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The “What if?” that Sparked A Thousand Times

At night before I go to sleep, I like to watch music videos on YouTube. Yeah, I know, the blue screen isn’t conducive to a good night’s sleep, but it helps me unwind. When I watch them, I often get in the mood for a specific artist or genre, and I’ll binge-watch them for a few days before moving onto something else. Since I have eclectic tastes in music and enjoy all sorts of artists, genres, and decades, I never know what’s going to grab me.

On the night of October 27, 2021, I was binge-watching late 80s/early 90s hair bands. At one point, a video of a live concert popped up—either Mr. Big or Bon Jovi, I can’t remember which. And as I watched, I noticed someone in the audience who looked like my brother. Exactly like him. Or rather, the way he used to look when he was around eighteen years old. The resemblance was so uncanny that I re-watched that part of the video several times because I couldn’t believe my eyes. If it hadn’t been completely impossible—wrong decade, wrong location—I would’ve sworn it was him. And it made me go, “What if?”

From there, a little seed of an idea took root, and that’s where the idea of a character seeing herself in a YouTube video without remembering the concert came from. At first, I considered writing a time travel story, but it’s not my jam. So I went with reincarnation instead, feeling it would make for a more compelling twist.

As an homage to the circumstance that sparked A Thousand Times, Zak’s band, Four, is a cover band who plays late 80s/early 90s hair bands music, including Mr. Big and Bon Jovi. I hope you love Liv and Zak’s story as much as I enjoyed writing it.

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