Guest Post: Out of the Pantry by Patrice Sarath

Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen has transformed into a subgenre of its own with retellings, spinoffs, continuations, and re-imaginings. What keeps these books going is the fresh perspective that each author brings to the story and its characters.

Patrice Sarath is bringing her talents to the fore in The Unexpected Miss Bennet, which tells Mary Bennet’s story. She’s the one considered unremarkable and religious in the original novel. But in this iteration, Sarath takes her on a journey because she’s uncertain about her future of spinsterhood. Today is the release of The Unexpected Miss Bennet.

Today, I have a treat for my readers, a glimpse into her writing space. Please enjoy.

Up until six months ago, I wrote in my pantry. That’s right, my pantry. See, we have a small house, barely big enough for the four of us, so my husband created a writing space for me in our combined laundry room/pantry. It was big enough for my desktop and contained all of my writing miscellanea, as you can see. In the summer, it got pretty hot, so I wrote to the constant sound of a fan positioned at the doorway. In the winter, I kept warm from the dryer.

I wrote four novels and countless short stories in that pantry. I think my success was due to the womb-like nature of the writing space. The only way out of that room was to write my way out of it. I sat with my back to the door, and the world went away, so much in fact that my daughter would have to call me by my first name to get my attention, causing me to jump.

But life goes on, first daughters grow up, and after she went to college, we started to eye her bedroom. Wow, what an awesome space for an office, I thought. We could create a shared guestroom office space – our daughter could stay there on breaks, and I’d have a window for writing.

So we took out the carpet, fixed the ceiling, painted, and put in beautiful flooring. I put in my desk and computer, put up the bookcase my husband made, and made a beautiful writing space for myself.

And promptly got a very bad case of writer’s block. Too much light and air, I think. Too many distractions. It took awhile to get over that. I don’t take change well, and it was a shock to my system. Sometimes I find myself going into the pantry to sit down and write, only to be shocked with how my former space is taken up with household stuff.

So I find my way to the new office, settle in with music and the fan, just useful as white noise now, and fully expect the next years to bring me the same joys and heartache and frustration and elation that writing always brings. I still have to write my way out of the room. It’s just a bigger room.

Thanks, Patrice, for sharing your writing space with us.

Photo Credit: Ben Van Dyke

About the Author:

Patrice is a writer and editor in Austin, Texas. Her first novel, Gordath Wood, came out from Ace in the summer of 2008, and the sequel, Red Gold Bridge, in 2009. Gordath Wood is hard to categorize. It’s fantasy but with only a touch of magic to it.

Like most writers, she has a day job at Hoover’s, Inc. where she writes about business and commerce as it relates to the financial and construction industries.  In the evenings she writes fiction, including her new release The Unexpected Miss Bennet.


  1. I love her new writing space, very spacious. I would have felt too confined in the pantry, but it does sound like a cozy space. I can understand how difficult the change must have been. Thanks for sharing!

  2. The new space looks like it would be a lot more relaxing but it is funny how we are creatures of habit and old habits are hard to break. This was a fun insight to the authors world!

    • Yeah, I can’t imagine trying to adjust to a new space after spending so much time in one place and knowing where everything was.

  3. Now I want a pantry to make into my own little creative spot. It sounds so cozy and enveloping.

  4. I love Patrice’s new writing space. It’s gorgeous although I can see how the security of the pantry can be appealing too. I can’t wait to see your thoughts on the book Serena. It’s on my night table for reading soon.

  5. Obviously the small space did wonders for creativity! It must be nice to have a little more room now, though. 🙂

  6. I love how creative she was and I’m sure she’ll always have fond memories of that pantry!

    • I love both spaces, though for different reasons. That pantry looks like a busy woman works there, while the new office looks like it had lots of room to spread out.

  7. Wow now that is what I call crowded! Kudos to you for sticking with it in that little space 🙂

    And the book, awww, sounds lovely! I love JA variations


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