“Interview with Deborah Adams and Kimberley Perkins”
by Joe Walters
I first discovered the brilliant duo of Deborah Adams and Kimberley Perkins from their co-authoring debut Waypoint. With an impressive combination of lovable characters and non-stop plot movement, this first novel had me gushing in a book review about how it was able to keep me engaged, surprised, and waiting impatiently for book 2.
Lucky for me, Constellation made its way in front of my eyes less than a year later, and just as I expected, it lived up to the hype. Big time. I left this finale feeling excited, rejuvenated, and even bummed out that Simon, West, Riya, and Alex wouldn’t be telling me their story anymore.
But instead of pouting about it, I reached out to Adams and Perkins to learn more about their co-authoring process and some inspiration behind a few of the decisions they made for their series. And lucky for you, their answers are mine to share.
Enjoy my interview with co-authors Deborah Adams and Kimberley Perkins!
Joe Walters: Deborah Adams and Kimberley Perkins, co-authors of the Waypoint series, thank you for chatting with me! I just finished up the final book in your series (Constellation), and I’ve got to say—I loved it! I really can’t wait for the world to get a hold of this thing.
D. Adams & K. Perkins: We’re so glad you liked the series! Independent Book Review has been one of the highlights of our publishing journey. We’re excited for readers to see how the story plays out.
J. Walters: Waypoint, the first novel in this series, was first published in December 2018, followed shortly after by Intel and now ending with Constellation. What made you first begin this project?
K. Perkins: We were both avid readers. We started a book club at work (which ended up with only 3 members). We read this one book that was supposed to be really popular. It wasn’t put together well but had audiences still coming back for more. There were plot holes, underdeveloped characters, and questionable motives. It was hard to read but had a captivated fanbase. We could pinpoint all the things we didn’t like in a book, and we could strategize about how the novel could have been better. That started the discussions of “Could we write something that people would like?” Writing Waypoint was an exercise to prove that we could map out a story, and once we got the ball rolling, the story flowed out easily.
J. Walters: This series takes place in a future where there is no power, because someone in charge turned it off. In these books, the main characters travel on foot to restore the power and save the lives of those who are dependent on it. Other than the medical issues that come with it, what else did you find so terrifying about the loss of power?
D. Adams: I think for me the most frightening was about food scarcity and the inability to store and keep food fresh. Several years ago, our local area was hit hard by a tornado, and that had us without power for several days. That was one of my biggest concerns. Everything in refrigerators and freezers went bad fast. That’s probably why we tried to show how people were adapting to food issues.
K. Perkins: When we first discussed a world without power, it seemed like a first world issue. But then we started thinking about the distribution lines being down, and about how environmental initiatives in the coming decades would probably make transportation impossible without a power grid. I think the medical issues were the scariest, but just the fall of distant communication is hard to imagine for me. In a world without phones or internet, you might catch word from travelers of violent rioting across the country, but you can’t call your family in a different part of the country to check in on them. You’d be in a constant state of worry.
J. Walters: Each character is unique and vibrant in your series. It’s a huge reason why I liked it so much. For all those who haven’t met your characters yet, could you compare your MCs to a few real-life or fictional characters? Who would they be and why?
D. Adams: We both grew so close to these characters over the series, so we’re glad you enjoyed them! We began crafting them with traits that reflect some of our own interests. We wanted each character to be balanced with flaws and strengths that would allow them to manage the needs of the plot while still seeming believable. It’s almost hard to imagine them as anyone other than who they are at this point…
K. Perkins: There are a lot of things about Simon—things that he thought or ways that he felt that I have felt during my life. I based his gamer friends off gamers that I have encountered through the years. Collins in particular is the type of gamer that you run into a lot at LAN parties and in online matches: tons of talent and zero manners.
J. Walters: Writing fiction is such a deeply personal experience. I couldn’t imagine what co-authoring would be like. Could you speak further about how you were able to make co-authoring work?
D. Adams & K. Perkins: There are challenges, for sure. Most of the time, we are on the same page, but when you feel very strongly about the direction of the story, it can be frustrating. We worked through it every time it came up, but you must be willing to compromise. If you can overcome the challenges, there are so many benefits to co-authoring. We were able to write full novels in two and a half months, which seemed speedy, and writer’s block becomes nonexistent since you always have another brain to help you push through the hard parts.
J. Walters: In addition to the thrill-ride of your plot, we also get the development of two dynamic romantic relationships. What do you have to say about the use of relationship tension in a YA thriller?
D. Adams: I think the romantic relationships are what takes an unbelievable or unrelatable story and gives it that element of relatability. So, as a reader, I don’t know what it’s like to be on a mission to save the world from government conspiracies, but I do remember what it was like to experience first love and all the stress, happiness, and uncertainty that come with it. Romance is a common thread through a fantastical plot that most readers can relate to.
J. Walters: In Constellation, readers get the pleasant opportunity to get to know a few side characters who were gamer friends with Simon in the first book. Now, they are stepping away from their screens and helping save the world. What part do you believe first-person games play alongside the themes in the series?
K. Perkins: In most of the games that I play, you play the hero. I think that we hear a lot of bad things about the effects that violent video games can have on players, but it’s rare to hear about the other side of that coin. I feel like living these stories can be inspiring. If the violence is rubbing off on us, then what about the bravery and the willingness to take a stand against evil? I think these stories can be inspiring.
J. Walters: Now that you’ve finished the series, can you look back and pinpoint your favorite scenes or instances in any of the books?
D. Adams: The prison break was definitely a highlight for me in Constellation. In Waypoint, when Simon sets out to save Riya’s family…I love it. I also still enjoy West and Alex’s breakout from the cultist’s barn. It’s still laugh-out-loud funny to me. Also, if you can’t get excited at the end of Constellation when the gamers level-up, then I don’t know what to say about that.
K. Perkins: In book one, I loved the scene where Riya and Simon stop keeping secrets after their first gunfight. Riya was really badass in that scene, and emotions were high. I loved when they were at Collins’s house, watching Agent Anderson together. And although it was a dark scene, the Ranger’s Station remains one of my favorite scenes that I’ve written. In book two, the prison break, the battle simulator scenes, and the final battle in Jackson are some of my favorites. I really love when the gamers showcase their skills.
J. Walters: Now, let’s get down to the big question: Which movie or TV show do we just have to see and why?
D. Adams: I never seem to have time to invest in tv shows, but I tend to love anything Marvel puts out. Spiderman Far from Home was a blast!
K. Perkins: I love almost everything Joss Whedon has ever been a part of, so I’d recommend bingeing Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Dollhouse, and Firefly as soon as possible.
J. Walters: Are you working on anything else?
D. Adams & K. Perkins: We have some ideas but nothing firm. We’ve talked about a Waypoint spin-off with our favorite bickering duo, Quinn and Collins…but we’ll just have to see.
About the Interviewer
Joe Walters is the editor-in-chief of Independent Book Review. When he’s not doing editorial or reviewing work at IBR, he’s working on his novel and trusting the process.
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