I wrote political profiles and ultimately co-edited CQ’s Politics in America, a 1,200-page book containing detailed biographies of every member of Congress.

I launched into the field of personal history to help people and organizations compile their memories, family genealogy and stories into a narrative format. I earned a certification in Reminiscence and Life Story Work from University of Wisconsin-Superior. I also am a board member of the Maryland Writing Association, an organizer of the Life Story Professionals of the Greater Washington Area, and a member of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs, the National Genealogical Society, the American Society of Journalists and Authors (and co-chair of the ASJA conference in D.C. in November 2019), and the Washington Biographers Group.

When not writing or editing, I enjoy spending time with my husband and two children. I also relax by reading, hiking, fishing, quilting, or traveling the country and digging up the stories of my own ancestors – check out My Own Experience with Personal History.