MILTON, Ga. — Local young adult contemporary author Gina Ciocca will release two new novels in the next two months, and Milton residents will recognize locations in Ciocca’s “A Kiss in the Dark,” set in Ridgedale, a fictionalized Milton.
“A Kiss in the Dark,” which will be released in March, follows the story of high school student, Marcy. While she is photographing a Ridgedale football game for the school’s yearbook, the lights go out and she is kissed by an unknown person. When the lights come back on, she is still unaware of who her admirer may be. Her pursuit to find the person begins, and the adventure correlates to a fire at the school in her junior year.
Ciocca said Ridgedale is based on Milton High, and readers will also recognize Downtown Crapapple’s Mugs on Milton and Roswell’s Old Mill Park.
Originally from Connecticut, Ciocca moved to Milton in 2013, and “A Kiss in the Dark” is her first novel set outside of the Northeast.
“I imagined the characters in my house and neighborhood and I thought there was no better place to set the story than in Milton,” Ciocca said.
Ciocca’s second novel, “Busted,” was released Jan. 2. She and fellow young adult contemporary writer Rachael Allen will celebrate the release this Saturday at 6 p.m. at the Little Shop of Stories in Decatur.
“Busted” is described by Ciocca as a Veronica Mars-like novel, in which the female protagonist accidentally becomes her high school’s go-to spy for finding cheating boyfriends.
Ciocca said her foray into writing novels came after spending eight years in a rut at her corporate desk job.
“I realized I needed an outlet and something to make me happy,” she said. “I needed to get back to something creative, not just making money for other people. Books have always been my escape.”
Her decision to write young adult novels stems from her writing style, which she says fits a teenager protagonist by being snarky and quick-witted. It is also an age in life that appealed her.
“It was a very informative time in my life,” Ciocca said. “I think it’s important to tell the stories of what happens in those years, like finding your first love, the separation of your parents or losing friends. They may not be the most important events in your life, but it certainly feels like it at the time.”
“Busted” is available now through Sourcebooks. “A Kiss in the Dark” will be released through Simon & Schuster.