To Be Made Flesh… Again

Many years ago, when I was still living in Honolulu, I went to a hypnotherapist for what’s known as a past-life regression session.

For those of you who don’t know, such a session is very similar to your typical hypnotic regression, but takes you beyond childhood and into your past lives — all in hopes of helping you find out what happened way back when that may be screwing you up now.

I didn’t, however, undergo this procedure because I was feeling screwed up.  Instead, I was researching an idea for a screenplay and wanted to get some first hand experience.

It was an interesting hour.  I don’t know if I was actually ever under hypnosis — it certainly didn’t feel like it.  But I did find myself seeing visions of a previous life.  Visions that were either real memories or simply figments of my overactive imagination. 

I tend to believe it’s the latter.

If the visions were real, then I was a Southern Belle during The Civil War who lived on a sprawling plantation.  If not, then I have problems that may well need to be addressed by someone with either a degree in psychology or intimate knowledge of the plot to Gone With the Wind.

Reincarnation is a subject that has interested me for many years.  I have no reason to believe it’s possible, but then I have no evidence that it’s hooey, either.  It makes perfect sense to me that we could well be living our lives over and over, in various forms, all in an attempt to finally get it right.

The woman who hypnotized me told me I’m a very old soul and am currently on my last life.  So I guess I’m finally getting it right.

One can only hope.

Reincarnation is one of those subjects that nearly everyone has an opinion about.  There are a ton of books about the subject and probably an equal number of movies and television shows that have addressed it.

While I’ve never approached the writing of a book from a commercial standpoint — that is, creating a plot simply because I think it’s hot and will sell — I have to admit that the idea of plotting a story based on a popular subject like reincarnation was pretty compelling.  Over the years, I’ve found myself so consumed with the phenomenon that I’ve never been able to let go of the story premise that sparked that long ago hypnosis session.  A story premise that goes something like this:

What if a woman discovers that she’s the reincarnated victim of a serial killer — a serial killer who may still be alive?

This creepy notion was the jumping off point for my new book, KILL HER AGAIN, which I’m happy to say was just released in the U.S. yesterday.

KILL HER AGAIN is the story of Anna McBride, a disgraced FBI agent whose life is slowly being destroyed by terrifying visions of a kidnapped little girl.  And while my original premise plays strongly into the story, it really was just a jumping off point.

After pitching the idea to my friend Peggy White a couple years ago, she had one of those “what if” moments that really turned the premise on it’s head and made me realize that it really was time to write this book.  So thank you, Peggy, for helping me make a good idea great.

I’d love to tell you more about the book, but I’ve already given you enough of a spoiler.  And if you’re at all interested in the notion of past lives married to an unrelenting thriller plot, I would be a fool not to urge you to pick up a copy <big grin>.  I’ve been telling everyone it’s a great beach book, and I certainly hope a lot of people will be going to the beach this summer…

Blatant self promotion aside, I’d like to bring this topic around to you, by asking you a few questions.

1. Do you believe in reincarnation?

2.  Who do you think you might have been in a past life?

3.  Who would you like to be in a future life?

And five of you who comment will be chosen at random to win a signed first edition of my debut thriller, KISS HER GOODBYE.  The deadline is midnight tonight, and the winner will be announced on my web page on Friday.

In the meantime, you’re all gonna have to do the right thing and immediately rush out and buy a copy of KILL HER AGAIN.  If not, I may just have to come after you in the next life….


43 thoughts on “To Be Made Flesh… Again

  1. JD Rhoades

    VERY cool concept, Rob. That’s one of those "Why the hell didn’t I think of that?" ideas.

    On the subject of reincarnation, though: have you ever noticed that very few people who claim memories of a past life were anything ordinary? They were something like a rich Southern Belle, or Cleopatra, or The Duke of Cornwall. You rarely get anyone claiming, "oh, yeah, I was a dirt farmer in Kentucky who died of snakebite in 1804."

