A batshit crazy YA novel deserves a batshit crazy cover.
My publisher commissioned a graduate of the Glasgow School of Art (before it burned down!) named Ida Henrich to work on the cover art. It’s going to look a bit different in two months time; the typeface will change. It’s conceptual, but gives you a strong feeling of the book’s guts. The artist cut and painted each figure by hand, every little bit of them hand crafted. The artwork is mostly green, which is a colour associated with envy – and the make believe world of the Empress is full of spite and malice and envy. A typical teenage life, really. There’s a unicorn, a locker, a table with two chairs on the front. On the back there’s an ice cream van, a dragon and…potatoes! The little fallen figures represent victims of The Empress. My only brief was that it should look good as a thumbnail for people who shop online. But it also has to look good on a bookshop shelf. That’s more difficult to achieve than you might think.
I want to hang this up on my wall.
Bless you, Ida.
The Endless Empress hates you.
This novel is my masterpiece. No, wait, don’t run! I’m not deluded. I started Endless Empress in May of 2013, but back then it was titled Dead Teenagers. I changed the title to BOMBERS (in caps!) until I finally settled on the barmy Endless Empress: A Mass Murderer’s Guide to Dictatorship in the Fictional Nation of Enkadar. I sometimes felt that I’d gone too far – some of the book is extremely strange and violently bizarre. I felt the book should come with WARNING: This Book Contains Teenage Mass Murderers, Drug Dealers, Anorexia, and Evil Unicorns. I sometimes need reassurance! But the headlines are full of teenagers stabbing teenagers or teachers, designer drug scares, killer legal highs and much more besides. My book actually captures what is really happening in the world, refracted through the Ciccone writing prism.
I’ve cooked up what could be the first truly punk rock YA novel. It might also have the highest body count in any teenage novel ever published. But the scope of this book is epic in a way that’s very rare in this genre. Trust me when I say you haven’t read a YA book quite like Endless Empress. It’s the story of a girl with a powerful imagination who has the ability to push things forward…without a moral conscience to hold her back. The journey which begins with her friends ends in mass murder and a fight to the death.
My books could be your life.
Put your faith in me and I’ll take you on a trip.