Stephanie Verni’s love for writing, style, and travel shines through her work and lifestyle. Through her experience working as a professor, an author, and a mom, she’s truly living out her passions. Read on to learn more about this Creative Author Mom on the Street.
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Stephanie Verni is the author of Little Milestones (2019), The Postcard and Other Short Stories & Poetry 2018), Inn Significant (2017), Baseball Girl (2015), and Beneath the Mimosa Tree (2012). She and her colleagues, Leeanne Bell McManus and Chip Rouse, are the authors of Event Planning: Communicating Theory & Practice (2016). She is a Professor of Business Communication at Stevenson University, where she instructs writing and communication courses. Before working in academia, she spent thirteen years with the Baltimore Orioles as the editor of Baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken’s Commemorative book, which celebrated and marked his consecutive games record. She resides in Severna Park, Maryland, with her husband and two children.
For more information about Stephanie and her work, visit her website and blog at Stephanie Verni — www.stephanieverni.com.
You used to work at the Oriole’s. Explain a little about your experience there and also how to it led you to meet your husband.
I applied as a sophomore in college for the job of public relations assistant at the Baltimore Orioles. I liked baseball, but as a communication major, I knew I needed some experience. Securing that job altered the trajectory of my life. I made my best friends at work over the course of 13 years, and I met my husband, who worked in marketing, there. Because of that experience, we have two beautiful children. Although I made the switch to academia, my husband is now back at the Orioles as Vice President of Corporate Partnerships. Sometimes things really do come full circle.
At some point, you made the switch to go from a communications professional to a professor. What made you make the switch?
I had always had the idea that I would teach someday. My mother taught middle school, and even as a little kid, I loved learning and being in school. I was one of those kids who couldn’t wait to get new clothes and new school supplies each fall when summer ended, and it was time to go back. While working at the Orioles, I taught a course in public speaking, and I fell madly in love with it. I did that for many years until I became full-time faculty in 2008.
What are some of your favorite classes you have taught?
It’s really difficult for me to pick a favorite. I love all of them in different ways. I teach feature and magazine writing, public relations writing, and travel writing. On the communication side, I love teaching interpersonal communication, freshmen seminar, sports communication, and advertising.
You also have a blog, along with being an author and full-time professor. How do you balance it all along with being a mom?
My blog used to be called Steph’s Scribe, but I recently changed the name to Stephanie Verni to better reflect my name and work. I blog once a week, at least, when I’m not too busy. I blog about relationships, family, books, movies, travel, writing and publishing, and anything else that interests me.
Creative Author Life
Have you always enjoyed writing, and what finally made you start writing your first book? Ever since I was in middle and high school, I started to write. In high school, I knew I wanted to be a novelist one day. In college, I dabbled a lot in poetry. Then in my first master’s program, I took a course called Writing Short Fiction. I turned in a short story that my professor liked. He told me, “I think you have a novel here.” Twenty years later, after becoming a full-time professor, I went back for a terminal degree—a Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing—and I finally wrote that novel. That was in 2012. I’ve been writing books ever since. That novel is called Beneath the Mimosa Tree.
What are some of the other books you have written? I’ve written 5 contemporary fiction books so far: Beneath the Mimosa Tree, Baseball Girl, Inn Significant, Little Milestones, and a collection of short stories and poetry called The Postcard. My sixth novel will come out later this year. I also co-authored a textbook called Event Planning: Communicating Theory & Practice with my colleagues, Leeanne Bell McManus and Chip Rouse.
Do your children share a similar love of reading and books? I wish I could say they do. They were good readers as youngsters, but as they’ve aged and are both in college, they are primarily reading for school right now. I hope their love of reading returns when the rigors of college are over. I remember being mesmerized by my son reading all the Harry Potter books at a young age, and my daughter really loved YA fiction. They are both strong writers from all the reading they did, combined with having excellent English teachers.
Creative Author Parenting
Both of your kids are at college now. Was this challenging at first? What are some of the things you miss and some of the things you enjoy about them being away at college?
