top of page

The Sky’s the Limit: Interview with Kam Majd.

By Carin Chea

Iranian-born, internationally-educated Kam Majd has seen it all, literally. A seasoned pilot of over 44 years, Majd is a captain whose flights have allowed him to survey the world. While many in his position might consider a secondary career as a flight trainer, Majd has taken an intriguing caveat: Thriller and suspense writing. Already a highly-praised and prestigiously recognized author, Majd’s latest novel, High Wire, was an Edgar Award Finalist, a title reserved for only the crème de la crème in the mystery writing world. Whether in the cockpit or in front of his laptop, Majd knows what it takes to make an audience sit on the edge of their seats. I really appreciate you making your protagonist a female pilot. I don’t think I’ve ever come across any female plane captains. I just wanted to say I have much respect for you and your book.

Even today, only 6% of the pilots are women. You’d think there’d be more of them around in 2023. This is a really male-dominated field here. In this story [High Wire] the blame is placed on the captain who has to purposely crash the plane when they were close to the ground because flight control stopped responding to her commands. Of course, the blame usually goes to the pilot, which is even easier when it’s a female pilot. All fingers are pointed at her, saying she wasn’t even qualified, she shouldn’t have even been flying. In my real life, I’ve flown with many female pilots and they are of course every bit as good as male pilots. Was there an incident that inspired you to write High Wire?

Twenty-plus years ago, the field was 99% male, so even more male-dominated. It was very common for these male pilots to have a photo of a female centerfold in the cockpit hidden away. There was this one flight I had with another pilot, along with a flight engineer who was female and brand new. The other pilot pulled out one of these centerfold pictures. He immediately realized how inappropriate it was and put it back. The flight engineer saw it and was very gracious about it. She handled it very well. The whole time, during this red-eye flight, I thought about what an awkward situation it was. By the time we landed, I knew I had to include this awkward incident in the book. Wow, that’s kind of how it is in the movies.

Some of those movies are pretty accurate. After a 44-year career in aviation, and recently becoming the captain of a Boeing 777, what prompted you to write High Wire? Is this your first book? It is my first book, but the original version came out 22 years ago. The cover of the book read “Faster than the Speed of Terror” and it takes place in New York, of course, and came out around 9/11.

You’re kidding.

No. Pretty much the only thing I was missing in the book was Mohamed Atta’s name. Nobody had the stomach to read it at the time. But, it did well and was nominated by the Edgars. Dell and Random House would not stop or pause it. It was going to be a pretty big print, with 244,000 copies. Of course, none of that happened. The buildings in New York were on fire the day they were trying to sell it. They backed off on marketing because, at that point, it would be years before anyone would want to read anything about airplanes. But, the next year, it was nominated for The Edgars. Right before 9/11, everyone in Hollywood was interested in the book, and right after 9/11, nobody in Hollywood was interested in the book. Fast forward a few decades, I reverted the rights back to myself, re-wrote, and updated the book. There’s another renewed interest in Hollywood.

What would you say High Wire is about? We’re becoming so dependent on computers. We used to have 3 people in the cockpit and now we have 2. It has become safer and better, but we have truly become dependent. These computers are bulletproof. In my world, I wondered: What if one of these computers starts to receive the wrong kind of information and it doesn’t know it’s the wrong information? The computer is still a machine that’s told what to do. That’s how the concept of the computer virus was introduced. The fly-by-wire system is the flight controls of the system that is the most automated and that’s the system I focused on in the book. It’s a real concept that can occur.

Are you in High Wire? Many writers use their own behaviors to create, so I suppose a little bit of me is in every character. You have three generations of women in the book. I try to create the characters based on what the readers would want to see. The most important thing was to believe they were as real as possible and that the technology was accurate.

What made you write a mystery thriller in particular? Is there a sequel in the making? There are multiple books that are coming out after this. One of them is called Silent Voices, a story of two sisters who look alike. One of them was born and raised in New York and the other was lost in Afghanistan. Their parents were media reporters. She was raised in a rural village in Afghanistan and has no idea why she’s blonde and blue-eyed. The story takes place right before the American pullout in 2021. It’s a fast-paced thriller and centers around two sisters trying to find each other. High Impact is a sequel, with the same characters from High Wire, but not the same story. The New York Post praised your book and said it would be perfect for the big screen. Any plans for turning High Wire into a screenplay? There are some heavyweights in Hollywood looking at it right now. Before 9/11 they were looking at it, and now it’s been revived. There are about a dozen producers taking a close look at it. The thing about Hollywood, as you know, is the highs are so high and the lows are very low. I feel bad for those who haven’t made it, and worse for those who have. Who do you imagine playing the protagonist if High Wire ever makes it to Netflix? The protagonist is a 34-year-old female with a Greek heritage. Maybe Jennifer Lawrence or Brie Larsen. For more information, please visit


Single Post: Blog Single Post Widget
bottom of page