by Heather Day Gilbert
I’m celebrating the 12 Days of Cozies on Twitter with many talented cozy mystery authors, and today I wanted to share about why I included a visit to the Christmas tree farm in my winter-set mystery, Iced Over (Book 2 of theBarks & Beans Cafe cozy mystery series).
A little background—my husband of 23 years and I dated in college. Things never quite worked out while we were there (okay, I dumped him the day after Valentine’s Day—which I will never live down), and we went our own ways when we graduated. I figured we were both looking for something else.
Then one pretty December day, my parents, my two brothers, and I visited the local Christmas tree farm to pick out a tree. As I sat down on the windswept hill, looking up at the blue, sunlit skies, I was hit with an epiphany. It was literally one of those light bulb moments. I turned in wonder and said to my mom, “You know who would fit in perfectly here? David Gilbert.”
Inspired to reconnect with him (this was in the days before internet, y’all, back when long-distance phone calls cost a fortune), I sent him a Christmas card. He was in law school at the time, and since I didn’t know his address there, I sent it to his home address in Western New York. Please note that his momma could’ve chosen to dump that card in the trash (after all, I did dump her son the day after Valentine’s Day), but instead, bless her, she let him know a card had arrived for him from me, and she forwarded it on to him.
One thing led to another, and next thing you know, I married that man who DID indeed fit in perfectly with my family. Once we’d moved back to a small town again and the kids started coming, we made a point of doing an annual visit to the local Christmas tree farm to choose our tree. Over the years, we’ve had squatty, Hershey-kiss shaped pines, humongous spruces that towered in our high-ceilinged room, but one thing has remained the same—we make a family event of it, playing Christmas carols, drinking hot chocolate, and enjoying our family time together.
When I wrote Iced Over, I wanted to show that siblings Macy and Bo Hatfield had a similar tradition (although one of their traditions was also fighting over who got the final say in the tree!). I had a lot of fun writing the Christmas decoration scene.
I know real trees aren’t for everyone, but I hope you have some family traditions that warm your heart like this one does for us. And I hope you can check out Iced Over to find out more about Macy and Bo’s Thanksgiving/Christmas mystery adventures!
Heather Day Gilbert, an ECPA Christy award finalist and Grace award winner, enjoys writing contemporary mysteries set in her home state of West Virginia. Her novels feature small towns, family relationships, and women who aren’t afraid to protect what they love.
You can find and chat with Heather on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. If you are looking for more information on her books, be sure to visit her website heatherdaygilbert.com.