On Friday, October 20, Jordan Frederick’s creative writing class received a visit from author Cheralyn Lambeth.
Lambeth is a nonfiction writer with three published titles to her name: Haunted Theaters of the Carolinas, The Well-Dressed Puppet, and Creating the Character Costume. “I read Haunted Theatres a few years ago, so when I was looking for a non-fiction author to speak to the class, she was one of the first to come to mind,” says Queen’s Grant High School English teacher Jordan Frederick, who became acquainted with Lambeth through Charlotte’s theatre and costuming community. “Plus, I thought that she would be an interesting speaker for our class with the Halloween holiday coming up.”
Lambeth’s background is both unique and diverse. She holds a BA in Dramatic Arts and Radio/Television/Motion Pictures from UNC Chapel Hill and also studied Professional Production at Juilliard. In addition to being a published author, Lambeth is also a costume designer, puppeteer, paranormal investigator and real-life Ghostbuster. She has worked on several movies shot here in the Carolinas like The Patriot, The Hunger Games, and Leatherheads. Currently she is the costume supervisor for Scarowinds.
The students prepared for Lambeth’s visit by reading selections from Haunted Theatres of the Carolinas as well as an interview with Lambeth. They also viewed Lambeth’s own blog and watched videos of her puppetry work. “We’re in the middle of a unit on fiction,” says Frederick, “but I decided to ask Cheralyn to come in October rather than during our non-fiction unit because Halloween seemed a fitting time for a paranormal investigator to visit.
Lambeth spoke to Frederick’s creative writing students about her own writing: what inspires her, as well as the process of writing and publishing a book, which she noted has changed a great deal in recent years with the advent of self-publishing avenues like Amazon’s CreateSpace. She also fielded many questions about paranormal investigation and her work with the local Ghostbusters. “The kids were very excited to meet a ‘real, live’ Ghostbuster,” says Frederick.
One of the highlights of the day was getting to see Lambeth’s “Ecto 0.5,” a Prius converted into a modern Ghostbuster car. The irony isn’t lost on Lambeth that the original Ghostbusters faced trouble with the EPA while the modern-day Ghostbusters drive a hybrid!
Lambeth is one in a series of guest speakers to visit Frederick’s class. “We have a guest speaker every month,” says Frederick. “Last month, Conley Lyons (published author and copywriter) spoke to the class about writing as a profession, and next month, Lieutenant Colonel Janine Garner will be coming to us via Skype to speak about writing YA.”
Lambeth encouraged Frederick’s aspiring writers to write what they know. “What I usually tell people is that if they’re interested in writing something, just sit down and write it,” says Lambeth. “It doesn’t have to be perfect. You can always change it later.”