Following a passion, building a career

Jennifer Becker, left, with Mary Ann Martell

Libby James
ljames@northfortynews.com

Jennifer Becker has built herself a career she loves without the aid of a college degree. She grew up in a military setting, aware that her family would not be financially able to send her to college. After graduation from high school, she would need to find a way to support herself. Because she felt comfortable in the military culture, and because she had a spirit of adventure, she signed up to serve in the U.S. Air Force.

Assigned to learn about airfield management, she discovered a love for the work. It gave her a great deal of responsibility as a young person, and she thrived on it. Becker has always loved to write and for a long time had been writing short stories. She kept them to herself with no thought of publishing them. After three years of managing the details that kept the airbase in Altus, Oklahoma, functioning smoothly, she was ready to leave the Air Force and return to Colorado.

She moved to Wellington, where she still lives. Now married and with a young daughter, she contemplated the next step in her life. A few friends had read her stories and encouraged her to spend more time on her writing. She also knew she needed to make a living.

It wasn’t long before she found a way to help support her family, pursue her passion for writing, and still be able to spend quality time with her daughter and husband. She began working for Home Instead, an agency that provides in-home care and senior companionship. While she puts in a 40-hour workweek, her schedule is flexible and allows her to pick up her daughter after school. She works five or six days a week and sometimes helps out in the Home Instead office as well.

Wherever she goes on the job, she always has a pencil and paper at her side to jot down the ideas that churn around in her head. “I have enough ideas to write at least 30 books,” she says.

In the last two years, she has written eight romance novels. She has discovered how to publish them online for an audience hungry for her work, which is usually set in a military culture. In 2016, she took up the challenge of writing a 50,000-word book in a month. “My husband encouraged me to do it,” she said. The result was a novel, Charmed by the CEO.

She has taught herself the art of writing and publishing on the computer. She has found someone to edit her work, someone else who creates covers for her books, and avenues for distributing her work to readers.

Becker says she sets herself small daily or weekly goals and is careful to balance her writing with family time. “I would love to be able to write full-time one day,” she says. She is currently working on a paranormal romance. Her newest book, Finding Alexia, will be out in June and available on Amazon.

Meanwhile, she relieves stress, provides care and companionship and makes life a little easier for the clients she sees each week, usually about four a day. On Tuesday and Thursday mornings, she travels north to the home of Mary Ann Martell, one of her fans who felt that Becker’s story was one that needed to be told.

 

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