Newsie Turned Novelist

You know her as a seasoned journalist and the coanchor of CNN’s weekday morning show New Day. Now, Westporter Alisyn Camerota has turned her talents toward writing. In her wickedly funny debut novel, Amanda Wakes Up—out July 25—Alisyn narrates the journey of an ambitious young reporter as she struggles to find her professional identity while maintaining her personal relationships. I had the good fortune of sitting down with Alisyn to find out how she balances it all.

You’re a respected news anchor. What prompted you to take on the world of romantic comedy writing?

I wanted to write a book about journalism; the ethical dilemmas and challenges in the topsy-turvy world of cable news. But in every TV station where I’ve worked, there have also been a lot of interesting, juicy relationships. So I wanted to capture that combo.

Amanda Wakes Up is being billed as The Devil Wears Prada meets Primary Colors. Explain!

Well, it’s a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the world of TV news, replete with hairstylists, makeup artists, wardrobe mavens and fancy galas. The book is also set during a crazy presidential campaign with a larger-than-life candidate. It’s like if The Devil Wears Prada and Primary Colors met and had a baby!

In the ever-transforming landscape of cable news, with a hard focus on ratings, what do you struggle with as a journalist?

My toughest challenge, at the moment, is the need for constant fact-checking in real time, live on the air in the middle of an interview—having to call out politicians who may be trying to invent a different reality than the one the rest of us live in. I’m encouraged to see that our focus on hard news and facts is being rewarded by high ratings. It tells me that viewers are looking for information.

You’re a wife and mother of three—twelve-year-old twin girls and a ten-year old son—how does your stringent work schedule impact those roles?

My children have learned to live with a groggy mother who traipses around the house in a robe and loungewear at all hours of the day and goes to bed before they do. My husband wishes I could wait until at least 7 p.m. to put on my pajamas, but some days that’s impossible. They’re on at noon.

Will you continue to write novels?

I loved the writing process. It was cathartic and instructive and fun. Also, harder and more time-consuming than I’d expected. So, yes, I’d like to write another book, though I hope somebody will remind me of that second part.

Where do you see your life in five years?

I hope at my children’s high school graduation, helping
them set off on life adventures of their own.

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