S.A. Stovall on Writing, Characters, and her new release ‘Modern Gladiator (Modern Gladiator #1)’


Modern Gladiator (Modern Gladiator #1) by S.A. Stovall

Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Kanaxa:

Published March 26th 2019

Sales Links: Barnes&NobleDreamspinner Press | Amazon





Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host SA Stovall here today talking about her latest novel, Modern Gladiator.  Welcome!


Hello everyone! This is SA Stovall, author of the VICE CITY books, here to bring you my latest release, MODERN GLADIATOR! It’s a romance between a med school student, Corbin, and an up-and-coming UFC fighter, Keon. What I love about this novel is the enemies-to-lovers dynamic. Corbin thinks fighting is a waste of time, and hates that his sister is dating an MMA fighter. But he’s a doctor in his heart, and when Keon shows signs of having a serious injury, he’s determined to help—even if Keon struggles the entire way.

 Our Interview with SA Stovell…..

Who do you think is your major influence as a writer?  Now and growing up?

I think my biggest influence is other books and video games. The books answer is obvious—I enjoy reading. There are fun and exciting worlds to read about, and some books really blow my mind with the creativity.

And video games. I know this is an unconventional answer, but it’s true. Some video games have an amazing story. Mass Effect, one of my all-time favorites, had an amazing cast of characters living in a world sci-fi setting that I’ll never get over. When I see things like that, it just gets my imagination going. I can’t wait to tell my own stories.

How do you feel about the ebook format and where do you see it going?

I love ebooks and think they’re great. I love reading on my phone, and I think it’s the way of the future. Keeping a physical library is tough—have you ever tried to move to a new home with 300 books? Awful—but with a kindle or nook or any smart phone, you can have unlimited books. It’s fantastic.

What traits do you find the most interesting in someone? Do you write them into your characters?

I love intensity in any form. People who get passionate, people who struggle to control themselves (either for the good or the bad), and people who clash with others. And I write them all the time! In MODERN GLADIATOR, Keon is passionate about becoming a UFC fighter. He’s so passionate he gets a little intense—and he definitely clashes with the love interest, Corbin. (Though, spoiler alert, he does find a cute way to make up for his outburst).

What’s the wildest scene you’ve imagined and did it make it into a story?

The wildest scene I ever imagined involved a girl cutting out her own heart and replacing it with another. It did make it into the story—it was the climax and ultimately a metaphor. Really awesome, but not in MODERN GLADIATOR.

If you could imagine the best possible place for you to write, where would that be and why?

In a city. At night. Every store and restaurant is still open, but most people are asleep. I have my study where I write, and my video games are close, just in case I want to sneak in a game between writing chapters.

A fantasy, I know, but that would be my ideal.

With so much going on in the world today, do you write to explain?  To get away?  To move past?  To widen our knowledge?  Why do you write?

I write because it makes me happy, I have a passion for it, and I want to tell so many stories. Sometimes I “explain” how I feel about certain subjects through my stories, but those are incidental to the narrative. I definitely use reading as an escape, so maybe it’s also to get away. Less sure on that.

What’s next for you as a writer?

So much! The sequel to MODERN GLADIATOR, a fantasy novel called KNIGHTMARE ARCANIST, and the sequel to my sci-fi novel, STAR MARQUE RISING. I have lots and lots of books I just can’t stop writing!

About the Author

S.A. Stovall relies on her BA in History and Juris Doctorate to make her living as an author and history professor in the central valley of California. She writes in a wide range of fiction, from crime thrillers to fantasy to science-fiction. Stovall loves reading, playing video games, entertaining others with stories, and writing about herself in the third person.

Website: https://sastovallauthor.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/gameoverstation

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SAStovall/



A prim and proper aspiring doctor and a destitute martial artist—both with hurts to comfort. Each with just the cure the other needs.

Corbin Friel hates mindless sports, especially fighting and boxing. As a medical student, he wants to help others, not watch them beat each other senseless. But his sister, Lala, can’t get enough of rough-and-tumble sporting events, and she drags her brother along whenever she can.

Keon Lynch doesn’t have much going for him. He’s broke, he lives alone in a new state, and he’s estranged from his family. But at least he has his dream—becoming a professional UFC fighter. Keon trains every day, and if he can just score a few more wins, he’ll get his ticket into the ranks of professional competitors.

But an unexplained pain jeopardizes Keon’s dream. During a backstage meet-and-greet, Corbin recognizes the telltale signs of a bone infection, which could cost Keon his leg. Unable to ignore Keon’s situation, Corbin begrudgingly decides to help. And while he gets to know Keon, finding him more desirable with each interaction, Corbin’s ex-boyfriend isn’t pleased with the development….

And he’s determined to keep Corbin for himself, no matter what.




A Caryn Release Day Review: Modern Gladiator (Modern Gladiator #1) by S.A. Stovall


Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

If you are a fan of Dr. Spencer Reid of the TV show Criminal Minds, you will love Corbin Friel, one of the MCs of this book. He’s got the same inability to speak normally, and the same need to tell people esoteric trivia. I’m not much of a fan, and it’s one of the reasons I wasn’t able to get into this book.

Corbin was a medical student who had only ever wanted to follow in his parent’s footsteps and be a doctor. His beloved sister Malala had osteogenesis imperfecta, or “brittle bone disease”, and Corbin was more than a little overprotective of her because the disease made her incredibly fragile. Perhaps because she had to be so careful in her own life, Lala loved violent sports, and pressured Corbin in to going to an MMA fight. It was everything Corbin abhorred – dirty, bloody, violent, loud, low-class, and that was just the audience. Lala goaded him into a pathetic attempt at trash talking her favorite fighter’s opponent, and that was how Keon first noticed Corbin. When Lala won backstage passes to see Derek, Keon was there too, enjoying how uncomfortable Corbin clearly was. Lala and Derek started dating, and Corbin got drawn unwillingly into the amateur fighting world. Corbin was very attracted to Keon’s body – and who wouldn’t be? Those fighters are ripped! – which turned out to be good for Keon because Corbin noticed minor symptom that he cleverly diagnosed correctly and treated, allowing Keon to continue in his quest to be a professional UFC fighter.

The bone infection might have been what brought Keon and Corbin together, but their passions for their chosen careers – and their mutual admiration of that passion – was what deepened their connection. Having that kind of passion is rare in the first place, so I was very pleased that both men recognized what a precious commodity it was, and chose to support each other for it, despite their initial reservations. I liked Keon from the very beginning, but it took seeing Corbin come down from his high horse and support Keon even though he personally didn’t agree with fighting before I liked him.

I can’t speak for the details of UFC fighting, but those seemed to be fairly well researched to me. Of course, I know literally nothing about it (other than those fighters are ripped!) so I am not hard to impress on that front. Medical details however…. well, let me just say that my medical colleagues and I got a few laughs out of it. Did I subtract stars for that? Oh yes I did. A few minor mistakes I can handle, but there were A LOT. I am sure that I am significantly more critical than the average reader in this area, so others might not be bothered like I was. More than the medical details, however, I was bothered by the stupidity of the villains and their evil plot to take Keon down. And Corbin’s stupidity in not even noticing what was happening WAY before he cottoned on, and his gullibility in almost letting the bad guys get away with it. That part of the plot was a little too scooby doo for me. And finally, the book is written in present tense, which just irritates me. Again, a personal pet peeve that others may not mind.

Cover art by Kanaxa – buff naked torso with chains – definitely fits with the fighting theme.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 1st edition, 250 pages
Published March 26th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN13 9781644051399
Edition Language English