Bill Lawlor grew up in a blue-collar neighborhood in a large city. In addition to his parents, he was raised under the strong but loving rule of Catholic nuns and priests. Gangs were an ever-present force in his neighborhood. He quickly learned how to navigate his way through the challenges that accompanied living in a tightly-knit group of families and friends who put a great deal of importance on the idea of loyalty to your own kind.
During his youth, Bill knew and observed many people, young and old, in their daily lives. Many of them made a strong impression on him. Some were model citizens; others were cruel, selfish individuals. All played a role in the development of the tales in his book.