  2. Dana King

    That is a wicked cool premise. I don’t read much that could be considered to involved the supernatural, but it sounds like an exception could be made here.

    Answers to your questions:
    1. I really don’t know. I could answer either way, depending on which day you ask me. I see no reason why it can’t be possible, though.
    2. I was a dirt farmer in kentucky who died of snakebite in 1804.
    3.Something other than a Kentucky dirt farmer who dies of snakebite.

  3. Bill Cameron

    Rob, you will always be a Southern Belle to me.

    1. Do you believe in reincarnation?

    2. Who do you think you might have been in a past life?
    Hydrogen and carbon and stuff.

    3. Who would you like to be in a future life?
    Worm food.

  4. Shannon

    Great concept, can’t wait to read the book! Did you hear about that little boy that was in the news recently who was obsessed with war planes and when he was something like two years old, told his parents that his plane was shot down in the war, described the area and lots of other details that I can’t remember now. Anyway, the parents became so concerned, they started researching what he was saying and found out about this pilot that was shot down in the same area in the same plane he was describing. The parents were Christians, but said they couldn’t help but believe he was this pilot before. There was no other explanation.
    Love stories like that!
    Anyway, Kill Her Again sounds like a winner!

  5. Brett Battes

    Having already been able to snag an advance copy, I can tell everyone that the book is as cool, if not cooler, than the premise.

    Do I believe in reincarnation?
    Ask me in my next life.

    Who was I in the past?
    Well, if I remembered, my answer to question 1 would have been an out-and-out yes.

    Who would I like to be in the future?
    Well, I’m hoping I live for a long, long time. I’ll let the reincarnation gods sort out the future.

  6. Louise Ure

    I’m afraid that my belief in reincarnation only goes as far as the quote from Colette: "I write in order to live life twice."

    Congratulations on the new book! This "what if" turned into something magnificent.

  7. James Scott Bell

    Reminds me of the two Gila monsters in a Far Side cartoon. One has a stunned look and says, "There it is again, the feeling that in a past life I was someone named Shirley MacLaine."

    In reality, I think we only get one shot. Make it count.

  8. Stephen Jay Schwartz

    That, my friend, is an awesome premise. I can’t wait to read the book. Have you sold the film rights? I want to see it on the big screen, too. Well, maybe I’ll just steal it.

    I do believe in reincarnation, I do, I do.
    Who was I in a past life? Well, I’d like to think I was Alexander the Great. I was probably his accountant.
    Who do I want to be in a future life? The reincarnation of Alexander the Great.

    Congrats on the book!

  9. Kristen

    Love the premise! It’s sounds intriguing and exciting. Stories about reincarnation fascinate me.

    1. Do you believe in reincarnation?
    I’m not sure. I haven’t seen enough evidence for reincarnation, but I can’t completely rule it out.

    2. Who do you think you might have been in a past life?
    I have to agree with J.D. about the abundance of Cleopatras, King Arthurs, Julius Caesars and other famous people who crop up in the past-life memories of people claiming to be reincarnated. I’d love to think I was someone important, but if reincarnation is possible, I’m guessing I was someone ordinary.

    3. Who would you like to be in a future life?
    Version 2.0 of myself, with new options, enhanced features, and upgrades for improved efficiency.

  10. Alli

    1. Do you believe in reincarnation? Absolutely.

    2. Who do you think you might have been in a past life? Not sure when, but definitely an Argentine – I have an affinity with that country that is beyond reason.

    3. Who would you like to be in a future life? A tap-dancing, singing archaeologist. 🙂

    Congrats on the book. The premise sounds amazing and I look forward to reading it. I’m off to the bookshop today!

  11. Rob Gregory Browne

    Dusty, you make a good point. It does seem that most people were somebody famous in a previous life. But now that you’ve said that out of the gate, I don’t think anyone will cop to it… 🙂

  12. Alexandra Sokoloff

    Congratulations on the book, RGB!!!

