Behind the Book
Without question, this is the biggest, most complex novel I’ve written to date. It covers a thirty-plus year time span and yet manages to be an extremely intimate and personal story of friendship. What I particularly loved about writing this novel was the memories it evoked. 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 drink Boone’s Farm with my heroine…and tease my hair and dance to Madonna…and jump into my fictional suburban world and run carpool one more time. Not only does the story follow the friendship between two women, it also tracks the ever changing face of the Pacific Northwest. It also contains my most important and powerful message to date, and for that I am particularly proud. I can’t wait to hear what readers think.
Hmmm…fun facts behind Firefly Lane. This novel hits really close to home on a lot of levels, so there are plenty of correlations to my own life. First and foremost-the clothes. Yes, I remember wearing them all-elephant leg bell bottoms, tie-dyed T shirts, Earth shoes, shoulder pads, stirrup pants, leg warmers, and last but not least-polyester. And how about those hairstyles? Each one named after and forever immortalized by the celebrity who made it famous. These were the pictures we brought into our small town beauty salons and tried religiously to follow: The Marcia Brady center-part, long and straight; the Farrah Fawcett, the Dorothy Hamill (this was for my senior picture, in which I was in soft focus and staring down at a rose), the horrifying assymetrical (am I the only one who remembers this???), the Linda Evans, and last but by no means least, the Rachel.
Since I went to the University of Washington, I remember a lot of locations used in the book. Anyone interested in a Firefly Lane memory lane tour should try: The Last Exit coffee house (is it even still there?), Kels pub in Pioneer Square, which is still a great time, Starbucks in the Public Market, a ferry ride from Seattle to Bainbridge Island, Goldies tavern in the U District, Greek row at the University of Washington (I’m sure you can still find a ton of parties happening there on Saturday nights), and the view of Seattle at night from Rockaway Beach.
As a little treat, I’ve also included some extra pages-extra material, I guess you’d say-from Firefly. They are some of the letters Kate and Tully wrote back and forth to each other in the seventies. Click here and see if they don’t take you back in time. Then let me know what your favorite memories of those days are…
Firefly Lane Playlist
Here’s a list of the songs that Kate and Tully listened to in Firefly Lane.
Click here to access the Firefly Lane playlist on iTunes.
- Dancing Queen
- Daydream Believer
- Stairway to Heaven
- Taking Care of Business
- Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
- American Pie
- Don’t Give Up on Us – David Soul
- Thank God I’m a Country Boy – John Denver
- Brick House
- Twistin’ the Night Away
- Louie, Louie
- Love is a Battlefield
- Jessie’s Girl
- Purple Rain – Prince
- You can’t Always Get What You Want – Rolling Stones
- Call Me – Blondie
- Sweet Dreams (are made of this)
- Do You Really Want to Hurt Me
- Here Comes the Bride
- Crazy for You – Madonna
- I’m Every Woman – Whitney Houston
- Hey Little Girl is Your Daddy Home – Springsteen
- Desperado – Eagles
- A Moment Like This – Kelly Clarkson
- Didn’t We Almost Have it All – Whitney Houston
- Papa Don’t Preach – Madonna
- Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen
- Linda Ronstadt
- You’ve Got a Friend
- One Sweet Day
Letters from Kate and Tully
As a special treat for those of you who loved Firefly Lane, here are the letters Kate and Tully wrote back and forth during their high school years.
Your last letter cracked me up. I would have called, but I’m in lockdown again. Got caught smoking a doobie in the girl’s bathroom. (Don’t tell your mom-I know you won’t.) This isn’t like that time in the tenth grade. This time I wasn’t even doing it. I was just there. That’s the thing about Catholic girls’ schools-they always expect the worst. When I got home my grandma was PISSED. Anyway, I’m on double restriction which means I can’t even use the phone. It is totally bogus but there’s nothing I can do. So, write lots and give me all the news that’s fit to print. It’ll be good practice for our future careers in T.V. news.
Friends 4 ever
PS: Do you think I should go with Talullah for my professional name or make up something intelligent sounding?
At least you’re doing stuff. Snohomish is the boringest place on Earth. NOTHING ever changes here. That’s why everyone still talks about you. My curfew is ten o’clock, even in the summer. I can’t even stay up late enough to watch the Bicentennial celebration. How grody is that? I keep telling my mom she’s making me miss history but she just laughs. Man, next year is going to blow chips. I wish you were here. I can’t wait ’til we get our dorm room together. It’ll rock. We’ll party hardy every night.
Mom’s calling me down for dinner. Tuna Helper. Again. I’d rather eat my own shoe.
Best Friends 4 ever
P.S. Do you think I really have a future career in T.V. news???
Last night I snuck out of the house and met up with some SENIOR boys from O’Dea. We saw Wings at the Kingdome. It was the coolest night ever. I wish you’d been there. I know Paul McCartney is old, but he’s still a stone cold fox. And Ted Frumm asked me out while they played “Band on the Run.” He’s the captain of the football team. What should I do???
