Gina, what was your inspiration for writing A KISS IN THE DARK?
I seem to be the only person who remembers this, which is all the more odd because I’m not a football fan, but during Superbowl XLVII, the power went out. I think it was during that same Superbowl when an Audi commercial aired that showed a boy driving to the prom, planting a kiss on the stunned-but-clearly-impressed prom queen, and then driving home with a black eye from her boyfriend. The wheels started turning in my head, and I knew I wanted to write a story about an unexpected kiss that occurred during a blackout on a football field. I also wanted there to be a mystery surrounding more than just the kiss, so I wrote flashback chapters that tie the identity of the kisser to a fire that nearly destroyed Macy’s best friend’s house – and was also the final straw in destroying their friendship.
How long did you work on A KISS IN THE DARK?
Two years, which was way longer than I expected it to take me! I sold the idea to my editor on proposal in 2015, and it took me nearly a year to complete the first draft. At the time, my son was 2 and not yet in preschool, so I wound up hiring a babysitter for 6-9 hours a week just so I could work on KISS. I’m pretty sure I’d still be drafting if I hadn’t. I sent the first draft to betas and did some revising, but it was nothing compared to what was to come. My first edit letter from my editor basically asked me to rewrite the whole story. And so I went back to the drawing board, deleting over 50 pages and totally rewriting them for the first of two major revisions. I think it was May of 2017 when I finally got the email saying we were ready to move on to copy edits. And what a relief that was!
What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
Listen to the advice of other authors, but don’t force yourself to write in ways that just don’t work for you. Some authors swear by outlines, whereas others (like me) find them confining and end up straying from them. Other authors may sit down and write every scene in chronological order, whereas some (me again) write scenes as they come to their minds, and figure out the order later on. As long as the end result is a finished, cohesive manuscript, don’t worry about how you got there. You’re doing just fine.
ABOUT THE BOOKA Kiss in the Dark
by Gina Ciocca
When the lights go out at a Georgia high school football game, senior Macy Atwood finds herself in the arms of a boy who kisses her senseless—but he’s gone by the time the lights come back on. All she knows is that there was something special—and oddly familiar—about her mystery kisser.
Noah Granger, Ridgedale’s resident bad boy and newest transfer student, has no problem taking credit for the kiss, but Macy can’t shake the feeling that he’s lying. Especially since a photograph of Macy and former star football player Joel Hargrove resurfaced online moments before the blackout, a not-so-random reminder of how hard she fell for Joel last year. And how doing so ultimately sent her lifelong friendships with Meredith Kopala and Ben Collins up in literal smoke.
Soon last year’s wounds begin to reopen as Macy realizes the events that unfolded during junior year are somehow tied to her mystery kisser.
But the closer Macy gets to figuring it all out, the more she starts to worry that the boy who kissed her in the dark and the boy who is stealing her heart might be two very different people.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Have you had a chance to read A KISS IN THE DARK yet? Have you had a story inspired by a Superbowl commercial? Have you figured out how to pick and choose what writing advice works for you? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!
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