First pic above is Tamsin Silver standing on a bridge in San Patricio, NM, looking down at the dam in the second picture. April 2016.
In order to write a Historical Fiction novel, you have to do research. The grounding blocks of your story is the history of the location your story takes place so you need to put in the work. I have been to Lincoln, NM, now three times in the past 15 months for just that. Three weeks total for the time I've been there and to be honest, it's not enough as far as I'm concerned...bit for this New Yorker, it'll have to do for now.
But seeing the land isn't all there is. You need to research the clothing, the speech, the people, the food, the way they cooked, the type of transportation, their laws (if they had any), and so on. It's not just the events you need to know. These are the small things that will pull your reader in and help them feel they are there with your characters and nothing will pull them out more than unclear or wrong information. And some things are more sensitive than others. Names, for example, the atmosphere, and words. There are words we use now they didn't then...and vice versa.
In particular, if you are going to use a character in the wild west, especially in New Mexico, that is not a white man/woman, then they are Hispanic in background or Native American. Translation for Spanish is as easy nowadays as Google Translator. But Native American words and language is not easy to find and you definitely want to get that right. Question is, where can you do that? Well, you can reach out to Natives of the area if they are still there, or you can find a website on them...or, you can use Native American Language Translations: Indian Words for Tattoos, Literature or Art. This is such a valuable took for a writer or artist! I highly recommend reaching out to them if you are in need of getting Native American words right.
The more research I do, I'll place links on this page for you all to peruse at your liesure if you want. But I warn you, once you start down the rabbit hole of research...you could end up hangin' out there for awhile. LOL!
Also, as noted on other pages, if you'd like to see more pictures of the historical places in New Mexico, historical information, and to stay up to date on the twists and turns of this new novel, visit the Facebook page for The Curse of Billy the Kid or check out the NM Pictures page! - Tamsin :)