Paul O'Connell


I was born and raised in Quincy, MA. At the age of 17 I was expelled from high school. I was a juvenile delinquent. I then had a brainstorm and was propelled by its winds in the direction of Parris Island to become a man. Just a few months after my 18th birthday, I was sent to Vietnam. I survived but brought home a head full of trauma. In 1990 I returned to Vietnam to see if I could find myself again. After my return, I began to write.

My desire is to share my journey with others through my writing, and to give life and honor to those I served with in Vietnam who no longer have a voice.

I have been married for more than 47 years. I have two children and two granddaughters.

I served the Quincy Fire Department for 32 years and retired in 2005 as the Chief of Department.


Smashwords Interview

When did you first start writing?
I wasn't much of a student in grade school, thus I don't remember writing much at all back then. If we can call writing letters, writing, then I could say I started writing in 1968 when I joined the Marines and started writing letters to my family--my mother, father, brother, two sisters, and Tiger Lil, the family pet cat. Actually the letters I wrote, which continued right through my tour of duty in Vietnam, became the basis of what we would really refer to as my writing--writing about my letters, and what they really said, and what they didn't--writing my book, Between the Lines, which I began writing around 1994, but I actually started writing in 1990 after taking a creative class at UMASS-Boston.
What are you working on next?
I'm trying to get my mind back into gear. I have started three different projects. Maybe even four, but nothing seems to have longevity.

One book, or story is about a Vietnam veteran who goes on a road trip to visit the grave of his friend who was killed in Vietnam. I have toyed with this story off and on for fifteen years, but right now I have shelved it because I'm not sure I want to write about Vietnam again.

Another book I have started is based on my career in the fire service. I had gotten off to a good start, but that is back burner too, although I have thirty-two years of stories to tell. It's just that I'm not sure I want to expose the sick humor that was expressed in the fire houses.

A third book is another Vietnam book. A story about a reunion, and the relationship between a group of veterans and how they recall the past in their own ways. Again, not sure I want to go back to that subject matter.

Finally, I have a fiction piece about the voice inside my Garmin GPS. It is a scary thriller. The book is blowing my mind as I explore the minds of my characters.
Read more of this interview.


Between the Lines
Price: Free! Words: 144,990. Language: English. Published: March 29, 2013. Categories: Nonfiction » History » War
(4.75 from 12 reviews)
I wrote eighty letters to my family as an eighteen year old Marine serving in Vietnam during the war. I was reunited with these letters sixteen years later. When I sat and read them, I was blown away by what I had written, and what I had not... It has taken twenty-eight years to finish this book which pained me so many times that often I could not keep at it... Finally I have finished... Peace
Price: Free! Words: 2,850. Language: English. Published: December 23, 2011. Categories: Poetry » American poetry
(5.00 from 1 review)
This writer presents the reader with poems of a personal nature. His words in poetic manner flow through a past which can still be troublesome at times, but the war poems shed a different light on a traumatic experience.

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