The word WELP? (Yes, with a P) Is that a regional variation of WELL?

I've been reading some books by Kristen Ashley, and she uses WELP in place of WELL quite often. Like "Welp, got to go now." The first few times I saw it, I thought it was a spelling error, but it reappears in many of her books. Is that commonly used? Thank you for your response.
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