Wisconsin writer Melissa Westemeier published her latest novel this February, now available on Kindle and in paperback.
Kicks Like a Girl was inspired by Melissa’s experiences as a karate student. Now a 2nd degree black belt, she recalled her first time stepping onto the mat and how she struggled to keep up with advanced students while mastering the basics of martial arts.
“It was tough and scary, not unlike taking gym class as a new kid when the popular kids pick teams. You feel like a failure at first when you’re the last kid picked, and then you grit your teeth and determine that you will become a success at dodge ball or floor hockey—not unlike my experiences with writing when I think about it.”
The heroine of Kicks Like a Girl, Gretchen Benton, takes up karate to learn self-defense after she’s assaulted by thugs robbing her flower shop. “I wanted to write a mystery, like a whodunit, but it morphed into a book about a woman becoming empowered. The physical strength she gets from karate mirrors the mental strength she acquires and you see that at play throughout different parts of her life.”
Readers report enjoying the book, and feeling inspired to try martial arts themselves, which is exactly what Westemeier intended. “I love karate and I wanted to share my enthusiasm for it. I want readers, especially women, to walk away from this book wanting to try martial arts and feel the thrill of punching and kicking something really hard.”
Those who have read Westemeier’s first book, Whipped, Not Beaten, will appreciate the humor in Kicks Like a Girl, too. The witty banter between the characters, the Bridezillas Gretchen encounters as a florist, and the range of karate students will keep you entertained until the very last page.
Kicks Like a Girl is available online.
Melissa Westemeier’s pboished work includes Whipped, Not Beaten, and Writing in a Changing World. A former high school English teacher-turned SAHM, Melissa blogs about environmental issues, and her adventures raising 3 boys and a ton of fresh produce on her family’s 60-acre homestead in Northeastern Wisconsin. Her current projects included a trilogy about a river town in Wisconsin, earning her 3rd degree black belt in karate and figuring out what to make for dinner tonight.