Photo by Frank Prager
Orlando Panfile with his recently completed novel, “Tacnetech.”’
ALTON — For those of us who have dreamed of writing a novel but just cannot seem to put pen to paper, there is evidence that it is never too late. At a point in life where most people are content to relax into retirement, one area senior has just published his first novel.
Orlando Panfile used a lifetime of experience in various careers as the basis from which he created a story he hopes people find intriguing. The author, 87, lives in Alton with his wife, Barb.
Panfile has had a long, varied and interesting career. He flew aircraft for 50 years, having once flown President Ronald Reagan to an appearance engagement. He also completed the rigorous requirements to qualify for a captain’s rating for a 200-ton sea vessel. Requirements for the rating include spending 365 days at sea.
He has used these and other experiences to fill his novel with real world information and craft a suspenseful tale about a man who has to navigate both sky and water in pursuing the creation of an invention.
“The idea came to me from a real world situation,” Panfile explains.
He says a friend of his brother’s was killed some years back by a drunk driver. Panfile thought about whether a device could be developed to detect and prevent such incidents.
“We’re closer to the technology than people realize,” he says. He points out that modern vehicles have monitoring systems which can detect excessive acceleration and braking events. They also have GPS systems that can determine the speed, direction and location of the vehicle.
Panfile simply took the thought one step further and crafted a story about the invention of a device that would not only monitor vehicular activity but would also report back to the authorities in order to prevent bad driving. The book is titled “Tacnetech” after the name of the device the protagonist invents.
As the book unfolds, the inventor comes into conflict with people whose interests are not served by the invention and with whom he thereby comes into conflict. Much of the technology as well as incidents in the book on the water and in the air are derived from Panfile’s own life’s experiences.
He explains that one particularly harrowing situation he experienced in real life in an aircraft when he almost ran out of fuel and crashed is an example of something he incorporated into the book
He says writing the book took about five years.
“I didn’t work on it continuously,” he explains. “I would put it down for a while and pick it back up later, but whenever I would get an idea for it, I would always write it down.”
The book is available on www.amazon.com as well as at the Jacoby Arts Center in Alton. Panfile says the sense of accomplishment in getting his ideas in front of other people was the real reward in writing the book. He also says he is already working on his second book based on even more real life experiences.
For anyone struggling with writer’s block or wondering if they truly have that novel inside of them, this senior’s story is proof it can be done. Orlando Panfile has now added “published author” to an already lengthy list of accomplishments in his life.