Olivia Dawson's life is spiraling out of control.
It’s her 32nd birthday, and her colleagues are singing “Happy Birthday” to her at the same time divorce papers land on her desk. Working as an event planner for a struggling travel magazine and living in a small studio apartment in New York City, Olivia is concerned about her future.
That storyline marks the beginning of “Little Milestones,” the fourth novel by Stephanie Verni, a Severna Park author and professor of communication at Stevenson University. The contemporary fiction novel is set in the town of St. Michaels, Maryland, and features Oxford and Easton, with little jaunts to Annapolis.
Olivia moves to St. Michaels to be with her grandmother, Nan, and with her help, Olivia secures a job at a local bookstore, planning events and working at the store. She also reconnects with Nan’s contingent of friends, most of whom she remembers from spending her summers in St. Michael’s as a young girl and teenager. These connections help Olivia realize what’s been missing in her own life: enduring friendships that last a lifetime and a strong sense of self.
Told in the voices of Olivia, Nan and Miles, “Little Milestones” weaves together the experiences of all three characters, including their heartbreaks, challenges, loves and friendships.
The novel piggybacks onto Verni’s last book, “Inn Significant,” which was set in Oxford.
“As a Maryland writer, it’s a pleasure to incorporate various locales into my storytelling and set the novel in locations around our beautiful state,” said Verni, who cited the PBS series “Call the Midwife” as an inpsiration for her new book. “As someone who has been in love with St. Michaels, Oxford and Easton for years, it also gave me an excellent excuse to visit often with a notebook and camera in hand to do research.”
Verni’s other books inlcude “Beneath the Mimosa Tree” (2012), “Baseball Girl” (2015), “Inn Significant” (2017), and a collection of short stories and poetry called “The Postcard and Other Short Stories and Poetry” (2018).
Verni will host a talk at the Severna Park Library on Tuesday, January 21, at 7:00pm. There, she will offer a workshop and Q&A to help budding writers with their novels or nonfiction writing.
For more information, visit www.stephsscribe.com or find Verni’s books through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.