April Derleth, the operator of Sauk City's Arkham House publishing firm since the 1980s, died Monday at the age of 56.

Derleth was the daughter of the late August Derleth, a Sauk City native who wrote books featuring life in the Wisconsin River Valley, including "Walden West." August Derleth founded Arkham House, a science-fiction publishing house that was the country's first to publish the poet and fiction writer H.P. Lovecraft, said August Derleth's widow, Sandra Kiser.

Kiser said their daughter was a very forceful person. Like her father, Kiser said, "when she entered a room, you noticed her right away."

Derleth, who still lived on the wooded 10-acre property of the publishing house her father operated until his death in 1971, enjoyed hiking and other outdoor activities, her mother said. She enjoyed traveling and visited Hawaii every summer in recent years with Kiser and their family. Kiser said she traveled frequently when she was vice president of Mueller Sports Medicine in Prairie du Sac. She also loved dogs, and "took in every dog there was," Kiser said.

No service has been scheduled for Derleth.

- Wisconsin State Journal

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