Will write back soon, good buddy. 10-4.
Friends 4 ever,
PS: Of course you have a future in news. We’re a team, aren’t we? And you’re lucky your mom watches out for you. Boys can be real jerks. The Bicentennial shit was pretty lame anyway.
While you were watching Wings at the Kingdome with the guys from O’Dea, I was helping my sister learn how to show chickens at the fair. (Does that hobby actually require headgear and a runny nose or is she just unlucky???) It made me think about what a nerd I was when I first met you. Remember? The coke bottle glasses and high-water pants. How could you ever see past all that? You’re a genius. And you better go out with that guy. He sounds cool. All you ever say is no to guys. Why is that? I would kill for a date.
Well, gotta boogie. Mom’s working part time at the drugstore and Dad’s always gone lately. You-know-who has to cook dinner. I’ll try to call you this weekend. Catch you on the flip side.
Best Friends 4 ever,
This long distance blows. I really need my best friend to talk to, dammit. My date with Ted was like one of those tornados that hits Nebraska. A DISASTER. And it’s your fault for making me go. (Not really ☺) Nice Mr. Letterman’s jacket said he loved me in about ten seconds. How insanely gross is that? And when does he decide to tell me he loves me? IN THE MIDDLE OF ROCKY. Right when Rocky yells, “Yo, Adrienne!” Ted licks my ear so I TOTALLY missed it. I’m giving up on boys. They are just penises with feet and hands.
Ted sounds like a super loser, but of course he loves you. You’re the coolest. How could he help himself? Stephen Morrow still has your 8th grade picture up on his locker and Ben Johnston tells everyone you let him feel you up when you came over last summer. That’s what I can’t stand about this damn town. You’ve been gone for years and you’re still the biggest topic of conversation at lunch. Last week I heard Marc Soderburg say he saw you in a television show. What a dork.
Best friends 4 ever,
PS: Pat Richmond knocked up Mary Beth Swanson. Loser + idiot = saddest baby on the planet. Didn’t you go out with him once?
Don’t mention Pat Richmond to me again. That guy is a total loser.
1977 is pretty sucky so far. The only good news is the winter play. I got the lead in Once Upon a Mattress. Usually only seniors get the best parts, so it’s extra cool. I’m totally psyched! Maybe you and your family can come over on opening night. I could leave you all tickets at Will Call. It’d be nice ‘cuz Gran doesn’t feel good enough to go out these days.
I’m sorry I had to leave my seat for awhile last night. My new contacts were chewing my eyeballs but I could still see that you were GREAT as the princess. My mom and dad thought so, too. We were really proud of you. I heard the lady next to me say you had real charisma. That’s cool, huh?
Can you come over during spring break this year? Christmas was sooo long ago. Gran says I’m moping around here, but I miss you. The girls at school aren’t the same. I can’t tell them EVERYTHING like I can you. What did you think of my story on Karen Ann Quinlan?
You won’t believe this. Trent Gillett asked me-ME-to the junior prom. I can’t believe it. Mom says if I save up she’ll go in for half on a Gunny Sax dress. We might even go to SEATTLE for dinner. Is that cool or what? I WISH YOU WERE HERE!
PS: I got the Dorothy Hamill haircut. It looks good. ☺ And I totally dug your bit on the girl in the coma. Mondo sad. It made me cry. My mom liked it, too. She says you’re good at wringing emotion from a story. That’s good, right?
I remember Trent. What a fox! Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do, but if you do, name it after me. Ha ha. Go to the Mirabeau restaurant for dinner. Super cool. Can’t wait for details! I’ll call Sunday morning. But remember: BE CAREFUL. Don’t let him take you into any dark corners.
PS: A bunch of us went to see Star Wars at the UA 150. What a totally rockin’ movie. If I were ever going to get married-which I’m not-it would be to Harrison Ford.
The junior prom was the best time ever. Trent said I was a total fox and tried to feel me up. It took him like six hours to unhook my bra. If I had boobs, he would have found them.
PS: Is Harrison Ford that old guy from American Graffiti?
Sorry I haven’t written for a while. My grandfather died this weekend. It was mondo sad. Even Cloud came home and shut her trap for a day and wore normal clothes. (I didn’t even know Gran knew how to get a hold of Mom. I guess she’s out of rehab). Anyway, the funeral is Tuesday. Fun city. Wish you were here.
I was gonna tell you about the totally cool photos that I took yesterday, but my mom’s yelling for me again. I think she left her Toni home perm on too long and it fried her brain. When I have kids I’m never gonna tell them what to do.
PS: Saw your mom’s picture on the news. What’s a harp seal?
School is finally over!!! A bunch of us went to the Lake Hills Roller Rink to celebrate. The music was awesome. It was a local rock band with two girls in it! How cool is that??? They sang a song called “Dreamboat Annie” that rocked. Maybe I can take the bus to see you next weekend?