Writing a Novel About Parental Alienation
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.