    I don’t know that I can fully say I BELIEVE in reincarnation but it is the spiritual theory that makes the most sense to me. Which is terrifying, because I do not for one second want to have to do any of this again and it is my greatest fear that that is what’s coming.

    But how else do you explain the extreme and uncanny connections that you have with people you’ve just met?

    If nothing else it’s a great excuse for not sleeping with people that I shouldn’t because I can just say to myself I’ve already done it – because it FEELS like I’ve done it.

    I don’t have any particular sense of who I was in any past life. It’s just the connections with people and places and that deja vu that happens all the time that makes it seem – at least possible.

  13. ArkansasCyndi

    I love this topic. I think in romance, this has been done…star-crossed lovers, etc. And I agree…everyone who thinks they lived before was "someone", not just an everyday person. Now to your questions…

    1. Do you believe in reincarnation? – Honestly, not sure. Maybe not pure reincarnation, but maybe memories (which are energy) could inhabit the mind of a living person, making him/her think he/she lived before. Confused? Me too.

    2. Who do you think you might have been in a past life? – Hmmm SInce I have a morbid fear of snakes, I have to disagree with Dusty. I WAS the farmer who died from a snake bite.

    3. Who would you like to be in a future life? – Nora Roberts. Wait…won’t work. How about a bikini model.

  14. Rob Gregory Browne

    Shannon, in my research on reincarnation I found that those who believe think that children retain memories of their past lives into young childhood, only to have it beaten out of them by the current life (and skepticism, etc.) as they get older.

    I’m not sure if I buy this kid’s parents’ story, but who am I to judge?

  15. Pari

    Congrats on the new release! It sounds like a great read.

    Re: reincarnation
    I, too, did one of those past life regressions and went back two lives. The first was as a old, old grandmother in the 1800s dying in my rocking chair. All I could think about was how sad my children would be to find me dead. (This was waaaayyyyyy before I had kids).

    The second was in, maybe the 1500s-1600s in Japan–why was I always dying in these things?–and I was a revered male actor who played female roles in theater. I could see myself well, my face covered in white paint with female makeup, lying there with the black cloth over my scalp so that I could wear a wig.

    1. Do I believe in reincarnation? I don’t know. I want to . . .
    2. See above.
    3. Someone who remembers the lessons of this life and can build on them for a new one.

  16. Rob Gregory Browne

    Okay, I’ve just realized I can’t go through and answer all these responses separately or I’ll be working through to the next life…. But I will say that anyone who wants to come back as a bikini model is all right by me. 🙂

  17. Rae

    Great post, and can’t wait to read the book…

    I want to believe in reincarnation. Of course, we’re all convinced we’re going to come back as something better or wealthier or smarter or cuter. The opposite could be true as well – which is a scary thought.

    In a past life, I’m betting I was some sort of servant.

    Future life? Queen of the World would be nice. Or one of my cats – they really have it made.


  18. Becky Hutchison

    Can’t wait to read your book, Rob. Congrats on the release.

    1. I absolutely do believe in reincarnation. My son had a similar experience as the child you mentioned, just not in such detail. He was about 3 yrs old. I forget what we were playing, but whatever noise I was making sounded to him like a shot. His eyes got really wide, and he quickly put both hands to his stomach. Then he said, "That’s how I died last time." I asked him if he meant while he was playing a game with someone, and he said, "No. Before I was born here." Chills went through my body like crazy.

    2. I’ve been regressed to a woman living in Kansas or Nebraska around WWII. I was in a plain farm house and my husband walked in the back door wearing an US Army uniform. That’s all I got out of it.

    Yesterday I was listening to a podcast by a hypnotherapist who conducts past life regressions, and he was saying that of all the people he has regressed, not one remembered a past life where he or she was anyone we’d consider famous today. He said it is the norm for his and other hypnotherapists’ regressed clients to remember being just everyday people.

    3. I would want to be someone who is very organized, loves to clean house (but not OCD-like), has an excellent eye for interior design, and can buy anything I want and go anywhere I want whenever I want.

