Author(s): Emma Stevens
Walking on the Ice is the first book in a trilogy of memoirs by Emma Stevens recounting her adventures in life and love in the Alaskan wilderness. It is followed by Nesting on the Nushagak, and Dancing on the Tundra. From the small window all I could see were stunted, yellowing aspens, but there was something peculiarly calming and serene about them ...'Wow, I could live here!' I exclaimed, surprised at my intense reaction. Gary hugged me. 'Are you serious?' he asked. 'Yes,' I said. 'Yes. This is so much better than I imagined. It is beautiful, stunning, breathtaking...' After years of living in Sydney, Emma Stevens returns to New Zealand ready to live the simple life, teaching in a rural town with her Tenterfield terrier as companion. Convinced by a friend to try on-line dating, Emma is surprised to find herself corresponding with 'Kotzman', the principal of a high school in the Arctic Circle in Alaska. They are worlds apart: while Emma is picking spring flowers, Kotzman is ice fishing; Emma is wrapping up against the chill winds of an Otago winter, while Kotzman enjoys summer caribou camp.
However, as the months pass and the relationship deepens, Emma and Kotzman discover that they have much in common. At the millennium, Kotzman/Gary joins Emma to watch the new century dawn on a NZ beach. When Gary returns the following year on a sabbatical from teaching, their romance really blossoms. This memoir tells the story of Emma's life-changing decision to marry her Alaskan man and leave her beloved New Zealand for a world of snow and ice, caribou and bears, and the Yup'ik Eskimo people.
Emma Stevens has taught in New Zealand, Australia, England and the U.S. Previously married to an African American musician, she attended the Grammy Awards and toured clubs in LA, London and the South of France. Her way of life changed completely when, divorced and in her late forties, she fell in love with the principal of an Inupiaq school in the Arctic Circle, Alaska. The couple married, and Emma spent the next six years working beside her new husband in the icy wilderness of bush Alaska. Emma and her husband now live among orchards and vineyards just outside Nelson, in the South Island of New Zealand, where the winters are mild and the summers are long.