"The conversations [we had] were really raw and emotional and vulnerable," Schwarzenegger Pratt tells PEOPLE of interviewing 22 people for her new book
Set for release on March 10, the New York Times best-selling author’s latest project has been “life-changing,” says Schwarzenegger Pratt, 30, who interviewed 22 subjects — including Elizabeth Smart, Scarlett Lewis, Sue Klebold, Tanya Brown and more — for the book.
Because the interviews were focused around the most difficult and personal experiences her subjects have overcome and their journeys to finding peace and healing, Schwarzenegger Pratt says she gave everyone she spoke to a chance to read their sections before they were published.
“The conversations [we had] were really raw and emotional and vulnerable. I wanted to handle that with grace and awareness, and be really mindful of their heartache,” she says. “Everybody read their sections and gave them the seal of approval.”
For all the details on Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt’s new book and her plans for the future, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.
The animal advocate says she found herself in tears multiple times throughout the interviewing, writing and editing process because of the heavy subject matter.
“I had plenty of times where I just started crying because I just so wanted to do right by all of them. I was just really grateful that they even were willing to talk to me as a complete stranger,” she says. “I didn’t really expect having people be really excited about how I wrote about their life experiences. It was a really special thing.”
Not surprisingly, Schwarzenegger Pratt says she often picked her mom Maria Shriver’s brain while working on the book. Her husband, Chris Pratt, was also one of a handful of loved ones who she shared excerpts with before it was finished.
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“My mom was heavily involved. She’ll always find something to correct or edit, and I loved having her thoughts on all of that,” she says. “I don’t like to send people parts of the book as I’m writing. I like it to be a final product and make sure it’s perfect, so the only people who read the book [before it was done] were my husband and mom. They were both really impressed by it and also just really excited for me because they know how passionate I am about this book and this topic.”
Schwarzenegger Pratt will kick off her book tour this weekend, and the star says she can’t wait to connect with readers.
“I want to travel as much as I can when it comes to this book to be able to talk to as many people as possible about forgiveness,” she says. “Forgiveness was something I was experiencing in my own life that I wanted to get more information on for myself and also be able to share with other people. My hope is that this book will inspire others to practice forgiveness in their own lives.”