by Delores Topliff

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. James 1:5 NKJV 

I know that praying for wisdom works for creative ideas, too. I have friends who carefully spend time seeking the Lord’s inspiration before every new project with wonderful results. I get a little inspiration while pitching hay to our Scottish Highland cows and calves, too.

I’ve published children’s books, a WWII historical, and more, but my idea for Christmas Tree Wars, which released this week, was an outright gift. I know the exact time and place the story arrived gift-wrapped one Sunday morning as I drove a different Minnesota farm road to church and saw something unusual. 

A row of tall, stately evergreen trees lined one side of the road. On the other side, a lone evergreen bordered a hayfield. I instantly knew (that, in my story) the owner of the row of trees would provide a prize evergreen for a national contest. But instead of using one of his trees, he would cut his neighbor’s only tree and give that, much like the Old Testament prophet Nathan told King David about the wealthy man stealing a poor man’s only beloved ewe sheep. 

Details change as any story gets written, but I’m forever thankful for how this fun scenario entered my heart. I’ve driven that stretch of road since to see if it will happen again. Because more Amish families are moving into our farming area, this sign is now posted for safety. It might inspire story ideas, too. 

Christmas Tree Wars takes place between two feuding Wisconsin Christmas tree farmers. Kris Lundquist, an ambitious New York City financial planner, comes home for two weeks to help his Swedish-American Christmas tree grower dad survive financial crisis. There, he gets re-acquainted with Marcie Halvorsen, the forestry-major niece of their cranky Norwegian-American neighbor, who also comes home to help with finances. Both enter contests to provide a national Christmas tree to increase business. 

Despite their relationship being as star-crossed as Romeo and Juliet’s, they fall in love and help their families and town rediscover the reason for the season. 

This was a fun story to write, and I’m sure will always stay one of my favorites! Read the first two chapters free right now on Facebook at the Scrivenings Press page. 

Follow Delores Topliff’s website to read her blog every second Tuesday and/or follow her on Facebook.

Purchase Christmas Tree Wars here.