Have you ever wondered what kind of research and information goes into an author building a fictional country?
For my newest release (Happy Release Day to me!), I decided to create a fictional country for the setting of In Search of a Prince. You say Brielle Adebayo, a 8th-grade civics teacher, discovers she’s really an African princess and needs to fly to Ọlọrọ Ilé stat. Her grandfather, the king, is dying and needs her to step into his shoes.
Y’all, there was so much I had to think of when building this country. Where to set it globally, what island I wanted to mirror it after, what topographical features I would add, etc.
I also had to set the rules of the monarchy, their government system, and create a culture that felt authentic.
What I did first was pick a culture I wanted to imitate but make changes for the purpose of the story. I chose the Yoruba tribe from Nigeria. It was easy then to set my island in the Gulf of Guinea near the country but mirror it off of the Bioko Island. I then researched colonization of Africa to figure out which country I wanted to use to create the history. I chose France partly for the many years I took it in high school, and also because it was one of the countries that actually influenced certain areas in Africa.
The Yoruba culture helped for inspiration of food, dress, customs, etc. I made some tweaks because this is a monarch and Nigeria is not. I also renamed the language so that when I added words that weren’t Yoruba, no one would be confused. But wow, it took a lot of research, more than I ever imagined as questions popped up here and there.
Overall, I’m satisfied with how it turned out and learned some lessons that will help me if I ever choose to create a new country again. Today is release day which means you can now read In Search of a Prince and discover the world I created, knowing it is based on real places.
I’d like to gift one paperback to a random winner. In order to gain entry, leave a comment telling me your favorite place to travel to. Please comment by 2/4/22 by 11:59pm EST to gain entry. (US mailing address only can gain a signed copy. If you’re international, you can get a book if BookDepository delivers to you but it won’t be signed)