Hi there! I’m Cat Cahill, author of the Gilbert Girls series. Thank you for letting me sit a while here with you today. I’m going to chat about one of my favorite things—inspiration!


I love that moment when a new book idea hits me. It can be quiet or loud, detailed or vague, and sometimes it’s an older idea that’s changed into something new and different. The inspiration behind my Gilbert Girls series was the latter.


Several years ago, I was on a long road trip out West and we’d stopped for a few days at the Grand Canyon. If you’ve been, you might remember how steeped in history the Canyon is. From the buildings on the South Rim to the stories of brave souls paddling down the Colorado River, history is everywhere you turn. But one display in a building on the South Rim caught my attention for longer than anything else. It was about the Harvey Girls, and for the life of me, I couldn’t even tell you what was in that display now!


         El Tovar, the former Harvey hotel at the Grand Canyon.



I won’t go much into the history of the Harvey Girls, since there are already several excellent posts on this blog about them. But I was fascinated! I picked up a book about them in the gift shop and devoured it when I returned home. And that was it . . . until a couple of years ago when I got the idea that I wanted to write western historical romance. The Harvey Girls immediately popped into my head. I dug out that book again, did some more research, and I was hooked. But after tons of research, I realized something critical—I couldn’t write about the actual Harvey Girls.


I wanted to write a historical western, but most of the existing information about the Harvey Girls dates to 1900 or later; very little is available about the earlier, nineteenth century years. With little to go on and a desire to set my books in the beautiful Wet Mountain Valley of Colorado, I invented my own version of the Harvey Girls — the Gilbert Girls. This gave me the freedom to use the Harvey Girls as inspiration but invent facts where none existed before. What I love most about historical fiction is that it’s a beautiful blend of real-life history and, well, fiction.


It allowed me to create a new hotel with invented rules and characters from my head. For example, the Gilbert Girls aren’t allowed to be courted while they’re under contract at the hotel—you can guess how well that goes in a sweet romance book! I can bring in characters of all sorts, like Monroe, the hotel’s builder in the first book, Building Forever, who tries to bury his guilt over losing his wife with his work. Or Penny, in Wild Forever, the most recent book, who is starting over far away from a past that gave her no options at home.


Inspiration is a wonderful thing, even if you’re not a writer. I hope you find inspiration in your life, whether it’s to create, to spend more time doing what you love or with the people you cherish, or to think more about the philosophies by which you live your life.


What inspires you? Comment below, and you’ll be entered to win one set of signed paperback copies of the first two Gilbert Girls books (if you live outside the US, you’ll receive ebooks through Amazon).


Cat’s Bio:

A sunset. Snow on the mountains. A roaring river in the spring. A man and a woman who can’t fight the love that pulls them together. The danger and uncertainty of life in the Old West. This is what inspires Cat to write. She hopes you find an escape in her books!?

Cat lives with her family, a hound dog, and a few cats in Kentucky. When she’s not writing, she’s losing herself in a good book, planning her next travel adventure, doing a puzzle, attempting to garden, or wrangling her kids.?

You can visit Cat at her website, or follow her on Facebook to get all the latest Gilbert Girls news. You can also follow her on Amazon. Or sign up for her newsletter, where she’ll send you Forbidden Forever, the series prequel novella.



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  1. Good morning and Welcome Cat. I read a wonderful book years ago by Jodi Thomas which featured the Harvey Girls here in Kansas where I live. It was amazing.
    Your series sound fantastic, love that you changed their name to The Gilbert Girls.
    What inspires me? Well 1st and foremost, my faith In Our Dear Lord, without him we would not have inspiration.
    Books inspire me, they keep me on level ground and help with my sobriety which in Sept. will be 19 years.
    My friends and family inspire me, love of animals, and well you get the picture. Any & everything can inspire someone if they will only let it.
    Thanks for the great blog, happy Summer to you!

    • I need to look up Jodi’s book! Congratulations on your sobriety. And I agree—anything can be inspiring if you let it be. 🙂

  2. Good morning thanks for your post. Early morning sunrise inspire me. Just to set on the porch and watch the day come a live. Have a great day.

    • Yes! I love the sunrise. Not only for its beauty but for the reminder that each day is new and full of potential.

  3. Good morning! I’ll have to research Harvey girls because they’re just not ringing a bell! Your series sounds amazing! A romance novel about someone that isn’t supposed to date/be courted has got to be good. I’ve yet to read one of your books and would love the opportunity. A giveaway is an awesome way to find a new author to add to my go to authors list.

    What inspires me? My daughter’s, reading because it’s my escape from reality, and my MS diagnosis. The last one probably wasn’t expected, right?!?! Well I never knew how strong I was until my MS reared it’s ugly head in 2004 at age 35. I had had it since my teens most likely. MS causes me to live my best today because I never know what my tomorrow will be like. I’ve seen some very ugly sides of MS but lived and recovered from its flares to tell about it.

    • I forgot to say my friend, Tonya Lucas, is one of my greatest gifts and inspirations. She brought me back to the reading world in 2016 after not having read for decades. She makes sure I have books to read since I’m on a very tight disability budget! She’s my God send!

