A popular meme floated around Twitter a few weeks ago comparing the number of cases of coronavirus in fictional countries to those in our own, very real country.
Wakanda? Zero. Narnia? Zero, Asgard? Zero. Genovia? Zero.
This last one made me laugh.
Not that there’s anything funny about coronavirus — there’s not. But, Genovia is a fictional country that I created. It is ruled (however reluctantly) by Mia Thermopolis, who discovers in The Princess Diaries that she is the sole heir to its throne and goes on, over the course of 16 or so books (and two Disney movies), to establish a constitutional democracy, find love, and achieve self-actualization.
The reason I laughed at that meme is because, by the time it rolled around, I’d been working on The Corona Princess Diaries for weeks: the latest entries in Mia’s diaries (all posted for free on my blog ) showing that running a country (competently) during a pandemic is no joke . . . but it can be done.
From a grandmother who doesn’t want to social distance to a husband who gets stuck in quarantine to business leaders who sue when Mia shuts down the country’s hotels and restaurants, many of the princess’s problems are based on things that have actually been happening right here in the Florida Keys, where I live and where I’ve set my latest book for adult readers, No Offense (due out in August 2020 ).
Like the Florida Keys, Genovia most definitely has more than zero cases of coronavirus.
But because of Mia’s heroic efforts (which echo those of our valiant female Keys mayors), it has very few. Lockdown has been hard on the people of the Keys (it hasn’t been quite as hard on the people of Genovia, especially those living in the palace).
I’m just hoping that both lovely tourist destinations can keep their numbers as low as they’ve been lately when they open back up.
Of course my thoughts during this time haven’t been all about Mia and Genovia. That would be impossible! Look below to see how some of my other popular characters are faring during this pandemic.