The True Story Behind Tully And Kate’s Wholesome, Yet Complicated, Lives On Netflix’s ‘Firefly Lane’

From the '70s fashion to the carpools

From Sweet Magnolias to Bling Empire, each one of Netflix’s creation offers exceptional amounts of symbolism, relatability and hilarity that keeps us glued to the couch night-after-night.

And the streaming giant’s latest offering, Firefly Lane, has done far from disappoint.

The series follows best friends, Tully and Kate, and their 30-year friendship that sees each girl follow a different path in life—one finding success in her career, while the other finds love and comfort in starting a family.

Based on a novel of the same name, many fans believe the story to be the work of fiction, however, author Kristin Hannah’s story had more real life inspiration that you’d think.

Before you dive rewatch the entire season in anticipation of a second season confirmation, we’ve unpacked the truth behind Kristin Hannah’s Firefly Lane, from her love of Madonna to reminiscing about carpools.

Firefly Lane

What Is The Inspiration Behind The Plot Of Netflix’s Firefly Lane?

Based on a novel of the same name by author Kristin Hannah, the series follows childhood best friends, Tully (Katherine Heigl) and Kate (Sarah Chalke), who couldn’t be more different. Tully is brash, bold and hard to ignore, while Kate is her shy counterpart that typically goes unnoticed. 

However, a tragedy brings the two together, and they quickly become inseparable. The story follows their 30-year journey of friendship, with Kate choosing a life of marriage and motherhood and Tully opting for wealth and fame. while the book’s narrative sounds fictional, turns out it’s based on the author’s real life.

WATCH BELOW: Firefly Lane Trailer

What Is The True Story Behind Tully And Kate’s Friendship?

Firefly Lane is based on Hannah’s childhood in the 1970s in Snohomish, Washington as well as her college days at the University of Washington, according to UW Magazine. Which means that while the storyline wasn’t directly taken from real life events, the locations where young Tully Hart and Kate Mularkey visited, the clothes they wore and the music they listened to was. 

Drawing inspiration from her personal memories, Hannah reveals that many of the fashion choices and references for each character’s era came from her own personal life.

“What I particularly loved about writing this novel was the memories it evoked,” the author has written on her website. “Fads, fashion, products, songs, novels, and news stories—this book contains all of that. In these pages, I was able to return to my youth, the disco era… and tease my hair and dance to Madonna…and jump into my fictional suburban world and run carpool one more time.” 

Firefly Lane

However, there was one scene in particular that was directly inspired by Hannah’s childhood. Fans may remember when Tully and her mother Cloud have to relocate to Snohomish in their VW van. It turns out, that same event also happened in Hannah’s early years. 

According to UW Magazine, her family relocated to Washington from California in 1968, taking their VW van to drive up the coast until they found somewhere that felt like home. “Everyone in the van found something they liked in the Pacific Northwest,” Hannah told the magazine. 

Nowadays, Hannah confirms that she is “such a Pacific Northwest girl,” as per the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. “Most places that I write about are places that I have lived … If you know a place and live there, you can bring something special to the table,” she added.

She went on to use where she grew up as a backdrop for her fictional characters in order to bring realness. And while everything that happened to Tully and Kate weren’t things that necessarily happened to Hannah herself, they could have happened since everything around them felt so tangible.

 So in the end, Firefly Lane gave fans the chance to step straight into Hannah’s world—and we’re ready for more.

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