WILTON — As a child, Laurel Mills was often lost in the stacks of the Wilton Free Public Library.

“I loved the library and enjoyed reading “The Bobbsey Twins,” she said of her early years in Wilton and summers tenting on the beach in Weld.

Mills will return to the library Friday to sign copies of her new novel, “Racing toward Providence,” a story set in a fictional area inspired by Weld and Farmington. The book signing will take place from 3 to 5 p.m. Friday during the town’s annual Blueberry Festival. Copies of the book will be available for sale with a portion of the proceeds donated to benefit the library. The public, friends and readers are welcome.

This book and her first novel, “Undercurrents” are based on events in her life.

“They are inspired by real-life events but married with imagination,” she said.

In this latest work, a woman artist seeking solitude in a Maine cabin to pursue her passion of painting finds conflicts develop that intrude on her idyllic solitary life, including an 8-year-old nephew who is orphaned and needs a home.

Mills faced a similar situation of taking in an orphaned boy and developed the book’s character from that, she said.

Mills, born Laurel Lothrop to Bob and Dot Lothrop of Wilton, graduated from Wilton Academy in 1964 and attended the University of Maine at Farmington. She married a classmate, Tom Mills, and moved to Wisconsin when he took employment as an engineer with Kimberly Clark, she said.

She completed her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. She is Senior Lecturer Emerita in English at the University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley and the former editor of a literary magazine, Fox Cry Review.

After the marriage ended, she remained in Wisconsin but returns to the Maine coast for an annual weeklong  reunion  with her sisters Maureen Riggs, a retired Wilton teacher, and Sherryl Porter of Lewiston, and her brother Brad Lothrop of Minnesota. She also returns for regular class reunions and keeps in touch with friends in the area, she said.

The author of four poetry books, Mills said her mother was an avid reader and wrote poetry and the occasional short story.

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Author Laurel Mills will sign copies of her new novel, “Racing Toward Providence,” Friday from 3 to 5 p.m. at Wilton Free Public Library.

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