Big Bang: The Birth of the Millerverse

Millerverse (mil’әr|vurs) n. The collective fictional universe where all novels of A.P. Miller exists & takes place.

If I were to sit down with a Moshannon Valley Junior-Senior High School yearbook and tell you which of my classmates was going to be a novelist, it sure as hell wouldn’t be me. My buddy since first grade (and we still keep in contact), Matt, was the writer. In 6th grade, Matt would write stories, and I’d write to share something with one of my friends. Even into high school, Matt was writing in his notebook and he was writing good stuff. Inadvertently, Matt letting me write with him gave birth to the Millerverse.

During one of my “I can’t wait to show my friend” comp book ramblings, I took a character from a previously written story and injected them into the story I’d written. Anyone who enjoys the yearly Arrowverse Crossover, or got giddy during the first Avengers movie, knows exactly what I’m talking about. That notebook crossover sparked a concept I carried with me in the back of my mind. I knew then I wanted to create an expanded universe. While editing “Days of the Phoenix,” I realized the opportunity had arrived!

As any writer will tell you, there are certain characters you just gravitate towards more than others. When I wrote “Broken Promise Records,” that character was Hendrix Wilson. In my infantile efforts to write that book, the first drafts were chock full of favoritism towards that character. It was almost like Hendrix was indie-rock Jesus and I was writing one of the gospels. Acknowledging that was crucial to that story — it made me consciously develop the other characters, ultimately making the story better to read.

While I was writing “Days of the Phoenix” I thought I’d love the main character the most, but Simon Bellinger ended up being my darling in the tale. There was a time, during the edits, that I compared Simon to Hendrix and I remembered that composition book and the crossover I’d created. I thought “wouldn’t it be cool if these two were related?” and then I realized that I’m the writer and I can do whatever I wanted with the two. That’s why I put the email exchange between the two at the beginning of “Broken Promise Records: Remastered.”

During the early drafts of “A Law of Constants,” Derek’s partner was a woman named Alicia Montez. A strong-willed Latina woman? Where have I done that before? It was the perfect spot for Raquel Ortiz and so I ran with it. When “A Law of Constants” came back from my favorite beta-reader, she said she was glad to see Raquel in the story with a bigger role. Because “Days of the Phoenix” was a first-person narrative, the book had to end on a sudden note in a present tense. “A Law of Constants” became an excellent vehicle to close the loops on a few characters, like Buddy, Holly, and Simon.

I never wanted to be in a spot where I was painted into a corner about the kind of stories I could write, “A Law of Constants” was a door to keeping my genre options open, while still being able to keep all of my books in the Millerverse. The idea that all possibilities were open meant I could continue writing Science Fiction and then write a historical romance. I could write a story set in the future, a romance story where rats became the dominant species on the planet. “A Law of Constants” started out as a cool idea and then turned into a milestone story that served many masters.

Releasing my books to the public was brutal, but I’m so glad I did it. Writers put so much of themselves into their work and it’s easy to feel vulnerable when they tell people their work is available for public scrutiny. The fact that I can write a blog about my body of work is a remarkable feeling. I couldn’t have done that without you all — I am eternally grateful for that.

I hope Matt picks up his pen and paper and starts writing again. I hope his novels are wildly successful. The creative arts is not a game where someone has to lose in order for someone to win. We can all be successful. That’s why I encourage other writers so much. There is room for all of us to have our work seen.

Thank you for reading and I’ll see you on your next trip across the Millerverse!

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