‘Good in the Woods’ Brings Bigfoot to Life

Andrea Billups shares real-life experience that inspired heartwarming tale

Call author Andrea Billups a late literary bloomer.

The veteran journalist, professor and entrepreneur longed to write her first novel, but the passion project remained “out of reach.”

“I always looked up to people who write fiction … I didn’t feel I was worthy to do that,” Billups tells HiT despite an impressive career writing for The Washington Times, People Magazine and more.

Even after a “paradigm-shattering experience” – she had a “Class A sighting” of what she believes was a Sasquatch – her fiction career stayed in neutral.

So she summoned her inner child and wrote “Good in the Woods.”

The kid-friendly tome follows the precocious Jamie Lucy on several adventures, including one where she discovers Bigfoot during a field trip.

The story didn’t come from any strict planning. Rather, Billups says she “let it unfurl.”

“It was very natural and very organic, to my great surprise,” she says despite changing jobs during the book’s creation. “Writing fiction really felt good.”

A small North Carolina publisher agreed, cementing Billups’ transition from journalist to published author.

The winning tale touches on several themes, from pushing past pre-conceptions to being brave in the face of uncertainty.

Billups hopes “Good in the Woods” extends an olive branch in our fractured times.

“People are living in silos, not really talking to another … They don’t open their minds to things that are different from them,” she says. “Part of this story is this young girl coming to terms with what a bigfoot is … it’s just something that’s a little bit different from her. It wants acceptance, like all of us.”

Billups’ faith also factors into the yarn.

“She has a crisis when her family moves… [the bigfoot character] tells her the Great Creator is always with her … she’s never truly alone,” she says.

Completing “Good in the Woods” allowed Billups to embrace her new career. She’s working on a “Woods” follow-up featuring Jamie Lucy as well as a fictionalized tale tied to her roots.

It’s called “Hurricane Like the Storm,” and it follows a family of strong-willed women coming of age in her native West Virginia.

“It’s loosely based on the lives of people I know,” she says, cheekily dubbing it a hillbilly version of “The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood” as envisioned by the Coen brothers.

“It’s not smack-you-in-the face feminist characters. That’s not my brand. There’s great beauty in flaws,” she says.

She promises a funny, politically incorrect yarn that’s perfect for today’s streaming creators.

“You may think they’re stupid rednecks, but they have a lot of common sense,” she says of her protagonists. They also sport an innate kindness and “built-in “bulls***” meter.”

“It cracks me up the things that they have done,” she says.

Faith also played a role in her delayed fiction debut.

“God opens doors for people at just the right time. It’s a peaceful point in my life,” she says. “God willing, I can open a new door with this career.”

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