Well, of course, I miss them all the time. I try not to think too much about it. I have such a great relationship with both of my kids that even when they are physically not in the house, I still feel they are near. FaceTime is great for that! A plus to them being at college is that my husband and I are spending more and more time together, and we have rediscovered each other a bit. I think you learn to appreciate each other again when the worries diminish, and you can breathe a little easier as your kids become more responsible.
Best parenting advice: I’m certainly no expert, and I’ve made loads of mistakes along the way, but I’d say the best parenting advice is to give them all the love you can while also allowing them to experience some of the bumps along the way. My grandfather always said, “If they can’t manage the little bumps, how will they handle the big ones.” This just always stuck with me.
Parenting true confession: I’d like to think I’m even-tempered, but I’m not. I’ve got some Italian in me, and sometimes I’m known to blow my stack. Luckily, I’m just as quick to forgive.
Creative Author Family
What’s your favorite way to spend time with your family? I love vacationing with my family, of course, but I also enjoy the little things too, like going out on our little powerboat, going out to dinner, snuggling up, and watching movies. Some of my best memories are of all of us hunkering down over the holidays and watching all of our favorite Christmas movies. I love that time with them.
What’s been your best family vacation? Our best family vacation happened in 2018 when my son graduated from high school, and we flew into San Francisco and took two weeks to go down the coast of California, staying in various towns and cities. We loved it. None of us had been before like that, and we loved every second. My son and husband played Pebble Beach (a dream for both of them), and my daughter and I loved shopping and sitting by the beach or pool, along with sightseeing and exploring. It was wonderful.
What’s your go-to family dinner? We love pasta and pizza. Italians, right?
What’s your favorite family restaurant? We like this place in Annapolis called The Severn Inn. Each year, we book a table and for the Naval Academy’s graduation tradition of watching the Blue Angels fly. We go there all the time, as the restaurant sits on the water and faces the Severn River and Academy.
Creative Author Lifestyle
What’s your favorite show to binge-watch? I have never, ever in all my life seen anything on television as good as Game of Thrones. And I came late to the party. It’s my favorite show by far. I wish it could keep going and going…
If you could pick anyone to star as you in a movie based on your life, who would it be? Jennifer Aniston. I only say that because people sometimes say I remind them of her for some reason.
What’s your favorite beach read? This is too hard to for me answer. I love so many authors and so many different kinds of books. But I typically like books that take me away and leave me feeling hopeful at the end. The late Rosamunde Pilcher is one of my favorite novelists…I read many of her books on my beach vacations.
Creative Author Style
Which three words best describe your style? Fun, flirty, and professional.
Who’s your favorite style icon? I love the simplicity of Jennifer Aniston, the elegance of Audrey Hepburn, and the Boho nature of Julianna Hough.
What’s your best style advice? It’s all about proportion. Once you know what proportions work for your body type, just stick with it.
What article of clothing/accessory would you not want to live without? Black boots
Which trend would you want to see make a comeback? 1940s style
What should NEVER make a comeback? ’80s hair
What fashion/style did you love at the time but now cringe when you see old photos? Pretty much all my 1980s photos.
What’s your best style secret?
Wear foundation every day with SPF. It evens out your skin and protects it as well.
Stilettos or flats? Now that I have a bad back and hip, I wear a lot of flats with support. I love Clark’s Oxfords…I wear them all the time, even with dresses.
What song would you dance to when nobody’s watching? Gettin’ Jiggy With It
If you could go shopping with anyone from history, living or deceased, who would it be? Stacy London from that TLC show “What Not to Wear.” I would love to see how she would style me.
What’s at the top of your travel bucket list? Next year is my husband’s and my 25th wedding anniversary. Paris is definitely up there on my list to see with him!
What’s your favorite way to unwind at the end of a long day? Taking a ride on our boat up the river.
Continuing the Journey
Stephanie inspires us with her passion for writing and zest for life. We are excited to see how her novels grow and love to see her commitment to her family and students. Be sure to follow Stephanie through her blog stephanieverni.com and Instagram, or check out more of her writing on Amazon. And to read about more interesting and stylish Mom’s visit FamilyApp’s Mom on the Street.