Alisyn Camerota On Her New Memoir, Combat Love

In Alisyn Camerota’s debut memoir Combat Love we go on her journey from rebellion to Emmy Award-winning journalist and travel through the dynamics of her complex mother/daughter relationship while seeking a place to call home

Samantha Yanks: Congratulations on your second book, and the debut of your personal memoir Combat Love. Tell us what inspired you to write this book?

Cover of Combat Love

 AC:  For decades I’d been walking around with a lot of unresolved issues and loose ends about my younger self.  Being able to capture the turbulence with words on a page really helped me make sense of it all and feel at peace.

SY: Set the stage for us a bit. Where did you grow up and can you give us a glimpse into your childhood?

Alisyn with friends in Bellingham, Washington

 AC:  I grew up at the center of the universe (well, to me, anyway): Monmouth Country, New Jersey, during the unparented ’80s.  My friends and I were a free-range pack of wolves, heading into the city to go to clubs like CBGB and see our favorite bands. 

SY: You certainly had an adventurous youth, growing up near New York City. The club and punk scene of the 80s became your home in a way. And you truly left home when you were 16. What lead to that decision?

Alisyn and her mom in the groovy 70s

AC:  I’ve always had a strong independent streak, but I really started fending for myself at around 10 after my parents divorced and my mom went back to school.  One big theme in the book is the intensity of mother-daughter relationships. What do we do when the desires of a mother and daughter are in direct conflict?  By 16, I felt I could no longer travel on my mother’s path.  I had to carve one for myself.

SY: Your memoir’s central theme is seeking that elusive place we call home. What was the journey searching for that like for you?

Alisyn Heading out to a party in 1981.

AC:  Long and tear-soaked.  I searched for the stability and foundation of a home for two decades before I was able to create one.

SY: The mother/daughter dynamic is one you explore poignantly. Let us in a bit on what your own relationship with your mother was like. 

AC:  Well, that answer is what drives much of the book. I’m proud to say we were able to resolve our issues and have an excellent relationship today.

SY: You are one of the most recognizable CNN anchors, a two-time Emmy Award-winner, an author and a mother. Your memoir explores sacrifice. How has that come into play for you?

Alisyn reporting for CNN

AC:  I think the question for all of us is, what are we willing to sacrifice to fulfill our dreams?  I know a lot of women who have sacrificed their own dreams to be there for their families. I admire that.  I’m relieved I didn’t have to make that choice.

SY: And to close, may I say it’s so wonderful to reconnect with you after your recent cover story in Westport, Weston & Wilton Magazine with your friends Emily Liebert, Lindsay Czarniak and Stéphanie Szostak. Is that type of support system akin to family for you? 

AC:  Oh yes!  That’s a big theme in Combat Love – the healing power of female friends (and ALL friends).  The girlfriends I had from teenagehood through college, and to this day, continue to be my surrogate sisters and tremendous sources of strength. 

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