This is the first novel in a three novel series, each of which need to have related covers. I need a cover that will grab the reader's attention and sell the book and instantly appeal to young adult and adult readers alike. It must look great as a thumbnail in Amazon searches, which is how most people will see it. I have published 5 prior novels, all currently available on Amazon (just search under my author name, Jacob Whaler), all of which have been #1 sellers in their categories. Please take a look at these to see the covers I have used in the past. I have some ideas about the cover, but I want the designers to have full freedom to develop their own ideas. I am happy to quickly respond to email questions about the book or cover.
Here's the basic plot of the book: It's around the year 2100 in New York City. China and the U.S. each have their own versions of the Internet, and they are engaged in a fierce cyber war for world dominance. Each of them sends powerful AIs to the other side to destroy infrastructure and wreak havoc. Suri is an 18 year-old girl who enjoys her position at the top of the social hierarchy at her high school. She is generally a bad-ass girl that is rich, beautiful, smart, vicious, a bully, always wins at everything, is an expert computer hacker and rides a motorcycle chopper to school. Suri enjoys playing an online "Game" where she plugs into a Matrix-like virtual environment and engages others in combat. She's never lost a battle and likes to fight as a team with her beloved 12 year old brother, Tommy. Out of the blue, Suri finds out she has brain cancer (like her mother, who died), requiring a special brain treatment at a military installation. The brain treatment is a success, and her cancer is miraculously cured. But it turns out that the government was actually using the "Game" to identify the best human brain on which to model a powerful AI to win the cyber war with China. The truth is that Suri never had brain cancer. The government used that story as a ploy to get a detailed scan of Suri's brain, which they use to build a powerful AI named SURI FIVE (since it was the fifth version made from Suri’s brain), or just FIVE for short. FIVE is unleashed into the Internet and successfully destroys China's infrastructure (including detonation of all China's nuclear weapons). Then FIVE turns on its creators and starts destroying things in the United States, taking down the electric grid, satellite navigation systems and the financial system. All efforts to stop FIVE have failed, and the US government is getting desperate. Because FIVE was modeled on Suri's brain, she is the only one that knows it well enough to fight it and stop it from destroying civilization. Suri is kidnapped by the government and forced to fight FIVE in a virtual reality game environment. It's as if Suri is fighting an idealized online version of herself. There are some epic battles between Suri and FIVE involving use of daggers. In the end, FIVE is destroyed, but only after Suri sacrifices her little brother, who is the only person in the world she really loves. By the end of the novel, Suri has become more able to feel and give love and has matured a lot through the experience of fighting and losing her little brother.
Here is some information in case the designer would like to incorporate the faces or bodies of SURI and FIVE into the cover (which may or may not be a good idea! I’m not really sure). Visually, Suri and FIVE look similar, but FIVE looks like a more idealized, movie star version of Suri. They both wear black leather body suits that cover them from neck to wrist to ankles and fight with daggers in each hand (which they pull out of slits on their thighs). Suri is beautiful, but I don't specify her race in the novel. Suri has long dark hair and dark eyes. FIVE has long white hair and black eyes full of floating stars. In my mind, I think of Suri as looking something like a young Jessica Alba, but I’m flexible and open to any other ideas.
Here are some other possible design elements: (1) when written with a Roman numeral, the title is SURI V, which is “virus” spelled backwards, (2) much of the action in the novel takes place in an online world that looks like a futuristic version of New York City where they usually fight on rooftops and jump around in an online environment where gravity can be controlled and changed, (3) Five is able to clone herself (like Mr. Smith in the Matrix movies), (4) in the final battle scene, thousands of copies of FIVE protect her from Suri, (5) Suri’s little brother, Tommy is an angelic 12 year old who fights with only a bamboo stick and gives his life at the end of the book to kill FIVE, (6) Suri jumps into the Internet by putting a golden ring, like a crown with insect legs, on her head, which connects to her brain to give her a full-sensory experience inside the Internet
The designer will have their name included as the cover designer inside the book.