The haunted town of Wind Gap, Missouri, is surrounded by woods and missing children.
It's a town in Gillian Flynn's novel "Sharp Objects," and it came to life in HBO's new eight-episode series. The book and series centers around reporter Camille Preaker, who returns to her hometown of Wind Gap to cover the story of two preteen girls who were murdered.
The show starring Amy Adams made its debut on Sunday and now has viewers wondering, "Is there a Wind Gap, Missouri?"
Wind Gap is "almost kind of fairytale, (a) haunted place deep in southern Missouri," Flynn told Orion Publishing Group in a 2008 video interview.
But the mysterious town that Flynn says is home to a "psychological mystery" isn't quite real — and you won't find it in Missouri.
"It was largely imaginary," Flynn told HBO. "It's not based on any particular town. But I knew I wanted (Wind Gap) to be a town of violence that Camille grew up in."
It wasn't a random decision to base the town in Missouri.
Flynn is a Kansas City, Missouri, native and University of Kansas alumna who originally planned to be a crime reporter until she realized that she was "not cut out for that at all," she told the Southeast Missourian. Still, she said she was interested in how people could create violence.
While she told the newspaper she knows The Show-Me State "pretty well," she also said she doesn't remember specific places in the Bootheel of Missouri, which she makes references to in her novel. The Bootheel is the southeastern-most part of the state.
"I just remember the geography and the feel I had for it," she told the Southeast Missourian.
So, she used that feel to create the murderous town run by women.
"There's a lot of violence in the book — women who are violent and women who have issues," Flynn told Orion Publishing Group. "And that was always my intent was to have a little town that's kind of populated and run by the women and dominated by the women.
"And that the women aren't necessarily all benevolent at all," she continued. "They all have their issues of real violent problems."
Flynn said the women take the violence out on themselves and each other, both physically and psychologically, through "cycles of cruelty" between moms and daughters and friends.
Much like the western movies that feature men with issues, Flynn said the book is "vaguely a female western" in the Missouri-based town. Except in this case, it's not always "guns and fists," which makes it even more frightening to Flynn.
To bring the town to life, HBO filmed scenes of the fictional town in Barnesville, Georgia, and in California cities including Redwood Valley, Los Angeles, Santa Clarita and Mendocino, according to IMDB. Many of the scenes were in Georgia, Heavy reported.
The Herald-Gazette in Barnesville posted a slide show of photos that show how the town of almost 7,000 people was transformed into Wind Gap. Photos include spotlights on the Wind Gap barber shop, the Wind Gap Gazette newspaper, "Missouri's best barbecue" and city murals.
“It’s fun to go down to Georgia where we created Wind Gap and walk around the actual town,” Flynn told Page Six.“It’s sort of mind-blowing to see it that way … the main street was Main Street to me. It was just like that. It was very eerie to be walking around, I got chills.”
The town, about 60 miles south of downtown Atlanta, gives "that ‘town that time forgot’ feeling,” executive producer Gregg Fienberg told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
"It seems like the kind of small town God puts on Earth for people to be murdered in; the air is full of humidity, suspicion and gossip," The New York Times said in a review.
New episodes of Sharp Objects premiere on Sundays at 9 p.m. on HBO.