Interview with Olivia Rivers | Tone Deaf

His world is music. Her world is silent.

Ali Collins was a child prodigy destined to become one of the greatest musicians of the twenty-first century—until she was diagnosed with a life-changing brain tumor. Now, at seventeen, Ali lives in a soundless world where she gets by with American Sign Language and lip-reading. She’s a constant disappointment to her father, a retired cop fighting his own demons, and the bruises are getting harder to hide.

When Ali accidentally wins a backstage tour with the chart-topping band Tone Deaf, she’s swept back into the world of music. Jace Beckett, the nineteen-year-old lead singer of the band, has a reputation. He’s a jerk and a player, and Ali wants nothing to do with him. But there’s more to Jace than the tabloids let on. When Jace notices Ali’s bruises and offers to help her escape to New York, Ali can’t turn down the chance at freedom and a fresh start. Soon she’s traveling cross-country, hidden away in Jace’s RV as the band finishes their nationwide tour. With the help of Jace, Ali sets out to reboot her life and rediscover the music she once loved.

Who Is Olivia Rivers?

Olivia Rivers is a hybrid author of Young Adult fiction. Her works include the independently published novels “Frost Fire” and “In the Hope of Memories,” along with the traditionally published novel “Tone Deaf” (Skyhorse 2016.) As a certified geek, she enjoys experimenting with new publishing technologies, and her online serials have received over 1,000,000 hits on When Olivia isn’t working as a writer, she’s a typical teen attending college in Northern California. Olivia is represented by Laurie McLean of Fuse Literary, and nothing thrills her more than hearing from readers.

The Making of Tone Deaf with Olivia Rivers:

  1. Where did you get the idea for “Tone Deaf?”

A lot of different things came together to inspire “Tone Deaf.” I wanted to see more disabled characters represented in YA books, so writing a deaf character really appealed to me. I was also interested in doing a story about music, since the professional world surrounding the art form is so unique and crazy. Then one day, I was jokingly brainstorming terrible band names with a friend, and “Tone Deaf” was one I came up with. It led to a light-bulb moment—what if I combined a music story with the story of a deaf girl?

  1. Was writing a deaf main character hard?

Making Ali’s deafness realistic required a lot of research and more work than I usually put into characters. But at her core, no, Ali wasn’t a hard character to write. I’ve always seen her as being someone who’s shaped by the things she has—a talent for art, a snarky sense of humor, a passion for geeky things. The things she doesn’t have—like normal hearing—really aren’t what define her as a person. So writing her character wasn’t necessarily “hard”—it just took a bit more research than usual.

  1. So is Jace based off one of your real-life crushes?

Oh my gosh, nooo. Since I’m a young author, I get asked this a surprising amount, and it always cracks me up. I’m rather outspoken and have no patience for ungentlemanly behavior, so I think Jace and I would last approximately two minutes in the same room before verbally ripping each other to shreds. It might make for some great viral-video material, but we would definitely never be relationship material!

  1. What inspired the setting for “Tone Deaf?”

“Tone Deaf” is a road trip book that takes place all across the South West. But I’ve always seen the true setting as being “the RV” instead of “the South West.” From the start of writing “Tone Deaf,” I knew having my characters living in the band’s RV was going to present some interesting situations. As a writer, it was definitely a challenge. But it also made me appreciate the crazy lifestyle sacrifices musicians make to bring their music to people across the country!

  1. What was the strangest part of writing your book?

When I realized that everyone aside from me apparently thinks the title is “Tone Death.” I honestly have no idea how this started. But I see a ton of bloggers and readers online making this typo in the title, and it’s actually kind of growing on me. “Tone Death” sounds awesomely hardcore.

  1. What was your favorite part about writing “Tone Deaf”?

Even though he’s a side character, I think writing Killer was my favorite part. Killer describes himself as “the geekiest and gayest rock star in existence,” and he gave me an excuse to include a bunch of subtle nods to Doctor Who and Pokémon. Since his boyfriend is his polar opposite and utterly baffled by geekiness, their relationship was also very fun to write.

  1. Is “Tone Deaf” connected to any of your other books?

Yes! While the plots don’t directly link, if readers look carefully, they’ll find that all my Contemporary novels intertwine a bit. Actually, the music from “Tone Deaf” plays a key role in my novel, “In the Hope of Memories.”

  1. Do you plot your books before you start writing?

Nope! Plotting out events has never worked for me, so I tend to write very character-driven stories. I make sure to develop strong characters before I start writing, and then I allow the plot to unfold as the characters grow.

  1. Is there a theme you hope readers will take away from “Tone Deaf”?

I hope readers will walk away realizing how empowering it is to take charge of your own future and defy expectations. Also, I hope they get the message that pit-bull snuggles are the most adorable of snuggles, and you definitely need an adopted puppy in your life.

  1. What’s your favorite part about being published?

No question about it, connecting with readers will always be my favorite part. I’ve had the opportunity to meet so many amazing people through the book community, and I’m looking forward to meeting even more as “Tone Deaf” releases!


Make sure to support this amazing author. Here are a few ways to do so:

Amazon  |  Amazon UK  |  Barnes and Noble  |  Books-a-Million  |  Book Depository  |  IndieBound


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