Maple Fork, Alabama is the setting for two of my novels Rock Star and Dark Star. It’s a (very) fictionalized version of my hometown, Gadsden, Alabama. Gadsden is a small, formerly industrial town in northeast Alabama in the foothills of the Appalachians. So when I call myself a hillbilly I know of what I speak. Many of the places and things I mention in both books do actually exist, at least in fictionalized form. The statue of the Confederate heroine, Emma Sansom is prominently featured on the main street of the town.
Noccalula Falls, which I changed to Amicola falls in Dark Star is also a real place, and does have an Indian maiden leaping to her death legend attached to it.
Gadsden is a wonderfully scenic place and as I describe in both stories wonderful for those who enjoy the outdoors.
People have asked me why I didn’t just set the story in Gadsden, as opposed to fictionalizing it, after all, I’ve set stories in Birmingham, Atlanta and even Huntsville without doing so. I had several reasons for doing so. For one thing Gadsden is very small. Those other cities, especially Atlanta and even Huntsville to a lesser degree, are pretty generic as far as cities go. When you’re talking about a city of 40k people it gets to be a bit more personal. I knew I was going to set several stories in Maple Fork and those secondary and background characters would play a fairly large role. so ficitionalizing it made more sense.