  19. PK the Bookeemonster

    Yes, I think reincarnation happens.

    I’ve done a regression and gotten a couple flashes: a man named Samuel in 1800s northern Germany, fearful and hiding something (Jewish?); a monk in 1300s named Joseph, I could hear the echo of music, joined the order for love but not necessarily love of God, probably more for a woman and something didn’t work but there was a sense of pride of place. And overall, I’ve always had extremely strong feelings for Ireland.

    Next time around? I would hope that stuff I’m working on in this go round gets resolved and I don’t have to do it again. And just to add a bit of stuff to the conversation, in astrology, where your North and South Nodes fall on your birth chart is an indication of what was past and what your soul purpose for this lifetime.

    Getting insight in how to deal with now couldn’t hurt, eh? Or just to have a bit fun.

  20. Becky Hutchison

    I forgot to add that Kenneth Branaugh and Emma Thompson starred in a pyschological thriller called DEAD AGAIN with a similar premise as your new book. It was an interesting movie, particularly as it was done in a noir style.

  21. Sue Kelly

    I would say that I believe in reincarnation, but I was executed for such views in a past life. Whoever I come back as next time had better have either a lake house or a beach house though!

  22. Pat Russell

    I do not know if I believe in reincarnation but I am up for having a session with someone who tries to see if did.If it turned out the past life was pretty crappy, then I would know I was on the right track.
    If I was in a past life I was likely caring for someone sick or dying, or had a life filled with worry and stress, that too would be getting me ready for this present life.
    If I could come back in another life I would say the heck with being a human this time around, I want to be someones pampered housecat, with meals, free health care, hugs and pets, allowed to roam where I wanted, no sress, no worry, I could lay where I wanted, be loved and never worry again.,

  23. Jill James

    Cool story, can’t wait to rush out and get this book.

    I totally believe in reincarnation. When my son was 2 or 2 1/2 he was in trouble for something. My husband, on his last nerve, says, "Why can’t you just listen?" My son turns to him and says, "I’m sorry. In our other lives I’m the dad and you’re the kid and I’m not used to listening."

    Set me and him back a peg or two. LOL

  24. Dana King

    My Kentucky reference was a play on Dusty’s answer directly above me, where he said everyone is always someone cool in a previous life, never a dirt farmer from Kentucky who died of snakebite in 1804. My ego is such that I could easily see that being me.

  25. Rob Gregory Browne

    Dana, I was, of course, born into this life as an idiot. I read Dusty’s comment and completely spaced when I got to yours. Sigh.

    I have a birthday coming up, too. I’m getting old.

  26. Bobbie

    My 4-year-old son is insistent that he lived with another family before he came to be with us. He tells us about it without a crack of a smile and gets upset when we laugh. Hey, who am I to say he’s not telling the truth? I can only account for him from the moment he was born. Before that, he might very well have had an entirely different life. I don’t think I believe in reincarnation. I’m drawn more toward a belief that we can be aware of people who lived before us, some sort of warp in the time line, perhaps.

    Yet I’ve always been fascinated (and horrified when I was younger) by the idea of reincarnation.

  27. Chris Hamilton

    Do I believe in incarnation? If God is omniscient and wants there to be re-incarnation, why not?

    Who was I in a past life? Ralph Branca.

    Who do I want to be in a future life? The me I could have been if I weren’t so afraid.

  28. BCB

    Oooh, this is one of those questions that used to keep me up at night as a child. That and imagining "where" we are and how far could you go, supposing you could, before you got to the end of it all.

    Reincarnation? Not so sure. Like Alex, I wonder about those instant connections we have with some people, both positive and negative. But I am a firm believer in recycling. All the "stuff" that is us, our energy and intelligence, had to come from somewhere. And it has to go somewhere after it leaves us. That’s my argument against the death penalty, BTW. Seems ill-advised to be in a hurry to recycle bad energy. Makes me wonder, too, about whether increased numbers of people diffuse or diminish the energy. I’ll leave it to you all to determine how serious I am about all this and how much of it is my writerly side making stuff up…

    Considering how extraordinary and gifted and wise, not to mention humble, I am in this life, I’m sure my past incarnations were absolutely stunningly marvelous.

