Cheyenne author publishes second book in 'Blackwood' series as the fantasy genre reigns nationwide

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Nov. 18—It just so happens that local author Nichole Brommer was reading "Tower of Dawn" to pass the time on Thursday morning.

Brommer has read all of Sarah J. Maas's books before, but as an avid reader of the fantasy genre, she's revisiting the work of the best-selling author ahead of Maas's upcoming entry in her "Throne of Glass" series. Maas is most well known for "A Court of Thorns and Roses," but this book will allegedly connect the storyline from all three of her series.

It helps that Brommer is a diehard fan of the fantasy genre, because the things she learns from authors like Maas, Rebecca Yarros ("Fourth Wing"), Travis Baldree ("Legends and Lattes") and Christopher Paolini (Eragon), naturally influence her own creation — the "Blackwood" series.

"(Maas) is inspiring, because she writes in a way that I also want (to do)," Brommer said over coffee. "It's enjoyable to read, but it's also not tedious. It challenges the brain. I think she nails that balance — where you work a little bit to understand the intricacies that she's weaving in the fantasy world."

Though the copies are yet to be delivered, the second entry in the series, "The Ruins of Etheldred," was published on Monday after the series debut was released this past March.

It's a good time to be a fantasy author, and Brommer, who writes under the pen name N. Dominic, is feeling more confident with every sentence she writes.

"When I wrote the first book, I had not written anything creatively in a while," said Brommer, a graduate of the University of Wyoming English Department. "It felt almost like I was rusty, but I still like book one. I think it was great. I don't mean to trash talk it, but I do feel like I found (my voice) in book two."

Book two in the series picks up where the story left off, with the characters of Moira Fingles and her cohorts continuing their quest to rescue the missing king and return him to Ivywood Castle.

The original idea for "Blackwood" was to be a retelling of the "Robin Hood" story.

Where the first book played more heavily to those pre-established plot points, Brommer felt that she could finally take control of the characters she created with this entry and tell their own story, making for something more personal.

The series is intended to be a trilogy, with the third book being the ultimate conclusion of these characters' arc. With the third book, which she has already started working on, Brommer has set her sights on an entirely different endeavor than completing a self-published fantasy series.

"I'm hoping to get a traditional publisher with this one," Brommer said. "I don't know why I've made up this rule in my mind, but I wanted both (book one and two) to be published, along with a little bit of the new book to be written, so that then I can use all of that to entice a publisher."

Getting a publisher is as difficult, if not more so, as it has ever been. The benefit of having major representation is, of course, marketing and distribution, but the struggle to receive that representation requires the time, effort and fortitude to endure constant rejection in search of a suitor.

In reality, it might not be that much of a transition from her current editing process. With this second book, Brommer increased her "test group" of readers, receiving plenty of criticism as to what worked and what didn't.

"This round, I had a lot more test readers. I used that to help guide and make sure I was doing the things I wanted to be doing," she said. "They were people that gave important feedback.

"They helped me with character interactions, too, because early on I didn't know how to write a second book. So, it took a second, and then I did big rewrites with the first part. I think that made it better, stronger."

The process won't prevent her from finishing the third entry. Her readers, a group that has grown steadily since the first book, are the highest priority, and she certainly won't be the one to keep them waiting for the story's conclusion.

Brommer has never been one for public appearances or self-promotion, but she intends to visit with fans at both Blue Mountain Bookstore and Cheyenne's Bonsai Books in the coming months. Her books will be available for purchase at both locations, as well as 307 Made, located in downtown Cheyenne. Books are also available via Amazon and the Barnes & Noble online bookstore.

Next Saturday, she'll fight against her nature as an introvert in order to participate in the Laramie County Library's annual Local Author Celebration. The popular event allows residents to interact with and buy books from a gathering of Laramie County-based authors all in one location.

"The concept of standing at a table and being like, 'Oh my gosh, please come talk to me. Ask me about my book' — none of that sounds appealing," Brommer said. "I think it's important to be part of that community, even if they don't want to buy the book. To be able to talk with people and let them know I exist, that connection with other local authors, it will be pretty exciting."

Will Carpenter is the Wyoming Tribune Eagle's Arts and Entertainment/Features Reporter. He can be reached by email at or by phone at 307-633-3135. Follow him on Twitter @will_carp_.