Kaitlin Solimine's award-winning debut novel Empire of Glass was originally titled The Soap Tree because of a tree that is native to the town in China in which her novel is set. The part of the story that made this title relevant was removed during the editing process so she had to create a new title before publishing. Solimine's book chronicles the lives of Li-Ming and her husband, Wang, a glass grinder in pre and post-revolutionary China. Wang had inherited his father's profession, which he called a "quiet empire of glass". She felt that using a part of this quote from the book as the title related well to her book's themes of power and fragility. Solimine wanted the cover design to demonstrate these themes as well, and while she didn't direct the design of the cover, her publisher hired a designer that provided several options, one of which was a perfect fit.
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