MontecelloMy novella, Untimely, stars Ellie, a college-bound history buff determined to stop a time traveling thief of the future from stealing a piece of the past. The picturesque settings of the town of Charlottesville, Virginia figure prominently in the story, as do the University of Virginia and Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson. I live and write in Colorado, far from Virginia. So why in the heck did I set my novella there?

I’m an Army brat. During my middle school years, my father was stationed at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and we lived in northern Virginia. For two glorious weeks of two glorious summers, I attended a summer enrichment camp at UVA. We lived in the dorms, ate the not-so-glorious cafeteria food, and we took classes in interesting things like psychology and filmmaking. Throughout the two weeks, we meandered the walkways of campus. We toured Monticello, and we learned some of the University’s secrets. Things like the mysterious existence of the Seven Society.

When the TICK TOCK anthology project came up last year, I cast about for a novella centered on the theme of time. I toyed with a time travel novel a number of years ago. Rather than rewriting it, I decided to spruce it up and use some of the ideas for the novella. Only, I needed a juicy setting. One that oozed the pulp and seeds of history. Charlottesville was the perfect fruit.

My memory of C-ville was fuzzy, being a few years on from middle school now, so I spent hours browsing the fabulous Monticello website looking at interior photographs and videos of the home and estate, reading a little of the historical record, and touring buildings on the UVA campus on Google Earth. It was like being a camper all over again. In fact, I found out the camp still exists, and my daughter applied to go this summer! (I’ll let you know if she’s accepted.)

I hope you enjoy what I made of Ellie’s story. I had a lot of fun writing it. Check out my Untimely board on Pinterest to see pics of Charlottesville, UVA, and Monticello. Also, find a board for my Brilliant Darkness fantasy young adult series and other weird, wonderful things. Let me know what you think here at or at Thanks for reading!

Photo Credit (from Wylio[Symbol]:)

Author: Ryo Chijiiwa
Author URL:
Title: monticello
Year: 2009
Source: Flickr
Source URL:
License: Creative Commons Attribution License
License Url:
License Shorthand: CC-BY


Written by AG Henley

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