Gioia is the author of two novels and four biographies. Her books, which center on the lives of women, combine rich story telling with deep research to bring alive worlds as varied as jazz age Paris and nineteenth century Chicago, Belle Epoque Paris, and disco era Manhattan. As a journalist, she has contributed to many publications, including the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, Smithsonian and Vanity Fair. She is also a visiting lecturer in writing at the Savannah College of Art and Design and DePaul University.
The mother of a grown son, Gioia lives with her husband in Chicago, where she is at work on her seventh book.