Patience Oaktree's Hidden Past

When I write Patience Oaktree organizing adventures, I’m in another world—a world in which all the characters are very real. They have complete lives, including their pasts, whether or not those details are revealed in the stories. That’s part of what makes the characters believable, and makes the reader care what happens to them.

Stuffed with Turkey, p.30

Stuffed with Turkey, p.30

Real people all have backstories, strengths, and shortcomings. Patience Oaktree does, too. Sometimes they help her relate to her clients, and sometimes they get in her way. When you, the reader, meet Patience “Pat” Oaktree, she is already a successful professional organizer with her own mantra(1), her favorite four-letter expletive(2), and her dream of writing a book. You find out where and how she met her husband Fred(3) and what she fed her kids for lunch when they were young(4). Little details from Pat’s past influence her work—the brand of sneakers she wore as a child(5) helps her set up a system for a client’s collection of shoes, and an experience with a coworker at Pat’s job right after college graduation(6) helps her decide that she will never arrive early for an appointment with a client, especially a chronically disorganized one.

My college roommate was fond of saying, “we do what we have to do,” meaning that our actions are the result of our experiences up to that point. That’s certainly true for the behavior of all my characters.

Pat’s world is very real, and she and I would like to welcome you into it.


(1) Patience and the Porsche, p.7
(2) Patience and the Porsche, p.25
(3) Photographic Memories, Chapter 9
(4) A Mess of Fish, p.34
(5) Heart of a Hoarder, p.81
(6) Stuffed with Turkey, p.10