Does NC have more serial women poisoners than anywhere else? Getting to know NC true crime writer Cathy Pickens

Photo by Libby Dickinson courtesy of Cathy Pickens.

By Vanessa Infanzon

April 30, 2024

Charlotte’s Cathy Pickens is the NC author of the Blue Ridge Mountain Mysteries, a local true crime series. We had some burning questions for her.

Charlotte resident Cathy Pickens is the author of the Blue Ridge Mountain Mysteries, formerly the Southern Fried Series and Carolinas True Crime Stories. Her foray into true crime has led her to believe that North Carolina has more serial women poisoners than anywhere in the nation.

Pickens is a lifelong native of the Carolinas and has worked in education, law, and leadership development.

We spoke with Pickens by phone to ask her all of our burning questions.

Our chat with NC author Cathy Pickens

Good Info News Wire: Where do you write?

Pickens: I always had this fantasy about a cabin in the woods somewhere, but I write everywhere: the sofa, my living room, the desk in my study, the table upstairs in the guest bedroom. I can write on airplanes. I’ve written on ocean liners. You have to be able to write everywhere, at least I do.

GINW: Who reads your first draft?

Pickens: I have a group of friends. We started together about 25 to 30 years ago. And we grew up together as mystery writers. One in particular, a professor at UNC Charlotte, still reads my stuff first. One of my sisters, I have three, has quite a good developmental eye for a book.

Everyone needs an editor and everybody needs other eyes on what they do, just to catch things that don’t make sense, need to be flushed out or cut. I never send out anything that someone hasn’t read. I’m quite dependent on the kindness and genius of my friends.

GINW: Why do people enjoy true crime?

Pickens: By far, in true crime, women are the largest demographic (of consumers). It’s like 80% or 90%. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this: A lot of it has to do with the sense that we need to understand and recognize these people so we can protect ourselves and the people we love.

I think there’s also that tiny little seed of, do I have that in me? And we all do. We don’t acknowledge that part of this.

There’s a part of our brain, that is activated by the emotions and circumstances in fiction, as well as, in nonfiction that lights up just as if we were experiencing that emotion or situation in real life. Reading is rehearsal for life. I don’t get chased down a dark alley by a monster in real life, thank goodness. But I can activate the parts of my brain and my neuro system as if I were. So I’ll be ready for it.

Does NC have more serial women poisoners than anywhere else? Getting to know NC true crime writer Cathy Pickens

Photo courtesy of Cathy Pickens.

GINW: What’s something readers may not know about you?

Pickens: My other vocational option was as a church musician. I worked my way through college and law school as a church musician: organist and choir director.

Pickens will speak at a Book Buyers event in Charlotte on May 4 at 7:30 p.m.

This article first appeared on Good Info News Wire and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.Does NC have more serial women poisoners than anywhere else? Getting to know NC true crime writer Cathy PickensDoes NC have more serial women poisoners than anywhere else? Getting to know NC true crime writer Cathy Pickens

Author

  • Vanessa Infanzon

    Vanessa Infanzon moved from New York to NC for college and never left. When she’s not writing, she’s paddle boarding at the Whitewater Center.

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