Arthur M. Mills, Jr.’s third grade teacher read Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to the class and then asked the students to write a one-page sequel to the book. Arthur couldn't stop writing, and it was then that Arthur knew he would be a writer.
Today, Arthur is a full-time husband, full-time father, and a full-time soldier. If that isn’t busy enough, Arthur is also a full-time author. Arthur is the creator of Branching Plot Books, a book series devoted to the art of double meanings and reader interaction. Branching Plot Books include the award-winning part-memoir and part-fiction novel, The Empty Lot Next Door and the teen/young adult interactive fiction novel, The Crawl Space and The Haves and Have Nots, a modern day fable based on Aesop’s The Ant and the Grasshopper.
Arthur is a Warrant Officer in the U.S. Army and has lived throughout the world. Arthur and his wife, Yonsun, have two children, Arthur and Allen.
Birth Place: Austin, TX USA
Accomplishments: The Empty Lot Next Door:
2011 Reader Views Literary Awards:
Teen Book (Ages 12-16) - 1st Place
Kids Award for Best Teen/Young Adult - 1st Place
Regional (South) - 1st Place
Parenting/Family/Relationship - Honorable Mention
Branching Plot Books
A book series is a sequence of books having certain characteristics in common that are formally identified together as a group. These characteristics are often easy to identify. For example, Goosebumps is the famous children book series that depicts fictional children being involved in scary situations. Another example is the Choose Your Own Adventure books that allow readers to assume the role of the protagonist and making choices that determine the main characterís actions and the plotís outcome.
The characteristics that bind the books in Branching Plot Books is much less obvious. On the surface, Branching Plot Books are just a bunch of unrelated books. However, Branching Plot Books is a small but growing series of books that can be read in a variety of ways, depending on the reader. Each bookís plot and premise can be seen differently, depending on the readersí mood, experiences, and values.
To create this effect, Branching Plot Books focuses on the literary technique double entendre and on the use of interactive fiction. Double-entendre is a phrase that could have two meanings or that could be understood in two different ways. Literally, a double-entendre is limited to a phrase or figure of speech but in Branching Plot Books, a whole book could have a double meaning and be understood in two different ways. For example, in The Empty Lot Next Door, children and young adults might see the story as a ghost story while older adults see the story as a young child coping with bullies and with a dysfunctional family life. In The Haves and Have Nots, progressive readers will relate to the blue jay named Javlin and despise the greedy chipmunk named Mitch while conservative readers will rally behind Mitch because of his hard-working attitude and will see Lavlin as a lazy freeloader. Some readers believe the struggle has nothing to do about political ideologies but instead the book is really about race or immigration issues. Therefore, in both The Empty Lot Next Door and The Haves and Have Nots, the plots and the premises can be seen differently, depending on the readersí mood, experiences, and values.
Some books within Branching Plot Books make it more obvious the reader can change the plot and take charge of the premise. For example, The Crawl Space has 24 choices and 11 alternate endings, allowing the reader to decide for him or herself how the storyline should flow. Different readers may take different paths, which can change the readersí impressions of the story.
There is no right or wrong way to interpret Branching Plot Books because the book series is tailored to every reader. Branching Plot Books is where the reader becomes the author.
The Crawl Space
Bruce, Mark, and Charles have long been the school bullies, tormenting younger and weaker kids. But they go too far the day they try to make a student enter the dreaded crawl space under the school stage. Everyone knows the crawl space is haunted by a boy who entered it and never came out. When the school principal catches the boys, she punishes them by having them clean out the crawl space by themselves over the weekend. Alone in the school at night, the three boys soon discover that the crawl space is not the only part of the school that is haunted. Together, the boys must make difficult choices if they are to survive, and they need the reader to help them make those decisions.
The Empty Lot Next Door
Ray and his family have just moved into a small house beside a strange, vacant lot where another house once
stood, and where a huge wide hole mysteriously awaits the brave or foolhardy. Ray and his friends consider the
empty lot just an exciting playground until Ray hears tales of how the lotís house burned down years ago,
leaving a girl to die in the fire. According to the neighborhood kids, the little girl will come out at night to haunt
anyone who dares to jump into the empty lotís hole.