|'The Ghost Drum' by Susan Price|
'The ice-apple is rare. It grows in the far north, where no other trees grow. Northern summers have no darkness. The ice-apple flowers in the summer, white and brittle flowers that spread their petals to white days and white nights with never an instant of dusk. But the fruit of the ice-apple sets in the northern winter, when midnight and midday are as dark as each other. The apple grows and ripens - and is harvested - without ever knowing an instant of warmth or sunlight. An ice-apple is as clear and transparent as the purest clear-water ice.'
'Are there really such things as ice-apples?' I was asked, in a school recently. Or, did I make them up? What gave me the idea?
Well, there are there aren't real ice-apples.
There are no such things as apple trees which flower and fruit in the Arctic - but while I was writing the Ghost World books, I read and re-read that marvellous book 'Land of The Firebird' by Suzanne Massie, and in it she describes how gardeners in Old Petersburg managed to grow all sorts of fruit and vegetables under glass and in hot-houses. One of the apples they grew was known for its almost transparent flesh - and here's where my imagination took the hint, and I invented the ice-apple.
I highly recommend Massie's book.
'The Ghost Drum' by Susan Price, £1.71 from Amazon's Kindle Store.
Find other e-books at Kindle Authors UK.