      • Stephanie- you are just too sweet. You always ate a ray of sunshine in my life. For all MS has done to you and your daily health struggles, you continue to be the most up beat person I know. Love you to the moon & back.

    • Stephanie, you’re an inspiration to me. You’ve seen far worse than I have with this disease. But you keep on going and laughing along the way. Keep it up, warrior friend.

    • Keep fighting! MS can be so cruel. I love your mindset to live each day to its fullest. I’m a cancer survivor myself, and there is nothing like unpredictable health to completely change the way you see the world. Thank you for your kind words! I’m a big fan of reading forbidden romance, so I suppose it was only natural that I wind up writing it!

  4. Your series sounds very interesting and I must read it. Books is what inspire me. They take me away from the real world for a while to different places. I get to travel in books so I have been to many places and times in life.

  5. Hello Cat!! And Good morning!!! ??????????????????????
    Really glad your here!!! Love the sound of your series! I love all things Western Romance! I am a big history geek on Western history!
    What inspires me is definitely anything to do with Romance! Lol (I know a total cliche but it’s true!)
    I get really inspired with learning how all love stories start! It could be a marriage of convenience or a child hood sweetheart! Those stories allow me to have faith and hope in everyday crazy life haha!!
    Thank you!!
    God bless you! ??

  6. Hello!! The books sound really good! I’m inspired when reading my Bible, and doing Bible studies. Also, by the beauty in our world! I’m also inspired when I watch one of the launches, though for the Falcon 9 last night I didn’t go outside, I just watched on TV.

  7. Good morning, Cat and welcome to the Junction! It’s so nice for us writers to be able to take a piece of history and build a whole new world around it. The Gilbert Girls series sounds interesting. I’m inspired by history. In fact, I’m kind of a geek. I love reading about how things used to be and finding little-known tidbits to stick into my stories. I’m also inspired by people who face such overwhelming adversity and find a way through it with dignity and grace.

    Great covers of your books, by the way! They draw me in. Wishing you tons of success.

    • Thank you, Linda! I’m happy to be here! 🙂 I love finding those fascinating little tidbits too. It’s even better when they fit into a book!

  8. Sounds like a terrific series. The Harvey Girls have always fascinated me, and I love the way you took the idea and made it into these books. I’m not a writer, but sometimes I feel as if I’m open to everything and whatever I see or is happening around me makes me stop for a second and take notice.

  9. lovely post! Inspiration hits at odd times but mostly in nature and watching God’s creation. Who wouldn’t be inspired by that! Thanks for sharing your books with us!

  10. Welcome Cat. I love reading about the Harvey Girls. Now I know I will love reading about the Gilbert Girls. This is exciting how you came up with them and that you made them different yet similar. I love it when inspiration hits. I agree, sometimes it is softly and other times it is truly loud. I quilt and I get a lot of inspiration and I have learned that if I write them all down, I usually go back to some of them and yes they are usually changed. And usually I love the final outcome a lot better. Thank you for the give a way. On my list now.

    • Thank you, Lori! I love that you’re a quilter. I try to write down the little bits that come to me here and there, too.

  11. The Harvey Girls are fascinating and here in NM an important part of history. The books sound captivating and beautiful. My four grandchildren inspire me.

  12. Cat, Thank you for sharing about the Harvey Girls! Your series sounds wonderful!

    Nature inspires me.

    • Me too! I get some of my best ideas walking in the woods or sitting on the porch of a mountain cabin.

  13. I am so interested in your Gilbert Girls. Western Historical romance about the Gilbert Girls is unique and wonderful. I have read a great deal about the Harvey Girls so this would be a treasure. I am inspired by so much. Beauty, sunshine and blue skies.

  14. I loved learning about The Harvey Girls so reading about the Gilbert Girls would be delightful and unforgettable. I become inspired by my young grandsons and granddaughters everyday.

    • Aren’t the Harvey Girls fascinating? Enjoy your little ones!! They are the best kind of inspiration.

  15. These sound like some fun books I need to check out. I love the Harvey Girls and I was also struck by the Tovar Hotel and the information about the Harvey Girls and Mary Colter. My husband and I visited the Grand Canyon for our honeymoon and I was absolutely thrilled to get to eat lunch in the dining room of the hotel I had read about years before in Tracie Peterson’s series! I am inspired by my faith, art and my family.

    • I thought Mary Colter and her work was really fascinating too! I loved being in those buildings and imagining all the people who had been there before me.

  16. Hi Cat, your series sound amazing!I love they covers also, they are beautiful! I enjoyed reading this post, and also looking at the old picture of the old hotel and the horse carriage. I am inspired by life and everything that surrounds me, I get inspired by my family, birds singing, flowers blooming , my very loving and loyal furry dog and my God! Life is good. I also get inspired by awesome books that I read, you know, history wasn’t my favorite subject in school, but thanks to you authors that write books about history, well for me it gives it a different meaning , a much better one, you all have made me like history, even the pictures you all post of the old carriages the clothing and everything else! You all have inspired my love for history, and for that, I Thank you from the bottom of my heart! Have a wonderful relaxing weekend. God Bless you all.

    • Thank you, Alicia! I adore those old pictures too. I always loved history the most when it was about people rather than events. So that’s probably why I’m now writing historical romance!

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