Is 'Firefly Lane' based on a true story, or are Tully and Kate works of fiction?

Here's what author Kristin Hannah has to say about our beloved duo

(Image credit: Netflix)

As we reunite with Tully and Kate, we're curious: is Firefly Lane based on a true story?

We find the inseparable best friends at the most difficult point in their relationship in Firefly Lane season 2 part 2, which hit Netflix on Friday, April 28. After a disastrous accident, it appears they are no longer "forever," much to everyone's shock. Does Kate ever forgive Tully, especially now that she's gotten such a frightening life-threatening diagnosis? Will they find closure and be able to move forward? 

The final part of the story—unfortunately, there's no Firefly Lane season 3—is  definitely going to wreck your emotions, so be be prepared for sad moments sprinkled throughout. Despite the difficulties, perhaps what we love most about the series is its relatability. Does that mean it's not fictional? 

Is 'Firefly Lane' based on a true story?

Though it might be hard to believe, Firefly Lane is not based on a true story. However, author Kristin Hannah did draw inspiration from her own life growing up in the 1970s to write the novel, as well as her experiences at the University of Washington, which informed the story's Seattle setting. 

Covering 30 years of friendship in two seasons gives you plenty of time to dig deep, but you'll end up falling in love with both of their characters—carefree Tully (Katherine Heigl) and her quieter, grounded counterpart Kate (Sarah Chalke). And let's not forget other favorites like Bud and Cloud

As the pair embark on careers in journalism, the cracks start to appear when they eventually go their separate ways. But all is not lost as their lives continue to intersect, even when Tully hits TV fame and Kate steps away from reporting to become a full-time mother. But one event changed their entire story. 

What is 'Firefly Lane' based on? Kristin Hannah spills

Hannah decided to take a look at her relationship with her mother, whom she lost at age 26 due to inflammatory breast cancer. Penning the novel was her way of being able to "talk about things that I really care about" and give her generation much-needed recognition. 

"I wanted to look at my mom through the years. Also, at [the time I wrote the book], I felt like there hadn’t been this epic anthemic novel about women’s friendships that included all the music and the ambition and the things that we were struggling with in my generation," the author told Netflix Tudum

Additionally, seeing the small screen adaptation hit quite literally close to home for Hannah, as Kate's house on the show was hers. 

"We grew up in the same house — which by the way was totally freaky when I saw it on Netflix. I was like, 'Oh my gosh, that’s my house,'" she told Tudum. "I was able to relive all of these magical, confusing, frightening things that had happened to myself and my friends through the years, as we came of age.

She wanted '70s babies to have something to relate to, from the Firefly Lane music to the show's costumes. But, if you ask us, the story of friendship at the heart of it all is something all generations will appreciate.

Firefly Lane season 2 is now streaming in full on Netflix. If you want to read the series in order, start with Firefly Lane (available on Amazon)

Danielle Valente
Digital News Writer

Need a TV show recommendation? Maybe a few decor tips? Danielle, a digital news writer at Future, has you covered. Her work appears throughout the company’s lifestyle brands, including My Imperfect Life, Real Homes, and woman&home. Mainly, her time is spent at My Imperfect Life, where she’s attuned to the latest entertainment trends and dating advice for Gen Z.

Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids, where she got to experience the best of the city from the point of view of its littlest residents. Before that, she was a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, and amNewYork, to name a few. 

When Danielle’s not writing, you can find her testing out a new recipe, reading a book (suggestions always welcome), or rearranging the furniture in her apartment…again. 

With contributions from