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On The Table Read, “the best book magazine in the UK“, former drug smuggler Simon McCoy talks about writing his memoir, Finding My Mojo from the To Live Outside the Law series.

the best creativity magazine in the UK, the best book magazine in the UK, the best arts magazine in the UK, the best entertainment magazine in the UK, the best celebrity magazine in the UK, book marketing UK, book promotion UK, music marketing UK, music promotion UK, film marketing UK, film promotion UK, arts and entertainment magazine, online magazine uk, creativity magazine

Written by JJ Barnes

I interviewed Simon McCoy about his life as a drug smuggler, what inspired him to write about it, and the work that went into his memoir, To Live Outside The Law, Finding My Mojo.

Tell me a bit about who you are.

Simon McCoy on The Table Read
Simon McCoy

My name is Simon McCoy, I’m an outlaw. I smuggled cocaine for longer than Pablo Escobar. I am also a father of two and a surprisingly ordinary bloke. I just chose an extraordinary life or maybe it chose me.

Editing and Proofreading by Scribendi

When did you first WANT to write a book?

 Very early in my career I found myself inhabiting a parallel world and found it fascinating. I lived undercover for years unable to share my adventures. It was very frustrating. In 1997 I got married for a second time, a condition for marriage was I retired. The plan was that I would write a book, I got eleven chapters in out of 33 when I chucked it. I wasn’t ready to retire or write the book my story was incomplete.

When did you take a step to start writing?

This time, it was eighteen months ago. I had settled in Latin America, my natural home, on the coast. Like all beaches in the sun, it had its fair share of expats and some of them had formed a writer’s group. They invited me along to a meeting and that was it. These wonderful clever people gave me permission to write. I was worried about my outlaw past and how people would react. You know what? Nobody cares, everyone knows the laws are a sham. They enjoyed what I was writing and wanted to hear more. I haven’t looked back since.

How long did it take you to complete your first book from the first idea to release?

Eighteen months, ‘Finding my Mojo’, went out on the twenty first of July. I dabbled at first just making sure I had something for Monday’s writing group meeting. Then it took on speed and a life of it’s own. Then we hit editors and rewrites and huge improvements thank to my two great editors. Can I give Laura Joyce from Reedsy a huge thank you? She opened my eyes to what could be done. Then it was the Audible book which was originally to go out first. Book two ‘Finding peace’ will be done in 8 months it’s already halfway there.

In this age of celebrity, you must be famous to be interesting right? Bollox, I always said give me the fortune, fuck the fame. I lived for decades undercover, managing to move coke all over the world. How I did that, is the story, entering  a hidden parallel world is the interest.

What made you want to write Finding My Mojo?

Churchill is credited with saying “History is Written by Victors.” Bullshit, it’s written by the media and the politicians that they put in power. Fear sells papers.

The prohibitionists had a huge problem with cocaine, non-addictive, relatively harmless and huge fun. Nowhere to live, but great to visit. The fact that coke traces are constantly found in the House’s of Parliament is another proof, of the hypocrisy of prohibitionists.

To Live Outside The Law Finding My Mojo by Simon McCoy on The Table Read
Finding My Mojo

The problem isn’t recreational drug use, it is prohibition. When I started in this business, no self-respecting villain would touch it. ‘Fucking hippies.’ Now they are all up to their balding pates in it, and they brought with them their amorality. My project was to prove you can live outside a bad law and still be honest. I believe I did that, and I want to share the fun.

What were your biggest challenges with writing Finding My Mojo?

 Self-confidence. I left school at 15 but gave up at thirteen. My two children have great educations of which I am immensely proud. Mine is minimal especially when it comes to grammar and the like.

What was your research process for Finding My Mojo?

Forty years of fucking the system, and occasionally experiencing it’s wrath.

How did you plan the structure of Finding My Mojo?

I didn’t. I was recommended Scrivener by one of my group. It’s a cliché to say the book wrote itself but it did. Half an hour into writing, the book takes on its own direction and momentum. I didn’t even know why I chose to start where I did until the end of the process. It is literally the moment I found my mojo. Up until then I had survived On wing and a prayer. 

Did you get support with editing, and how much editing did Finding My Mojo need?

And some, I had huge support from my publisher NFTworkx and I had two great editors after the draft was ready. Each helped me add depth and meaning as well as correcting my horrendous grammar. The writing group with a Master of Literature English, Philosophy teachers and guys with 80 plus books out there, all cleverer than me and educated up the wazoo,were huge guides. It’s been an almost vertical learning curve.

Grammarly Writing Support

What is the first piece of writing advice you would give to anyone inspired to write a book?

Writers are those who write,  many of us dream about it. I did a lot of that, and I can tell you like any sport it is much more fun on the field.

Can you give me a hint about any further books you’re planning to write?

Have I found my writing Mojo yet? You tell me, what I can tell you is ‘Finding Peace’ is way easier to write and ‘Being Found Out’ number three of the first trilogy is going to be a blockbuster.  ‘Finding Peace’ Will be with the editor at the end of September. Being found out by February.

That’s Bolivia first time. I went back 30 years later that’s another trilogy.

Then there is Brazil a couple of trilogies, Paraguay one trilogy, Argentina another, Chile another, Italy another, Switzerland a couple of separate books, and others that I won’t mention right now. I did a lot of smuggling. Writing is not easy, and I am no genius, so of course the books will get better and come out quicker in time, the stories are already in my head, but I will lean less hard on my editors.

And, finally, are your proud of your accomplishment? Was it worth the effort?

Oooooh I am so proud not of me, but of the book. It’s been a hugely cathartic experience bringing old friends and emotions back to life. I cried several times over the process but mostly I couldn’t wipe the grin off my face. Everyone who has read it has really had fun with it. It’s an extension of my last mission, ‘helping people have a good time.’

Pop all your book, website and social media links here so the readers can find you:


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