Briarcliff High School Alumna and Published Author Becky Chalsen Visits School

Becky Chalsen

As the saying goes, once a Bear, always a Bear.

Becky Chalsen, a Briarcliff alumna, has a special place in her heart for Briarcliff High School and remembers her days in the district well.

A part of a quadruplet of girls who attended the district since kindergarten, Chalsen still keeps in close contact with many of her high school friends and is even married to her high school sweetheart, whom she has known since kindergarten.

She recently visited the high school to share with students her journey to becoming a published author of the novel “Kismet,” how she juggles that with her day job, working for a famous actor’s film production company, and some sweet memories from her times at Briarcliff.

Chalsen met with students in Julia Fernandez’ Book Club and Writers’ Circle Club and Jamie Mandel’s Bear Bones Club at the Troy Lecture Hall.

She told the students that she used to participate in chorus and even pointed to her seat in the room.

She talked about her college experience, how she ended up with a career in film production, her work for John Krasinski’s company, Sunday Night Productions, and also her new, second career as a published author.

She discussed the process of writing her novel and how she got an agent who helped her sell it.

Writing is not new to Chalsen. She remembers writing as far back as being a first grader in Debi Fried’s class at Todd.

“We wrote journals on a daily basis and my friend and I competed to see who would fill our journals the fastest,” she said. “Throughout my years at Briarcliff, I was always encouraged to write.”

Although she loved writing, Chalsen did not know she wanted to be a writer.

“I was an anxious student,” she said. “Students have a lot of pressure to know early on what they want to study in college, but I had no idea I wanted to be a writer. I actually wanted to be a history teacher because I love high school teacher Sharon Comblo.”

Students had a chance to ask Chalsen questions.

She spoke about dipping her feet in writing during the pandemic, in the summer of 2020.

“My husband was studying online and we lived in a small apartment, so I began writing a book to pass the time, without thinking that anyone would read it,” she said.

She gave the students some tips, such as to have fun when they are writing and to read a lot of books, as she herself has done in her day job as Director of Development.

She told students details about the publication process.

“You have to first find an agent that will contact book publishing companies and after you sell your novel, the process can take at least a year before the book comes out,” she said.

She also shared that at the same time that her book came out, she received notes from the editor for her second book.

“There was a lot of juggling, I had a lot of characters in my head from both books,” she said. “Working full time and meeting book deadlines was not easy. I had to cancel social events, but I am very fortunate that my family and friends have been very supportive.

“One of the biggest takeaways from my book, and something that I hope students get out of my visit at the school, is to just not worry too much. Let things happen and unfold and don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Everything that happened to me over the past five years happened without planning. There is a beauty in those unplanned moments, in trusting yourself along the way.”




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