It’s Christmastime. Canadian Olivia Moretti has just landed at the airport in Venice. She’s excited to be starting a new job with an art gallery in Venice. She speaks flawless Italian; her late father was a native before emigrating to Canada.
Still at the airport, tired and jetlagged Olivia first runs into Alessandro Rossi of the Venice police. He wants to see identification, and he wants to know where her suitcase is. The elderly woman she had left it with momentarily is gone; the suitcase remains, but something inside is ticking. And the President of Italy is due to land at the airport.
Christmas in Venice by Meadow Taylor is a short story and prequel to the romantic suspense novel Midnight in Venice. It’s designed to introduce the reader both to Olivia and the policeman, both of whom as major characters in the novel. The story blends the right amount of humor, suspense, and the possibility of romance to keep interest moving forward toward the novel.
Meadow Taylor is the pen name of two (unnamed) Ontario authors of historical fiction. In addition to Midnight in Venice, Taylor has also published the novels The Billionaire’s Secrets and Falling for Rain and the short story Christmas in Bruges.
Prequels, and especially prequel short stories and novellas, are an increasingly popular and effective way for an author to introduce full-length novels. Reasonably priced and sometimes free, they give the reader a taste of what the longer story is about. They’re also often used as a promotional giveaway to encourage readers to sign up for an author’s newsletter. Christmas in Venice is an example of the effective use of a prequel.
Top photograph by Federico Beccari via Unsplash. Used with permission.
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