Heard from a couple of readers today. Both loved the book. One finished to discover it was 3 in the morning. The other, a trained martial artist, wondered how much research I put in to get the sword fighting right. The answer is, I made it up. My main inspiration was the 2003 movie, The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi. I recall, on the DVD extras, writer / director Takeshi Kitano said he wanted the sword fights to be realistic and be over within moments of starting. It made sense, so I brought that idea into Gladiator Girl.