Babe in the Woods


Babe in the Woods

by Jude Hopkins

GENRE:   Women's Fiction

It’s September 1995, the first year of the rest of Hadley Todd's life. After living in Los Angeles, Hadley returns to her hometown in rural New York to write and be near her father. In addition to looking after him and teaching high school malcontents, Hadley hopes to channel her recent L.A. heartbreak into a play about the last moment of a woman’s innocence. But she seeks inspiration.

Enter Trey Harding, a young, handsome reporter who covers sports at the high school. Trey reminds Hadley of her L.A. ex and is the perfect spark to fire up her imagination. The fact that Trey is an aspiring rock star and she has L.A. record biz connections makes the alliance perfect. She dangles promises of music biz glory while watching his moves. But the surprising twist that transpires when the two of them go to Hollywood is not something Hadley prepared for.


Trey was twirling the end of a white stick in his mouth. With a loud slurping sound, he pulled from his mouth a bright red lollipop before sticking out his tongue, which now matched the color of his shirt.  

“Fire your secretary,” he said, tapping his watch. “May I come in?”

She let him in, the shame of her unkempt apartment equaled only by the shame of her own disheveled appearance. 

He stood close to her. “I have to say, you are much more attractive without all that make-up.” He talked with the lollipop stuck in his cheek. “Definitely younger.”

It was an approach she remembered from her time with Derek. First you surprise them, then compliment them when they’re at their most vulnerable. She made a mental note.

He walked toward the nearest chair, sat down, but quickly jumped up again, fishing in his pockets. “Where are my manners? Here.” He extended a lollipop, grape flavor, her favorite. 

“No thanks.” It wasn’t even on the level of the apple Neil had given her on the first day of school. Besides, what was with men and their semiotics anyway? Perhaps it beat communicating with words. And how in the world would he have known grape was her favorite flavor? Was she that transparent? Was there a grape “type” as opposed to an orange or cherry type? The grape type would be moody and dark. The orange type would be young, perky, sassy. The cherry type? Passionate, desirable. Like him.

About the Author:

Jude Hopkins has published essays in The Los Angeles Times, Medium, the belladonna—and poetry in various journals including Gyroscope Review, Timber Creek Review and California Quarterly. She is currently working on her first novel, Babe in the Woods.

It has always been her desire to write. She was featured in Dickinson College’s literary magazine when she was an undergraduate. One poem in particular, Mixed Metaphors,” contrasted two viewpoints in a lakeside scene: one of a romantic young woman who thought the wind was blowing through her hair like an Aeolian harp; the other, that of her suitor who believed the water looked as cold as hell. Ah, love’s different sensibilities! What she lost in that relationship, she gained from her sojourn at Dickinson, earning her Phi Beta Kappa key while there, as well as a desire to continue her education.

Then it was on to graduate school at Arizona State University where studying for her master’s degree in English and grading essays as a teaching assistant took most of her time (and partying — it was ASU, for Pete’s sake). However, she did have a germ of an idea for a self-help book that she began outlining, fueled by many a Thermos bottle of Dunkin’ coffee.

It wasn’t until she moved to L.A. that she thought about writing a proposal for that self-help book. She got some bites from agents. Top agents. But working three jobs took precedence. (One of those jobs was at a Hollywood record company where she met a Beatle, among other artists.)

When she finally moved back to Pennsylvania, she began seriously writing again, squeezing in time to pen some poems between endless essay grading at one of the University of Pittsburgh’s branch campuses. As an adjunct English instructor, Jude was uncompromising on what she expected from her students, knowing they were capable of achieving great things when challenged, but she tried to balance the hard work with humor. Nevertheless, she knew that discipline and knowledge could turn even the most reluctant student into a pretty good writer. To achieve that end, the cellphones had to be put away, and attention had to be paid. The result? Some model research papers and essays from memorable students (she taught English in Pennsylvania, New York state, California and Arizona).

The need to write something besides comments on student essays gnawed at her. One day, she took out her old self-help book manuscript from a cobwebby drawer and began the process of turning it into a novel. That novel became “Babe in the Woods” and will be traditionally published by Wild Rose Press sometime in 2023. She blogs about that novel, so, readers, please follow her blogs as she updates everyone on the book's progress. Please also check out her essays and poems, also featured herein.


Q&A With the Author: 

What did you enjoy most about writing this book? 

Spinning my tale about a passionate female protagonist who yearns and dreams and talks and acts all in the name of finding answers about the last moment of a woman’s romantic innocence. Her drive and desire takes her on a journey that was fun to write, but also cathartic in many ways, because I could relate to her, having taken a similar journey.

Do you have any other books you are working on that you can tell us about? 

I’ve started Book No. 2 and have so many notes for it, but I haven’t had a lot of time to work on it lately, what with launching my book, Babe in the Woods. I’m excited to get back to it, however. I did see an old movie with a similar premise, but my execution of that premise is entirely different, so I’m going forward with it.

Can you tell us about what you have planned for the future? 

Working on my second book is definitely in the future. And that takes a lot of time, at least for me. I’m a plodder, constantly thinking through scenes and reactions and lessons learned by my characters.

How long have you been writing? 

Forever. No, seriously, I’ve always been very verbal, writing from an early age. I read so much as a child and young person (and still do), loving words, underling words, scribbling marginalia. I remember a lot of it for my writing. In fact, I wrote a funny essay for the belladonna comedy site titled “Where Are the Men Who Love Logophiles?” that satirized someone who loves words a bit too intensely, which might describe me.

Anything more you would like to say to your readers and fans?

I’d like to thank anyone who read my book or liked my book or related to Hadley, my protagonist, and put a little checkmark next to something she said or thought while they read my book. A crucial part of writing is publishing because writers need to have an audience. And I am deeply grateful to anyone in my audience who laughed or cried at what I wrote or thought about something my characters said or did. That is the greatest gift and makes writing worthwhile.



Amazon buy link:


Jude Hopkins will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I love stories involving musicians especially rock n roll artists. Looking forward to reading.

  2. Sounds like a great book. I like the cover and excerpt.

  3. This looks like a fun novel. These make the time go by

  4. The book sounds like it's brimming with suspence


Post a Comment

Wait! Stop! Are you leaving the same old comment on all the blog pages? Try switching things up a bit. I love reading your comments, but if its the same thing each time... it feels like spam. And NO ONE likes spam...
Please make sure the comments you leave are related to the post, and are at least eight words in length.

Recent Posts

Recent Posts Widget