While a camper and staffer at Camp Ridgecrest in western North Carolina in the 1960s and 1970s, Steve Little heard the trains at night when everything else was quiet. The sound of their engines downshifting to climb to the quarter-mile-long Swannanoa tunnel is a vivid memory. In 1972, Little walked the railroad's 9 miles of tracks in western McDowell County, North Carolina, through all 6 tunnels, taking pictures as he went. This experience was helpful as he wrote an in-depth thesis of the railroad's construction for his history major at Wake Forest University. Three years later, he met John Ehle, author of The Road, and the two swapped stories of their railroad research and their love of the western North Carolina Mountains.
Steve Little was born and raised in the flatlands of Smithfield in eastern North Carolina and chose to move to Marion in the foothills-mountains of western North Carolina after graduating from Wake Forest University School of Law in 1977.
Little is an experienced transactional and trial attorney, a previous teacher of survival camping, an active church member, a current or former trustee of several North Carolina Baptist institutions (Wingate University, Baptist Children's Homes of NC, NC Baptist Hospital of Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center), a regular speaker at professional continuing education seminars on estate planning and estate administration, the 2010-2011 state moderator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of North Carolina, and the mayor of Marion, North Carolina. He is married to the former Alice Hobbs and has two adult daughters, Mary and Sally.