Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt has a project very close to her heart coming out in the new year.
The New York Times-bestselling author is set to release her fourth book, The Gift of Forgiveness: Inspiring Stories from Those Who Have Overcome the Unforgivable, on March 10, PEOPLE confirms exclusively.
“I found that when you’re little, you learn about forgiveness on the playground. But as you get older, it becomes very different and more complex,” she says. “For me, personally struggling with forgiveness throughout various stages of my life and really trying to find books that would be able to speak to me in a way that I could relate to, I couldn’t find that.”
So Schwarzenegger Pratt, 29, interviewed more than 20 people from “all walks of life” to gain a deeper understanding of forgiveness to share with her readers.
“About a year-and-a-half ago, I was at church listening to a sermon from my pastor who was talking a lot about forgiveness. It triggered me to write the proposal for this book and want to be able to craft it in a way that it wasn’t just talking about me and my journey with forgiveness,” she says about her inspiration for the concept.
For the book, Schwarzenegger Pratt sat down with child safety activist Elizabeth Smart, Sue Klebold, whose son was one of the Columbine High School shooters, Chris Williams, who forgave the drunken teenager who killed his wife and child, Scarlett Lewis, whose young son was killed at Sandy Hook Elementary, and many more.
“When I was coming up with a list of people for this book, I made mental notes or notes in my phone about different people’s stories that I’ve heard. I wanted it to be a collection of all genders, all ages, all religions,” she says. “It’s a good collection of people who have experienced very different moments in their lives. Some were able to forgive immediately, and others have taken weeks or months or years. Others are still struggling with forgiveness. I think that embodies how complex the topic really is.”
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“I talked to my mom about everything. She’s an incredibly talented journalist and naturally just talks to people with such ease and grace,” she says.
After each interview, “I would be so moved and also just feel so grateful that I was able to talk to them,” she adds. “I’d go home and talk to my mom or my husband [Chris Pratt] or my sister, my brothers or my dad [Arnold Schwarzenegger]. Everyone that’s close in my life knows a lot about this book!”
At the end of the day, Schwarzenegger Pratt’s hope is that those who read her latest work will walk away with a newfound perspective on forgiveness — one she found herself as she wrote her book.
“The majority of the people in this book really have been able to go through these challenging times and look at forgiveness as a gift that they give other people, but also give themselves,” she says. “For me, that was the real change in the mentality of how I view forgiveness. It’s really a gift that you give. yourself. At the end of the day, living a life from a place of freedom instead of a place of anger, resentment, frustration or pain is incredible.”