At the age of six, in my hometown of Syracuse, NY, I boarded an American Airlines Lockheed Electra with my spirited mom. After receiving the obligatory tour of the cockpit, I was handed a certificate, a pilot’s hat silhouetted in the background.
The certificate, signed by the captain, promised me an interview with the airline’s chief pilot 20 years from the date. Thinking that the notion of becoming an airline pilot would fade over time, my parents allowed the dream to remain a childhood fantasy. But the dream never faded.
Twenty years later, despite the fact over 500 pilots from the airline were on furlough, I marched into headquarters and received my interview. Well, it was a courtesy interview given by the equivalent of an H.R. administrator. Undaunted, I persevered in better times.
Be on the lookout for Abend’s first novel, PAPER WINGS! Coming March 7th, 2017!
Eighteen months past the certificate date, with a lot of flying experience on my resume, I became employed as a pilot for the airline of my dreams. And now, thirty-two years later, and a handful of airplanes behind me, my office is the left seat of a Boeing 777.
So where did writing a novel enter the picture? Creativity is certainly not perceived as an attribute of my profession. And although I have visually creative parents, I can’t draw stick figures.
Writing has always been my other passion. The act of putting words on paper to communicate thoughts, ideas, and emotions is as much an enjoyable challenge as the act of flying an airplane. Throughout my flying career, the concept of writing a novel has always been a goal.
In pursuit of my endeavor, I got sidetracked. Believing that a little name recognition might help my cause, I submitted some unsolicited articles to FLYING MAGAZINE. Fifteen years later, I remain a monthly columnist and contributing editor.
And at some point, CNN Op-Ed solicited my writing contribution on various airplane and airline matters. I was then asked to appear on camera after the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Honestly, I’ve never had a friendly relationship with cameras. My wife can verify that a camera to me is like kryptonite to Superman. But somehow I became a CNN aviation analyst. It’s been a tremendous experience.
I am fortunate that the magazine contribution allows me to write stories, mostly providing insight to my airline experiences. Regardless, writing fiction is a fun departure from my typical factual diatribes.
Although “Paper Wings” is not my first novel, (the first novel was an unpublished practice run… as it will remain for everyone’s protection), it will be the first in a series of mystery, suspense, thriller, whodunits similar to Cold Case… only with airplanes.
I am gratified that WildBlue Press has offered me the opportunity to fulfill the dream of my other passion. It is flattering to be among the talent of so many great writers within the WildBlue community. I hope to make it a satisfying relationship, especially for my readers.