A book series is a sequence of books with certain characteristics in common that are formally identified together as a group. These characteristics are often easy to identify. For example, Goosebumps is a famous children book series that depicts fictional children being involved in scary situations. Another example is the Choose Your Own Adventure books, which allow readers to assume the role of the protagonist and make choices that determine the main character’s actions and the plot’s outcome.

The characteristics that connect the books in Branching Plot Books are much less obvious. On the surface, Branching Plot Books seem like several 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 book’s plot and premise can be seen differently, depending on the reader’s mood, experiences, and values.

To create this effect, Branching Plot Books focuses on the double entendre literary technique as well as the use of interactive fiction. A double entendre refers to a phrase or figure of speech that could have two meanings or that could be understood in two different ways. In Branching Plot Books, a whole book could have a double meaning and be understood in two different ways. For example, children and young adults might see the story in The Empty Lot Next Door as a ghost story while older adults see the story as a young child coping with bullies and a dysfunctional family life. In The Haves and Have Nots, liberal readers will relate to the blue jay named Javlin and despise the greedy chipmunk named Mitch whereas conservative readers will rally behind Mitch because of his hard-working attitude and will see Javlin as a lazy freeloader. Some readers believe the struggle has nothing to do with 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 reader’s mood, experiences, and values.

Some books within Branching Plot Books make it more obvious that 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 how the storyline should flow. Different readers might take different paths, which can change their 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.

About Branching Plot Books

Where the reader becomes the author

Arthur Mills’ 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.

Arthur Mills is a full-time husband, father, and 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, as well as the modern day fable The Haves and Have Nots. Arthur and his wife, Yonsun, have two children, Arthur and Allen.

Meet the Author

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Books by Arthur M. Mills, Jr.

In The Haves and Have Nots, Arthur Mills has written a modern day ant-and-the-grasshopper-style fable that speaks to the greatest concerns of our times, including politics, the economy, and the environment.

The Crawl Space by Arthur Mills is an interactive teen and young adult novel about bullying, punishment, and redemption. The novel inspires teens and young adults to look at life from a new perspective of hope, courage, and respect for others.

Whether or not you believe in ghosts, the true life experience of Arthur Mills deserves consideration. Find out who Candle Face was, her taunting behavior, and how she turned a boy’s childhood into a living nightmare in The Empty Lot Next Door.

The Haves and Have Nots

When Tolmie State Park’s hard-working chipmunks are accused by the blue jays that their greed is the reason why others starve during the winter, a social revolution occurs among the animals in Arthur Mills’ new novella The Haves and Have Nots.

Conservative and liberal politics butt heads over environmentalism and economics in a modern day ant-and-the-grasshopper style fable in Arthur Mills’ The Haves and Have Nots: A Fable on Inequality.

Tolmie State Park seems like a paradise for all the birds and woodland animals who reside there with enough fruit, nuts, seeds, and acorns for everyone. But one day, Mitch the chipmunk is surprised when a flock of blue jays takes up residence in the park. At first, they seem friendly, even helping Mitch to escape before Coyote makes him into a snack. But they are not above mocking Mitch and his wife for their hard work preparing for winter.

Then one day the chipmunks discover someone is stealing from their hard-earned stores. Soon, the blue jays engage in persuasive rhetoric, turning the other animals against the chipmunks. Like a surreal version of the French Revolution gone wrong, the hardworking chipmunks are persecuted, left trying to survive, while their former friends lack all common sense. Soon the rash behavior of those around them causes the chipmunks and their persecutors to realize an environmental nightmare has begun for everyone.

The Crawl Space

The Empty Lot Next Door

In a South Austin neighborhood, Ray (Arthur’s childhood nickname) and his family excitedly moves into a small house standing in the midst of a big, green lawn. Beside their house is a strange, vacant lot where a house apparently once stood, and where a huge wide hole in the back lays mysteriously. As a young boy with a lot of new friends, Ray considers the empty lot as an exciting playground. But the tale behind the lot keeps the boy intrigued and frightened as he learns that the house that was once there was burned down years ago, leaving a girl dead amid the fire. The little girl, as the neighborhood kids say, comes out in the night to regain her life. Determined to validate the authenticity of this tale, Ray daringly and mistakenly challenges the “ghost,” a challenge that he would forever regret. Soon, he becomes haunted by the little girl—who he named as Candle Face—visiting his dreams and leaving hand prints and other signs even when he is awake.

The Empty Lot Next Door is much more than a ghost story. It is also a story of the desperation, the pain and the helplessness experienced by children whose parents work long hours away from home, necessarily leaving them to fend for themselves against both real and imagined evils. It's about sibling abuse, and the scars that such abuse leaves on the victim as well as the abuser. And this is the story of the intense struggle of a child to make sense of the world without communicating his fears and thoughts to the adults in his life since he doesn't want to add to the family's problems.

247 pages with 24 thought-provoking choices and 11 alternate endings!

When three middle school boys are punished by the principal for bullying a fellow student, they find themselves trapped in the haunted school over the weekend. What happens next is up to the reader.

The Crawl Space by Arthur Mills is a teen/young adult interactive novel that allows the reader to participate in the story by making effective choices for the characters.

Bullying receives a lot of attention in the media, but it never had the repercussions that middle school bullies Bruce, Mark, and Charles will face. Trapped in a haunted school as their punishment, these bullies find their fates in the hands of their readers in Arthur Mills’ teen/young adult interactive novel The Crawl Space.

© 2014 by Branching Plot Books