In Billy O’Connor’s colorful life, the Irish immigrant was a Vietnam vet, a Teamster, an inveterate gambler, an illegal bookie, a bar owner, and an alcoholic and drug user. Billy also served twenty years with the New York City Fire Department and was a first responder at Ground Zero.
The tragedy of 9/11 spurred the morally rudderless O’Connor to have a moment of clarity. At the age of fifty-eight, he put the plug in the jug and enrolled at the University of Florida. After earning his BA in journalism, he began writing and performing stand-up comedy full-time.
Combustible (to be released in 2021) is loosely based on Billy’s twenty years on the FDNY and on the firefighters he was blessed to call friends.
Combustible is the third book he has co-written for Acclaim Press with Frank Pace. Together they co-wrote If These Lips Could Talk and Lamar’s Gamble — A Tale of the AFL-NFL Merger. O’Connor’s first novel, Confessions of a Bronx Bookie, was autobiographical and received critical praise for its raw, vivid storytelling.
Billy and Frank can be seen on their weekly podcast, A Mick A Mook and A Mic (amickamookandamic.com), available wherever you watch or listen to your podcasts.