Michelle Brafman on Love Addiction as Fuel for Plot
In Conversation with Mitzi Rapkin on the First Draft Podcast
First Draft: A Dialogue of Writing is a weekly show featuring in-depth interviews with fiction, nonfiction, essay writers, and poets, highlighting the voices of writers as they discuss their work, their craft, and the literary arts. Hosted by Mitzi Rapkin, First Draft celebrates creative writing and the individuals who are dedicated to bringing their carefully chosen words to print as well as the impact writers have on the world we live in.
In this episode, Mitzi talks to Michelle Brafman about her new novel, Swimming with Ghosts.
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From the episode:
Mitzi Rapkin: You said that when you started thinking about this book you learned about love addiction. So how did you learn about that? And what about it made you feel like it had to be in the book?
Michelle Brafman: I was having dinner with a friend, and I just finished a reading for Washing the Dead, my previous novel. And she brought it up, and we just started talking about it. And I thought that is so fascinating in terms of how you could leverage this particular kind of addiction and it’s not sex addiction. The dopamine hit comes from attention from this whole thing called intriguing, so someone texts you or calls you, that’s where the dopamine comes in.
It’s not for the orgasm, which is the sex addiction. So, I thought that’s so fascinating, what would it be like to create a character with a certain kind of background that would make them so vulnerable to that kind of attention and react to it in that particular way? So, I thought this has to be part of this character. And then you see how much of that particular addiction fuels the plot.
Michelle Brafman is the author of the short story collection Bertrand Court and the novels Washing the Dead and Swimming with Ghosts. She taught creative writing at the George Washington University, the New Directions Writing Program, and the Johns Hopkins MA in Writing Program. She founded Yeah Write, a writing coaching business. She lives in the Washington, DC area.