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Is Firefly Lane Based On A True Story?

We hate to be a downer, but most friendships you have in life aren't going to last. If you're lucky, then you may find someone (outside of any romantic entanglement) who sticks around for seven to ten years at most before leaving (via LiveAbout). From changes in lifestyle to putting new relationships ahead of others, it's natural for people to drift apart, which makes it all the more special when two individuals can still find the time for each other over the course of decades. 

That's precisely what the Katherine Heigl romantic drama everyone's binging on Netflix focuses on. The show is called Firefly Lane, and it's based on a novel by Kristin Hannah with the same name. The story centers around two women — Kate Mularkey (Sarah Chalke) and Tully Hart (Katherine Heigl) — who form a bond as kids and continue being there for each other well into adulthood, as they struggle with career and romance problems. They don't always see eye-to-eye; that's to be expected with any kind of relationship that spans decades. But ultimately, you can feel the love is there between them. 

There are moments and likable characters throughout the first season that really seem like they came from learned experiences. It's easy to assume the author must have lived this story herself. So is Firefly Lane purely fiction or inspired by real events? Turns out it's a little from Column A, but mostly Column B.

Kristin Hannah took some inspiration from her childhood, but it's mostly made up

"Write what you know," as the creative maxim goes. Kristin Hannah may not necessarily have her own friendship lasting 40+ years (that we know of), but she took events from her life and incorporated them into beats of the story. The author sat down for an in-depth discussion of her craft with University of Washington Magazine, which is not only her alma mater, but also Kate and Tully's — and the similarities don't end there. Hannah also revealed that much like Tully and her mother, Cloud (Beau Garrett), she too traveled to the Pacific Northwest at a young age for her family to find a new home. 

Other parts of her life made it into the story. For example, she studied communications in college, exactly as Tully does, and much like how Tully had to be there for Kate when she was diagnosed with breast cancer while they were both in college, Hannah had to contend with her mother's cancer diagnosis during the same period in her life. In addition to those moments specific to Hannah's upbringing, she also made sure to incorporate general events of the zeitgeist she fondly remembered. On her website, Hannah writes, "What I particularly loved about writing [Firefly Lane] was the memories it evoked. Fads, fashion, products, songs, novels, and news stories ... I was able to return to my youth, the disco era ... and tease my hair and dance to Madonna."

Like many writers before her, Kristin Hannah looked toward the past to influence what is otherwise a wholly original story. That means when season 2 comes around, viewers can look forward to even more references to the '70s, '80s, and beyond.