- Date of birth: September 15
- Born: in Columbus, OH, The United States.
- Description: Jayleigh Cape lives on a little island off the coast of Virginia, surrounded by the serenity of water and the charm of a small fishing village community. With an eye for visual detail, she has been a professional graphic designer for years, but her first love is writing and she has been doing it most of her life. Though she has written four books and countless short stories, essays and poetry prior to writing "A Shot in the Dark", this novel is her first venture into publication. She is currently working on the novel's as-yet-untitled sequel.
Jayleigh's love for writing began with "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee. She was a very inquisitive child with a constant desire to absorb knowledge, a trait that has continued throughout her entire life. As a result, she started kindergarten a year earlier than she should have and was advanced enough to skip second grade, so by the time she hit 9th grade, where Harper Lee's classic book was required reading, she was only twelve years old. The first time she read the book, it unlocked a passion for the written word that has never left her. She still has that same copy of "To Kill a Mockingbird" that she read for English class in 1980, and she still pulls it out about once a year and reads it again. She does own a Kindle, and she does have nearby bookstores where she could pick up a new copy, but neither of those options are quite the same as reading that same worn and yellowed copy that sparked her life's ambition to be a writer.
Jayleigh wrote her first book during that same freshman year of high school. It was handwritten on a stack of college-ruled notebook paper, tucked into a thick 3-ring binder. That first effort only equated to 30 or 40 thousand words, but that didn't matter to her. What mattered was that she had found her passion, discovered her gift, and knew that writing was what she was meant to do with her life. Just like her 1980 copy of "To Kill a Mockingbird", Jayleigh still has that horribly written first novel in its original 3-ring binder. She refuses to throw it away or even to pull it out and try to edit it. She claims it is perfect the way it is, with its countless imperfections and overly dramatic passages, and its combination of blue and black ink. She feels it is like her first child and no matter how awful it is, she can't bring herself to get rid of it.
After Harper Lee, Jayleigh started to pick up every book she could get her hands on and read. Her choices and ultimately her influences ran a vast spectrum of different writing styles and genres. The authors she ended up reading the most were Stephen King and Dean Koontz, and though other authors influenced her, those two were her cornerstones. Ultimately, her biggest influences became the people around her.
"Now that my life is about half over," she says, "and I'm old enough and experienced enough to realize it, I've made the discovery in the past year that, while a number of authors influenced my work, my greatest influences were the people surrounding me and the challenges life has seen fit to put in my path over the years. I now understand that, although writing style and voice are important, even more important to good writing is one's ability to tap into people: their thoughts and feelings and how they interpret into their actions.
"I've spent most of my adult life paying attention to people," she continues. "I love to interact with them, will strike up a conversation with anyone, anywhere and at anytime, because ultimately I learn from them and then I translate that understanding and those discoveries into building characters that my readers can care about. I've found that no matter how strong your story idea, if your readers don't care about your characters then they quickly abandon your story."