By Maureen Milliken

Adams Media

Hardcover, 240 pages

Release date: Dec. 18

As long as humans have existed, they’ve been plagued by the question “What comes next?”

THE AFTERLIFE SURVEY, due out from Adams Media in December, takes a journalistic approach, asking a range of people, including a priest, a rabbi, a CEO, a dog walker, a sheet metal worker, a former US poet laureate and many more what they think. What happens after they die? It also asks how afterlife beliefs are influenced by religion and age and how these beliefs affect ethics, end-of-life care and even what people think happens to pets after they die.

Author Maureen Milliken, a Maine journalist, does not look at the question from a particular ideology, or even from the belief that an afterlife exists. Rather, she approaches it as a journalist: What do people believe? Why? And what impact does that have on themselves and others? One of the most compelling people featured in the book is a former Methodist minister turned atheist who is dying of cancer. Even so, he holds firm to his belief that there is no afterlife.

The book includes several Maine residents including a Portland bookseller, a Hallowell retiree, a University of Maine Augusta biology student and a University of Maine professor who is a member of the Penobscot nation. Others surveyed for the book include Billy Collins, a former U.S. poet laureate; a funeral director, and a Muslim adult-ed teacher. The 30 people quoted in the book come from all walks of life, ethnicities and religious beliefs. Their thoughts will inspire and surprise, but most of all, will prompt readers to examine their own beliefs.

The Afterlife Survey isn’t a book about religion, but one about being human. The one thing we all have in common is that one day, we will no longer be here. It’s a truth as old as mankind itself.

Milliken is a long-time journalist who grew up in Augusta, and lives in Belgrade Lakes. After decades out of state, she recently returned to her hometown to become night news editor for the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel. She is also a mystery writer and blogger. She is available for interviews and appearances.

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