Early New Mexico – by Guest Janice Cole Hopkins


During the years when Spain ruled Mexico and territories to the north, they allowed very few foreigners to enter, and trade was nearly impossible. However, once Mexico gained its independence in 1821, things opened-up. Almost immediately, traders began to enter New Mexico Territory, and the legendary Santa Fe Trail began.

Much of the merchandise available from Mexico was inferior to that produced in the United States, and those in the territories were eager for the higher quality goods. Hauling the items that far was difficult and dangerous, but the lucrative profits were appealing. From its beginning, the Santa Fe Trail was only meant for wagon trains hauling goods. Other western trails, such as the Oregon Trail, the California Trail, and the Mormon Trail would be for settlers coming to the West. That didn’t keep settlers from trickling in, however, and for the most part, the Mexican government welcomed them.

This is the historical background to my new five-book series set in early New Mexico. The first book in the Cactus Creek series, Second-Choice Bride, is already out, and the second book, Sterling Orphans, will soon follow. In Second-Choice Bride, Abby Carter was horrified with herself when she blurted out a marriage proposal to Preston King. A proper lady would never do such a thing, but her cousin had just jilted Preston, and she wanted to ease his hurt. She cared too much for him. Preston is confused, but he knows he needs a wife to help him run his uncle’s ranch in New Mexico Territory, so he asks Abby to marry him. But will he ever purge Magnolia from his heart, and will they even survive the long journey west?

I lived in New Mexico for two years and learned much about the area and its history during that time. My husband and I bought an old adobe house and remodeled it. I had a great time decorating it with a southwestern theme. When my mother’s health began to fail, and her insurance wouldn’t pay out-of-state beyond six months, we returned to North Carolina, and I began writing some of those novels I had always wanted to write. Second-Choice Bride is my thirtieth published book.

I love writing about the places I have lived and worked, and I have a lot to choose from. I’ve been to all fifty states and about forty-five other countries. With my love of history, I always explore the past and culture of an area. Having grown up in the eastern part of the Appalachian Mountains, I often joke that I lived much as people did in the 1800s. However, there’s some truth in that statement, but it’s given me a good background for writing historical fiction.

Leave the answer to the question below in a comment, and I will give a Kindle copy of Second-Choice Bride to the winner whose name is drawn.

If you could temporarily move to a new place for a year or two, where would you choose and why?

Also, free to ask me any questions or make comments. I look forward to chatting with you.

You can check out Janice’s books HERE

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34 thoughts on “Early New Mexico – by Guest Janice Cole Hopkins”

    • It does look gorgeous, Debra. I’m hoping my next big vacation will be to Australia and New Zealand, but I don’t think I want to live there for a year or two.

    • Hawaii was beautiful when I went there on my honeymoon. I enjoyed that visit, but living there would be very expensive. I am blessed to live in a state with both beaches and mountains.

  1. I think somewhere on a horse and cattle ranch in Texas would be fun – I love horses and hubs farms full time – so that is what I am used to here in Indiana!

  2. Welcome. Oh but this must have been a researchers dream to live two years in New Mexico. Hmmm I suppose I have not really thought about it much. I grew up in CA until high school, and now live in the mid west. My family is all here. So this is where I am happiest. Have to think on this question a little.

    • Lori, living in a place does make it much easier to write about. I enjoyed my 2 years in New Mexico and am happy to produce at least 5 books set there.

  3. I think maybe Hawaii would be my choice, I would love to be on the beach and listen to the ocean wave so calming. I think we need something like this right now to help us through this time in life.

    • Hawaii is a lovely place to visit, but it would be a long way from the rest of my family to live.

    • Ireland was one of the favorite places I have visited. I loved the Irish people and their humor. They have no problem laughing at themselves, which I find refreshing.

  4. Y’all are really world travelers like me, and I’m impressed. I expected more domestic moves. LOL

  5. I would like to have lived in a real western town and seen one of Buffalo Bill’s wild west shows with Chief Joe Black Fox.

  6. I’d move to some place with mountains and snow, since I’m a Florida native, and we don’t have either!! I could also do New Zealand, since my niece and her Kiwi’s live there.

  7. I would move to the mountains and live in a cabin. We used to go every summer to Cloudcroft, NM and we would rent a cabin there and I loved it. So that would be my place I would move to. Your books sound like very good reads , and I love your book covers. (not entering your ebook giveaway , as I don’t read ebooks at all, but Thank you) Have a Great weekend and stay safe.

  8. That is a hard question. I too like to explore, especially the historical areas and backgrounds of the culture and people. In addition, the wide variety of natural landscapes is a joy to explore. If I had a year to explore, I would love to live in New Zealand. Runners up would be Scotland, Ireland, and Australia in any order.

    • I have been to Scotland and Ireland, and they’re good choices. New Zealand is on my bucket list.

  9. I hve traveled all over the US and most of Europe but when I became ill my husband and I decided to listen to the doctors who said I need a warm climate, and move to New Mexico. We still live in NM. I love it here. There is never a day that I don’t find something new to marvel at. New Mexico is a constant changing desert for the most part but if we need a change of scenery we just hop in the car and we are in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. I think we are modern day pioneers moving to the South west to find a new climate and home. If you ever get a chance, come to New Mexico, it is a world in one state- deserts and mountains and everything in between. It is a wonder.

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