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.

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

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

Sylvia Ahrens has published several collections of poetry under the name Allison Thorpe, including Thoughts While Swinging a Wild Child in a Green Mesh Hammock (Janze Publications), Swooning and Other Art Forms (a National Federation of State Poetry Societies chapbook winner), What She Sees (White Knuckle Press), Dorothy’s Glasses (Finishing Line Press), and The Shepherds of Tenth Avenue (Finishing Line Press). She mentors poetry and women’s writing.  Her website can be found here.

Barbara Alfaro is the author of the play Dos Madres and the author of Theatre Mad, a collection of short comedies Catbird, a book of poems, and Mirror Talk, a memoir about working in theatre which won the IndieReader Discovery Award for Best Memoir. She mentors writers of memoir, poetry, and playwriting. For more information about Barbara, visit her website.


Ashley Blooms is the author of Every Bone a Prayer, which NPR says “bears within its pages striking beauty and strangeness in equal measure.” She’s a graduate of the Clarion Writer’s Workshop and received her MFA as a John and Renee Grisham Fellow from the University of Mississippi. Her fiction has appeared in The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror, Fantasy & Science Fiction, and Strange Horizons, among others. Her nonfiction has appeared in the Oxford American. To learn more, you can visit her website.

Gwenda Bond is the author of eleven novels, two serials, and a graphic novel, among them the Lois Lane and Cirque American young adult series and, with her husband Christopher Rowe, the Supernormal Sleuthing Service series for middle-grade readers. Netflix and Penguin Books recently selected her to pen the first Stranger Things novel for adults. For the Carnegie Center, Gwenda mentors fiction across all genres (except historical), with specialties in young adult, mystery, and fantasy. For more information about Gwenda, visit her website.

Erin Chandler is the author of a memoir, June Bug Versus Hurricane and Cinderella Sweeping Up, a book of essays first published in the Woodford Sun. An award-winning filmmaker, she produced and starred in Leslie Jordan's Lost in the Pershing Point Hotel. Erin mentors students in memoir, screenwriting, and playwriting. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from Spalding University and a Masters in theatre from the University of Kentucky. She is the founder and editor in chief of Rabbit House Press. Find her books and more information at

Susan Christerson Brown has published essays and memoiristic nonfiction in various journals and anthologies, and earned her MFA in Writing from Spalding University. She mentors writers of memoir, essay, and other nonfiction forms, and enjoys encouraging new writers in finding the heart of their work. To learn more about Susan, visit her website.

Laurie Calkhoven is the author of more than 50 books for young readers ranging from beginning readers to YA. In addition to her own novels in the Boys of Wartime and Roosevelt Banks series, she has authored six novels for American Girl, worked as a ghostwriter for people more famous than herself, and penned many books of nonfiction. Laurie often leads meditations for writers and illustrators to help them uncover aspects of their characters and their stories. She is a frequent workshop leader at the Highlights Foundation and at regional SCBWI conferences. Laurie is available for mentoring in all aspects of children’s writing and revising.

Teri Carter writes about politics and women’s rights for the Lexington Herald-Leader and The Washington Post, and she is working on a memoir about step-parenting. She mentors Author Academy writers on the art of personal essays, newspaper opinion, and developing essay collections. For more information about Teri and her work, visit her website.

Whitney Collins is the author of the short story collection Big Bad. She is the recipient of the 2019 Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction, a 2020 Pushcart Prize, the 2020 American Short(er) Ficton Prize, and winner of the 2021 Grist ProForma Contest. Her work has appeared in AGNISlice, Gulf Coast, and American Short Fiction, among other publications. She specializes in short stories, that have a literary or magic realism bent. To learn more about Whitney, visit her website.

 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.

Elizabeth Kilcoyne is the author of the forthcoming young adult horror novel Wake the Bones, which will be published by Wednesday Books in summer of 2022. An alumna of the Author Academy in 2017, Elizabeth mentors young adult fiction writers at the CCAA with a focus in fantasy and horror. For more information about Elizabeth and her books, visit (


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, memoir, or personal essay. 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.

Claudia Love Mair is the author of about a dozen books, including The Amanda Bell Brown Mysteries and Don't You Fall Now, a memoir. She has an MFA in Writing at Spalding University, and she teaches writing at Carnegie and elsewhere. She serves as the coordinator of the Kentucky Black Writers Collaborative at the Carnegie Center.


Jeremy Paden has published two full-length books of poems, three chapbooks, an illustrated children's book, and two full-length collections of translations. He mentors students in the Author Academy in poetry, creative nonfiction, and illustrated children's books. For more information about Jeremy, see his website.


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.

Christopher Rowe is the author of two short fiction collections—Bittersweet Creek and Telling the Map—and three novels—Sandstorm, The Lost Legacy, and The Sphinx’s Secret, the last two co-written with his wife, Gwenda Bond. He has been a finalist for the Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy, and Theodore Sturgeon awards, and his fiction has been reprinted and translated around the world. For the Carnegie Center, Christopher mentors short and long fiction, with special expertise in science fiction and fantasy. For more information about Christopher, visit his 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 Irredeemableand 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.

Richard Taylor, a former Kentucky poet laureate, has published numerous collections of poetry, two novels, as well as several non-fiction books relating to Kentucky history, including Thomas Clark Medallion winner, Elkhorn: Evolution of a Kentucky Landmark (2019) He mentors writers of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction 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, four 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.

We hope to see you soon at the Carnegie Center, home to the Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame and writers and readers of all levels.

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(859) 254-4175

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