Interview with Author Jayna Duckenfield!

Spend time chatting with Class of 2011 Alum Jayna Duckenfield about her children’s book, and you will be inspired by how the powerful story of Humbleton came to be.

Jayna has loved to write since she was eight years old. As a Garner YMCA camp counselor leading story time to a group of campers, she created the story she tells in her new book. “I made-up this story about the purple pebble and how only someone honest and brave could find this special pebble. I wanted to tell a story that a kindergartner could relate-to. They remembered the story and wanted me to tell it again! So I wrote it down over the course of about a year,” Jayna revealed.

She loves creating characters and imagining stories, so for Jayna, becoming a published author is a dream come true. With help from family and friends, she was able to connect with the right company, manage the financial side of the process and Humbleton was finally published in November.   

Education and Career Path

Jayna reflects fondly on the encouragement she received from her teachers at WCA. “I loved my English teachers and they really encouraged me to write. Initially, I wanted to pursue a degree in English education and I did want to be an author, but I didn’t know what it would take to get my work out there.” She graduated from Appalachian State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature and became an intern with Reformed University Fellowship at Penn State. That experience led to the position she holds now as Intern Recruiting Associate with RUF (the official campus ministry of the Presbyterian church of America).

“I love that I get to talk to students who are considering full-time ministry after graduation. I get to share my story and form relationships with interns and stay in contact with them on their campuses,” Jayna said. “I can check-in and even mentor new interns during their training, so I really like the relational aspect of my job.”

Advice to students and future plans

Jayna advises students who are interested in writing to write everyday everyday, because it’s a skill that has to be developed. She also has some solid “Dad” advice to share, from our very own Mr. Duckenfield, “If you’re going to play, play to win. I’ve adapted that to all areas of my life. I think it means to put your whole heart into what you’re doing, and to do your best to the glory of God.”

Even though her position at RUF keeps her busy, she considers it a blessing if the Lord opens a door to continue to write professionally. Jayna still writes as much as she can, and hopes to have an outline for another children’s story by the end of March. She would love to write young adult novels one day.

We’re already looking forward to her next book!

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