Elliott Light
AUTHOR

Elliott Light

I am a retired patent attorney living in Florida with my wife Sonya and our feline, Tsuki.  I spent most of my life in the Washington, D.C. area.  I grew up in McLean, Virginia before the beltway was constructed.  Some of my classmates in grade school lived on nearby farms.  ​McLean had a small town feel to it.  Gossip spread without the Internet.  Party lines were common.  Secrets were hard to keep.

​When I was in my early thirties, my life pivoted when I was accused of a crime I didn't commit.  My defense counsel and I discussed plans for my likely indictment and possible imprisonment.  I could expect to be handcuffed and paraded in front of the media.  This experience with the so-called justice system ended after a two year ordeal without an indictment and without going to trial. Even so, it could have ended differently. 

Sadly, I will never fully believe that prosecutors, investigators, or the government are as interested in the truth as they are in getting a conviction, an attitude that I share with the semi-fictional Shep Harrington. 

The Shep Harrington SmallTown® Mystery series began with the publication of ​Lonesome Song in 2002.  Before writing Lonesome Song, I was intent on writing action-spy stories.  In 1990, I read "The Last Poorhouse In Virginia; An Era's End at the Place Where No One Was Meant to Stay," a story article written by Jim Naughton and published in the Washington Post.  The story chronicled the lives of the residents of what had been a poor farm, a place where the unemployed and unemployable were sent to trade work for food.   As I chased dreams of writing the next Clancy thriller, the story of the last remaining residents of the Shenandoah County facility continued to haunt me.

​I grew up visiting old plantations where my mother's relatives once lived.  As a child, I didn't fully appreciate the history of these places or the people I met there.  But the experiences were imprinted on my memory.The poor farm in Mr. Naughton's article fused with these memories.  I was teased by questions about who might have lived on a poor farm, how they might have arrived there and what was going to happen to them.  Ultimately, spies gave way to a story about a small town, a once famous country singer, a collection of old forgotten poor farm residents, and a murder.  Shep Harrington, a young disbarred attorney, entered the mix and the story almost wrote itself.

​While I work hard to reveal how bad people do bad things, the core cast of the SmallTown® Mystery series works equally hard to remind me of their good intentions and natural humor.  I hope you will visit with them soon.

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