I read a lot. I love fiction, especially stories about dysfunctional families. I also love a good psychological thriller. That is why I can say with a fair amount of confidence (although please correct me if I am wrong) that there is a total absence of stories written from the perspective of an alienating parent. In the non-fiction catalog of books, there are several written by targeted parents including Pamela Richardson’s excellent A Kidnapped Mind. I have also published a book that includes vignettes written by targeted parents (Surviving parental alienation: A journey of hope and healing). But I have never come across a book (fiction or non-fiction) which is written from the point of view (POV) of an alienator.
And so I set out to write such a book. I am pleased to say that I have completed the manuscript, which is entitled The Misery Checklist. What I am not pleased to say is that I have not yet been able to find a publisher for it. I could, of course, self-publish, and I may do that if I am not successful otherwise, but my concern about self-publishing the book is that it will not be marketed to people who don’t already know about parental alienation. I can certainly promote a book I self-publish to people who come to my website or read my Psychology Today blog, but I want my book to reach a wider audience. The primary goal in writing the book was to provide a (hopefully) riveting and (again, hopefully) believable example of how and why a parent would manipulate a child to reject the other parent. If the book becomes popular, it could help to increase visibility and understanding of parental alienation in a whole new way.
The problem, however, is that I cannot (yet) get a literary agent and without an agent I cannot get a publisher. Even having written eight non-fiction books, which have been published by some of the leading publishers, does not make me necessarily attractive to a literary agent. In the fiction world, I am a total newbie – like every other person who thinks they can write a novel (and there are a lot of us out there!)
Another reason I am hesitant to self-publish is that there was such a backlash against Dr. Gardner for self publishing some of his books on parental alienation. I have an automatic hair trigger alarm response when I hear the words “self” and “publish” in the same sentence. So, those of you who are interested in parental alienation – send out good thoughts on my behalf to literary agents and maybe one day The Misery Checklist can be part of the solution to the problem of parental alienation.
Dr. Baker is a nationally recognized expert in parent child relationships, especially children of divorce, parental alienation syndrome, and emotional abuse of children.
Dr. Baker is available as an expert witness and for print, radio, and television interviews.