I enjoy researching American History and in particular, the Old West. Many reasons for that:
First, I was born in Kearney, Nebraska, the town named after Ft. Kearny located on the Oregon Trail. And I remember visiting the fort and admiring those brave pioneers numbering in the hundreds of thousands who migrated across the continent searching for economic opportunity, and who associated land ownership and farming with freedom. Thousands also were driven by the California Gold Rush and the hopes of striking it rich. At the same time, I was sympathetic to the plight of the American Indians and the impact the westward expansion had on their lives.
Second, I grew up in the era of good 'ol TV Westerns. I'm guessing some of you did too. From the likes of Roy Rogers & Dale Evans. From Gunsmoke to Rifleman, from Bonanza to The Big Valley, from Maverick to my all time favorite, Wagon Train and later on, Little House on the Prairie, those stories to me represented the romance of those times. Also I loved western movies, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, 3:10 to Yuma and especially, Dances with Wolves. Yes, a lot of it was Hollywood and strayed from the hard facts, but non the less, influenced my love and imagination for that time period. However, I do want to stress, that though my books contain fictional places and characters, the history it entails has been strictly researched for authenticity.
Last but not least, I feel the historical old West is a major part of our heritage and we should enjoy learning about it. Hopefully, by reading the fictional genre I write, my readers will not only enjoy the story but the historical background as well. And of course, romance plays an important part of my stories too.