My first romance, written six years ago, is set on a ranch in 1880's South Dakota and the dangerous docks of St. Louis. Living next door in Minnesota, I am familiar with the South Dakota landscape. I also know about herding cattle and building fences, but I knew nothing about riverboats and little about the chain of Army forts staggered along the Missouri River basin to protect settlers.
I ordered books from the regional library and from Amazon.com. I researched period clothing and medicine, Ojibwa cooking and rites of passage, popular dances and provisions in small general stores. I studied banking and real estate sales and when electricity was introduced to St. Louis.
I drew plat maps of my fictional town, Prosperity and layouts of the Hawkins' homestead.
I was going to post two excerpts, one from my first draft, and one that I would quickly polish. Just to compare.
I started but have run out of time.
I am still in love with my hero, but have found that my heroine is too much like me.
And I need to layer in more deep POV, as usual.
I'll work on it some more.