It is sent in a small island micronation called Haederlys that is holding a reality show competition to discover who their next princess will be.
Haederlys (coming from the Norwegian and Dutch words for “light” and “bright”, respectively) is loosely based on a real place, a tiny island in the North Sea, just Northeast of The Netherlands called Terschelling.
Turning to Terschelling
Terschelling is 674 km2 (260.23 sq mi) in area, roughly the same size as Chicago or Indianapolis and has a population of about 5,000. It is famed for its cranberries, which are not native to the island, they washed ashore from a shipwreck a century and a half ago.
It played a minor role in a few different wars, but is largely unknown, a small sleepy island full of resourceful people who know how to make the best of everything.
Where the Heck is Haederlys?
Haederlys takes a lot of inspiration from Terschelling, as well as other micronations like Monaco and San Marino. It is largely made of its one large metropolitan area, Haederlys City (at least until I come up with a more clever name) and has a few surrounding villages.
Its population sits in the 40,000 range, it has participated in Eurovision since the mid-80s and largely owes its independence to the fact that no one seemed to notice or care that it was not incorporated territory. Oh, and the scary Vikings.
Much of its culture comes from these Scandinavian sailors, they even have a unique dialect that incorporates many Norwegian or Swedish words into their Dutch. When the pagan believers of the Old Norse religion needed a place to hide out from the Christian crusaders, they settled in this West Frisian island because the cranberry bushes made for excellent honey and excellent honey makes really good mead.
My main character, Alex, hopes to become the princess of Haederlys mostly to prove that anyone – even a nerdy, classic-rock-loving, jeans-wearing, John-Lennon-glasses-rocking girl like her can be a princess. However, she learns to fall in love with the island and hopes to make it her home.
I hope you fall in love with it too!
Images courtesy of Wikipedia