Researching the West

I am currently in research mode. For the past several days I have been pouring over articles on how to run a ranch. I found several blogs that I am now following, I’ve gone through months worth of blog posts. While I spent a good deal of my childhood in the country (on my grandparents farm), I was an active member of FFA (Future Farmers of America), spent a semester studying Agriculture in college (before I had to leave school due to a pregnancy), and had the best job in the world working at the stables I never dealt with cattle. Sure there were times when we would all help round up Ed’s cows after a storm had knocked down a fence (sometimes while it was still raining) but I never really was exposed to cattle. We had sheep on the farm, I remember caring for the lambs who had been abandoned by their mothers. So, I’m researching cattle: cattle breeds, which ones are good for beef, which are good for milk, which are decent for both, what climates does each breed thrive in?

Not only am I gathering as much information as I can about the animals that will be on the ranch but about the typical climate of my location. The story is set in Wyoming but the weather in Wyoming varies depending on which area you are in. I’m currently looking at the south eastern part of the state. Where my main character’s ranch will have been passed down through the generations. She’s able to trace her family back to the Wild West when her family settled there in hopes of a better life.


I love research mode! I wish I could pick up and travel to Wyoming and get some hands on research in but as that is just not in the cards for me right now I will be content to spend hours reading books, articles, blog posts, business guides, breeding charts, even watching the occasional movie so I can get a feel for the scenery as well.

Do you enjoy researching for your books?

About Angela Schroeder

Angela Schroeder is a single mother of three. She was born and raised in Iowa in a river town known for its pearl buttons. Having four siblings, she never lacked for someone to play with. As she grew older, she found herself pulled into books and writing more and more. Her parents are her heroes, her siblings her confidants and tormentors, and her children are a wonderful blessing. Church is important to her children and her. They enjoy the friendships they’ve made with the people there. Writing has always been a passion. Her first experience was in fifth grade when she went to a one-day writing conference. After that she knew it was something she wanted to pursue.
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6 Responses to Researching the West

  1. jeff7salter says:

    I can’t say I “enjoy” research. But on several books, I’ve had to do a LOT of it. None more so than for Hid Wounded Reb. I read article after article about KY during the Civil War… and specifically about the Battle of Duttons Hill — which took place scarcely two miles from my house now (and was central to the plot of that novel).
    For the first novel ms that I ever wrote — not yet published and llkely never so — required enormous amounts of research on UFOs, ghosts, Indian burial grounds, etc.
    One of my problems — after having done enough research to write a college term paper on that topic — is that I felt the desire to cram most of what I’d learned into my story. I discovered that most fiction readers don’t want or need that depth of detail and back-story — or so say the editors.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I do , actually, enjoy research. Sometimes I have to motivate myself, but once I am into it,I go big.I usually have to stop myself from putting in too much information.
    I applaud you on the pains you are taking.As you know, it drives me nuts when writers know a little and make assumptions about people and places. I have not been far into Wyoming, but you’re right, the typography changes rapidly. Where it is hilly, I personally found it the most attractive, but it had VERY steep ups and downs. The plain, at least in the southern part, had winds and cold that were unbelievable, but man and beast make it!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Patricia Kiyono says:

    I enjoy research, but it seems no matter how much reading I do, the specific bits of knowledge I need (Could they have done this in that time period? How is this done?) are difficult to find. And of course, when I start searching for a specific bit of info, I end up reading about lots of other unrelated stuff, and then it’s time for bed. Have fun with your “trip” out west!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Joselyn says:

    I love research of any kind, not just for my books. I just love learning new things. I have favorite topics, of course… Bigfoot, volcanoes, geology, deep ocean things, various historical figures and times. All interesting stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

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