    As for the future, I’m content that a piece of me lives on in each of my kids. Pretty sure generations to come will take care of themselves without any help from me. Wish I could say the same about the future of my budget, what with all these new releases from this bunch over here. Damnit.

  29. Sally

    I loved the comments about the small children being so clear about their past lives. I’d like to believe in reincarnation, but I don’t need any more reasons for even a little procratination.
    If I was here before, I’m sure I was a common soul.
    If I get to come back, I’d be happy to be a improved version of myself. More compassionate, not so gullible, and I’d really like to be tall enough to reach the top cabinets in the kitchen.

  30. kit

    1) do I believe in reincarnation —
    never used to….now, I’m not so sure….ever since I read up on Karma and such, strtaightened out my butt considerably.
    2) if I’m not sure on the first one..never thought about who I was before too much
    3) or who/what I’ld like to come back as… totally screw this up……A friend of mine totally believed in past life regression and would tell us all about it ….and how she did the same as you …went back..under hypnosis…personally, thought it was a bunch of bull shit….until…..our youngest was born… about your *old soul in a young body*…she blows my hair back and them some…..there were things she knew about at a young age that no child that age would or should know about…..I never said too much about it……but then the people around us started noticing it also…now….I just try to do as much reading as I possibly can …trying to put it in perspective.
    I believe the new age term would be *indigo and/or cystal child* but I don’t want to use those terms…….it’s merely something to be aware of and to keep it as sane as possible, I feel.

  31. M.G. Tarquini

    1. Do you believe in reincarnation?


    2. Who do you think you might have been in a past life?

    a dry cleaner.

    3. Who would you like to be in a future life?

    a rocket scientist

  32. Jake Nantz

    I don’t believe in it, but what has always struck me as funny is the fact that you never hear people who think they used to be random nobodies in a past life. It’s always "I was an 18th century prince" or "In a past life I was famous American Pioneer."

    If reincarnation is real, where are all the old chamberpot cleaners, and the 1500s London prostitutes, and such?


  33. EA White aka @APMonkey

    1. Do you believe in reincarnation?
    Have to consider it as possible since there’s no way to disprove it, combined with some compelling accounts that would seem to support it in some form/to some degree.

    2. Who do you think you might have been in a past life?
    Member of the Praetorian Guard or some other kind of elite bodyguard/military squad member… how else to explain my aggressive 6’6" personality in a 5’2" body?

    3. Who would you like to be in a future life?
    A spoiled, pampered indoor cat. 🙂

  34. Mallika

    Coming from a Buddhist-dominant culture (95% of the people are Buddhists, including my own Chinese-Thai family), I’ve been exposed to the idea of reincarnation since I was a little girl. As to whether I believe in it … I guess I’ll just say that I wouldn’t mind if it were true! 🙂

    1. Do you believe in reincarnation?

    Maybe. Depends on how mystical-minded (or cynical) I am at the moment.

    2. Who do you think you might have been in a past life?

    Hmm. Maybe a Scottish lass living in the Highlands? The daughter of a Chinese concubine in the Qin dynasty? An Egyptian slave?

    3. Who would you like to be in a future life?

    One of the biologists/scientists/explorers who get to zip around on space ships and encounter new worlds, explore vast new territories, and … well, basically I want to live in an SF adventure novel. 🙂

  35. Beverly G

    congrats on the release and sounds awesome

    yes i believe in reincarnation

    yes i was because well i was lol

    and honestly im happy to get to try and make it right again

  36. Don Bolen

    Yes, I have had past life regression by Dr. Raymond Moody in Miami. I worked at the Library of Alexandria and also taught a small astronomy class on the steps of the library.


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