Until the Ocean Freezes by Alida Durham Clemans

Hello again, dear readers. This week we have a new author with another debut book. Please welcome, Alida Durham Clemans.

Alida, please tell us about yourself.

A professional writer and editor for many years, I decided in 2018 to follow my heart and pursue a career as a children’s author. I grew up in Westfield, New Jersey, and hold a degree in English and journalism from the State University of New York at Albany. The mother of two, I live in New York City with my husband and a scruffy rescue dog. When I’m not writing kid lit, I work as a writer for an independent school. Until the Ocean Freezes is my first novel.

Kai: Tell us about your book, please.

From debut novelist Alida Durham Clemans, Until the Ocean Freezes (February 17, 2020) is a contemporary middle grade novel for readers ages 8-12 that Kirkus Reviews calls “a well-written tale for tweens that may spark conversations about dealing with crucial changes.”

Being almost twelve is tough enough. For sensitive redhead and aspiring artist Eliza “Lizzy” Zander, two things make the summer before sixth grade even more challenging: her family moves away from the only home she has ever known, and her father's multiple sclerosis gets worse.

As Lizzy tries to settle into New York City, where her mother has landed a new job, she copes with feelings of fear, anger, and loneliness until she meets Cassandra, an exuberant girl with no shortage of confidence or mystery. With the help of this captivating new friend and a funny boy named Walt, Lizzy begins to figure out who she is and the true meaning of “normal.”

But when her dad's health takes a sudden downturn, bringing even more big changes for Lizzy, she'll need both her family and new friendships to help her figure out where in this crazy world she belongs.

Until the Ocean Freezes is available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1081731419/

Kai: What inspired you to write this book?

This book was inspired by my own family and our experiences with disability. My husband, Marc, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (M.S.), a progressive neurological disease, before our kids were born. Although they grew up surrounded by lots of love, their dad’s illness definitely shaped their lives.

Kai: I would expect so. Okay, now for a little fun. Please give us your top three answers to the following:

Top 3 character traits you like to add to all or most of your characters

1. Complexity

2. Sense of humor

3. Ability to grow and learn from their mistakes

Top 3 favorite books (you didn’t write)

1. Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume

2. Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell

3. My Antonia by Willa Cather

Top 3 professions you wanted to be when you grew up

1. Doctor

2. Puppeteer

3. Writer

Kai: And finally, where can readers connect with you?

My website is www.alidadurhamclemans.com. It’s a great place to learn more about me, read and listen to sample chapters, watch read-aloud videos of the first few chapters (co-starring my dog, Spencer); and read my blog. I’m also on Twitter (@alidadclemans), Facebook (facebook.com/alidadurhamclemans), Instagram (@alidadclemans, and Goodreads.

Kai: Thanks for joining us today, Alida and sharing your book with us.

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