People say ‘write what you know’ – and Carina Axelsson has done exactly that. Her hugely popular Model Under Cover series - about a teen fashion detective - drew on her experience as a model when she featured in magazines including Vogue and worked with designers such as Sonia Rykiel and John Galliano.

Her latest book, Royal Rebel, is inspired by another aspect of Carina’s extraordinary life - her insider knowledge of a European royal family. Carina divides her time between Purbeck and Germany, where she lives with her partner, H.S.H. Prince Gustav of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg.

In the Royal Rebel series, Princess Lily of Waldenburg is a normal teenager in many ways. She loves fashion, her dog, her guinea pig and sleepovers with her BFF Leonie and has her own style vlog. When the vlog starts to take off, she sees a unique opportunity. But Princess Lily is first in line to the Queendom of Waldenburg.

"I wanted to turn the usual passive princess paradigm on its head," says Carina, who was brought up in Silicon Valley, California by her Swedish father and Mexican mother.

"In the stories we are all fed as children, queens are often strong. They make decisions, they're active - whereas princesses usually end up waiting around for something to happen.

"I also wanted to break down this idea that princesses can do and have whatever they want – in fact, as part of a reigning monarchy, life may be privileged but it’s very different from what people imagine."

Carina's love of literature began as a young child, when her favourite author was Beatrix Potter. She also loved C.W.Anderson and Dr Seuss, and was a huge fan of Jean de Brunhoff’s Babar series.

"Other books I loved included The Rescuers by Margery Sharp and The Secret Garden by F.H. Burnett," she remembers, "and, as I approached my teens, books such as Charlotte’s Web and the Black Stallion series made a real impression.

"Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Robert Louis Stevenson fired my passion further and led me further into literature. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte became my favourite novel when I was a teenager. I devoured Jane Austen’s books too. I also loved Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier and Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind. Agatha Christie got me hooked on mysteries."

Carina began a modelling career in San Francisco before moving to New York. She worked for Vogue and Elle, among other fashion magazines, followed by campaigns for Armani and Sonia Rykiel.

" I saw a lot of different places and met many interesting and highly creative people. My favourite part of modelling was all of the down time or waiting time, because it gave me lots of opportunities to read."

It was also her modelling career that first brought Carina to Europe - she settled in Paris due to her love of French 17th and 18th century history and soon turned her hand to illustrating - she had taken watercolour lessons throughout childhood.

She began to phase out her modelling while attending night classes at art school in Paris for two years before accepting commissions to design and illustrate invitations, birthday cards, fliers and birth announcements.

"A friend suggested I try writing a children's book featuring a dragon I'd drawn," she says. "This seemed like the perfect way for me to write a book - I could support the text with my own drawings. This was how my first picture book, Nigel of Hyde Park, came to be published in 2004."

Carina rounded out her fashion days with a job as PA to British fashion designer John Galliano based at Christian Dior. It was during this time that she wrote the first notes about a girl detective who solves fashion mysteries. These notes later became A Crime of Fashion (Usborne, 2014) the first book in her bestselling fashion detective series, Model Under Cover.

Royal Rebel is the first in a new series for Usborne, with two more titles due to be published in 2019.

Carina's "writing bolthole" is in Purbeck - an area she fell in love with after driving through Corfe Castle on the way to visit friends some years ago.

" I’ve been fortunate enough to have lived in some of the most beautiful and cosmopolitan cities in the world - like Paris and New York City - but it’s hard to beat Dorset for pure cosiness!

"Purbeck is magical and I absolutely love it. I’ve been an ardent anglophile since cracking open my first Beatrix Potter book and it’s always been a dream of mine to experience living in England - and now I do! And in the very best part of it, if I may say so!"

:: Royal Rebel by Carina Axelsson is published by Usborne, paperback £6.99.