Ten Terrifying Questions with Meg Caddy!

by |May 24, 2022
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Meg Caddy is a part-time bookseller and a full-time nerd. Their fantasy novel Waer was shortlisted for the 2013 Text Prize and the 2017 CBCA Book of the Year Award, and their historical fiction Devil’s Ballast was shortlisted for the 2020 Readings YA Book Prize. They are currently undertaking a PhD in queer fiction.

Today, to celebrate the recent release of their YA pirate adventure novel Slipping the Noose, Meg Caddy is on the blog to take on our Ten Terrifying Questions!

Meg Caddy

Meg Caddy (Photo by J. Wyld)/

1. To begin with, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

I was born in England, in a tiny town called Devizes. For the first two years of my life we were in an even smaller village called Wedhampton, and then we came back over to Australia. I bounce back to England whenever I can, but for the most part I was raised here in Perth.

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

Unfortunately this is going to be a very dull answer, because I wanted the same thing at 12, 18, and 30: to be a writer. I always knew I had to have another source of income, so for a while I considered musical theatre or speech pathology, but the focus was always writing.

3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you don’t have now?

I suppose the most obvious one is about gender identity. As an eighteen-year-old I’d never heard the word nonbinary. My ideas of gender were fixed and rather traditional. I didn’t know exactly what I was, just that I never felt comfortable in my skin. I believed it was me that didn’t fit. It’s a relief, now, to have other ways to frame things.

4. What are three works of art – this could be a book, painting, piece of music, film, etc – that influenced your development as a writer?

Mary Gentle’s Ash: A Secret History blew my mind right open. It was bold and strange and historical and I’ve read it more times than I can count.

T.S Eliot’s ‘Marina’ holds a special place in my heart. It’s a quiet, tender, ship-wrought poem that I come back to whenever I need some grounding.

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton is another historical work that influenced me. I love the merging of modern musical styles with historical narratives, the effort to bring history to modern audiences in a way that feels relevant and urgent. Whenever I’m writing a pirate battle, you can bet I’m cranking Hamilton.

5. Considering the many artistic forms out there, what appeals to you about writing a young adult novel?

I like the YA novel because it always gives big feelings and complex situations – and I feel they’re distilled, not diluted, by the fact that they are written for teens. The YA novel forces us to reckon with what’s most important to us, what we wish to gift to young people. There’s also very little to hide behind. I always feel vulnerable writing YA, and I think that’s a good thing.

‘The YA novel forces us to reckon with what’s most important to us, what we wish to gift to young people. There’s also very little to hide behind.’

6. Please tell us about your latest book!

Gladly! Slipping the Noose is a YA historical fiction novel about the pirate Anne Bonny. Anne was a real pirate who sailed in the 18th century, and she is the central figure of one of my other novels, Devil’s Ballast.

Historically, no one really knows what happened to Anne Bonny: the last we know for sure, she gave birth in a Jamaican prison. In Slipping the Noose, we pick up where history left off. Anne has lost her crew and her ship, and all she has is a baby girl named Molly. When Anne is sent to England, even Molly is taken away from her, and Bonny soon finds herself swept up with pamphleteer politics, corrupt lawmen, and a side of London that history has tried to hide.

It’s a book about queer platonic friendships, adventures and heists, resilience, and found family.

7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?

Slipping the Noose is an adventure novel, so first and foremost I hope people take away a good fun read. But I also wrote this book because there are some parts of Anne’s story that history got wrong. There are people who shouldn’t have died. There are adventures that were cut short too soon. Bonny and Read have been left behind by history and it pisses me off. I hope that Slipping the Noose can do something to keep them alive.

8. Who do you most admire in the writing world and why?

Librarians and teachers! My God they move mountains. You won’t find a more organised, motivated, committed group of people on earth. And they create these precious pockets of safety and inspiration for young writers and readers, which genuinely save lives.

9. Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?

This question feels like a trap, mostly because last time I was asked something similar I said “I want to have three books out by the time I turn thirty!” like a complete elbow, and then spent three years panicking about actually meeting that goal. I managed it, but it might have saved me a few sleepless nights if I’d just kept my big mouth shut.

I’m currently seven months pregnant and working on my PhD (which will hopefully lead to another novel) so there are goals and milestones flying every which-way at the moment. I’m trying to be flexible about them!

10. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Find your writing community. Writing is often framed as a solitary profession, but it doesn’t have to be a lonely one. Meet other writers, talk to them, help them where you can.

Thank you for playing!

Slipping the Noose by Meg Caddy (Text Publishing) is out now.

Slipping the Nooseby Meg Caddy

Slipping the Noose

by Meg Caddy

Anne Bonny is chained up in the hold of a prison ship, nursing nine-month-old Molly. The baby is all she has left of Calico Jack, the swaggering pirate captain who loved her and stole her away to sea-and who now hangs from a gibbet. When armed men rip the child from her grasp, Bonny can do nothing and Molly seems lost.

But Anne Bonny was not cut out for despair. She will plan for escape and rescue, and the plan will become action. And the streets of London will belong to her and her daughter-and the ragtag remnants of Calico Jack's crew...

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