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Local Author's Debut Novel Explores The Humorous Side Of Death

Select Books, Inc.

What happens to us after we die is a question we have wrestled with since humans became self-aware. Some of us believe in a heaven, some in karma and reincarnation, others in the great void, and many of us prefer not think about it at all.

Vivian Probst has thought about it – and written about it in her debut novel Death By Roses. Her protagonist, Mae Rose, experiences an unusual, and funny, death – and a life of sorts after it.

Probst stopped by the Lake Effect studios recently, and told Audrey Nowakowski how the book came to be.

"The book's concept was sort of a gift to me. I almost felt like the characters were saying to me, 'You know Vivian, it can be a wonderful next life. You can look at it a little bit differently, but right now, enjoy this life,'" says Probst.

Vivian Probst has had quite the life herself leading up to her first published novel. Growing up in a missionary family and studying multicultural ministries lead her to a life of service abroad. But after deciding that this restrictive path and philosophy was not for her, she lived in poverty and eventually was rescued by the Waukesha Women's Center. Having been a creative thinker and writer all of her life, she finally started her first book in honor of her sister who passed away from Lou Gehrig's Disease in 2008.

Death in Probst's own life prompted her to examine and write a new perspective of the unknown. Throughout the book the reader is entangled in several comedic storylines that all connect back to Mae Rose, and each character's methods of dealing with death. Probst explains that she wanted to show how death can be used to teach a lesson of value.

"What I've done is taken on this message - and that is you make a difference. Every person makes a difference."


Brookfield author, entrepreneur, and blogger Vivian Probst’s debut novel is called Death By Roses. A portion of the book's sales goes to the CANIF Found, which helps to support the childcare costs of single families through the Women's Center of Waukesha.

Audrey is a WUWM host and producer for Lake Effect.