CCAA Writing Mentors

Participation in the Author Academy includes 75 hours of direct mentoring with a published author. Below you will find a list of some of the authors available for mentoring as part of the Carnegie Center Author Academy.

Please note: If you are interested in the hourly Writing Mentor Service–not associated with CCAA–find available mentors here.)

Sarah Combs
is the author of the young adult novels Breakfast Served Anytime and The Light Fantastic, both published by Candlewick Press. She mentors Author Academy writers of contemporary/realistic/literary fiction for teens and adults. For more information about Sarah and her books, visit her website.



Michael L. Cooper has published 16 middle-grade and young adult books, both biography and social history, with major publishers such as Viking and National Geographic. He has taught nonfiction and fiction at the Institute for Writers in Madison, Connecticut for 20 years. For the Carnegie Center, Michael mentors fiction and nonfiction writers. Learn more about Michael by visiting his website.



Randi Ewing has published short stories in American Short Fiction, Joyland and Little Star, and taught fiction at the Carnegie Center, Washington University in St. Louis, and Eastern Kentucky University. She mentors Author Academy writers interested in writing short or long form fiction. You can find one of her stories and an interview about her writing process here.

James B. Goode is the author of eight books including poetry, fiction, essays, photography, trade books, and anthologies and has published in a variety of national and international literary magazines that have featured his fiction, poetry, and essays. Goode holds a MFA in Creative Writing: Fiction and has three years of experience in the Authors Academy where he has mentored three Academy students through development of their novels. For more information on James, visit his Author Spotlight, or his Amazon author page.


Leslie Guttman is a former award-winning journalist for the San Francisco Chronicle and author of the best-selling nonfiction book Equine ER (Eclipse Press). She has freelanced for places like the New York Times and the Washington Post and is currently a Senior Scribe at Book in a Box, an Austin-based startup. She mentors in nonfiction. For more about Leslie, check out her LinkedIn profile and website.



Mary Knight is the author of Saving Wonder, a middle grade novel published by Scholastic and winner of the 2017 Green Earth Book Award. With an MFA in Creative Writing from Spalding University, Mary has mentored writers in both young adult and adult fiction, and is also willing to work with writers of creative nonfiction or memoir. For more information about Mary, you are invited to visit her website or contact her directly through the website’s comment section.


Will Lavender is the New York Times bestselling author of Obedience (Shaye Areheart Books/Crown) and Dominance (Simon & Schuster). A former college writing instructor, he currently works as a technical writer for the Kentucky State Legislature. He lives in Louisville, Kentucky, with his wife and two children, and is at work on his third thriller. 


Karen Leet has sold hundreds of stories and articles as well as several books including co-authoring Civil War Lexington, Kentucky: Breeding Ground of Power (The History Press) and a historical novel for middle grade Sarah’s Courage: A Kentucky Frontier Kidnapping (THP). She mentors writers of children’s and religious/inspirational material. See her Facebook pages for her books.

Lynn Pruett has published the novel Ruby River (Grove/Atlantic Press) and numerous essays and short stories. She mentors novelists, fiction writers, and essayists in the Author Academy and teaches in the MFA program at Murray State University. For more information see her Facebook page or faculty bio for Murray State’s MFA in Creative Writing program.

Sharon Mauldin Reynolds is the author of a short fiction collection, Walking Air (Pen-L Publishing) and numerous short stories appearing in literary journals. She mentors Author Academy writers in the craft of short stories, novels, and creative non-fiction. For more information about Sharon, visit her website.

Jason Sizemore is a three-time Hugo Award-nominated editor, writer, and publisher who operates the science fiction, fantasy, and horror press Apex Book Company. He is the author of the collection of dark science fiction and horror shorts Irredeemable and the tell-all creative non-fiction For Exposure: The Life and Times of a Small Press Publisher.

Katerina Stoykova is the author of award-winning poetry books in Bulgarian and English. Senior Editor of Accents Publishing, she is the editor and publisher of over 50 poetry books and several anthologies. Katerina mentors writing and editing poems, as well as collecting them into poetry books.

Patsi B. Trollinger has published a nonfiction picture book, Perfect Timing (a Junior Library Guild selection), a mid-grade novel, Thrill in the ‘Ville, and numerous magazine articles. She mentors Author Academy writers of picture books, mid-grade fiction, and nonfiction for young readers of all ages. For more information about Patsi and her books, visit her website.



Jeff Worley has published six books of poetry, three chapbooks, and was editor of the anthology What Comes Down to Us: 25 Contemporary Kentucky Poets (University Press of Kentucky). He teaches classes in poetry writing at the Carnegie Center and mentors Author Academy writers of poetry. For more information about Jeff, his background and published books, visit his website.



If you are a published author and are interested in becoming a CCAA Writing Mentor, please contact Marcia Jones at