2020 Debut Interview: Prerna Pickett!

In 2019, we made it our goal is to work with as many debut authors as possible and spread the word about their debut novels. It was such a success last year that we decided to continue the fun this year as well! Follow us this year as we pick the minds of the 2020 debuts and chat with them. Also stay tuned for news of giveaways, Twitter chats and more!
At the end of 2019, we Tweeted about wanting to discover more debut authors and their books. We ended up finding Prerna Pickett and her novel IF YOU ONLY KNEW, and we have been interested in it ever since. We are so excited to have Prerna on the blog today to answer some of our questions! 

Prerna Pickett

Prerna Pickett was born in India, grew up in Northern Virginia just outside of Washington DC, lived in Idaho for a while, then in paradise AKA Hawaii, before moving back to the mainland.

Keep up with Prerna: Website / Twitter / Goodreads

The Book Bratz: First of all, congratulations! How does it feel to be a debut author?
Prerna: It has been a whirlwind, for sure. Full of many highs and lows. I don’t think authors really know what to expect from debut year, but I do know that it happened really fast. I got a book deal two years ago and it felt like it took FOREVER to get to debut year, but then it arrived and I panicked! To be honest, I’m glad my book debuted earlier in the year, because I don’t think my anxiety could have handled waiting any longer.
The Book Bratz:  In your opinion, what's the best part of the writing process? What's the hardest?
Prerna: The best part is discovery of the world you’re creating. From the characters to the setting. Also, the kissing. I will do anything possible to fast forward to the kissing haha. The hardest part for me is knowing when to pull back. Sometimes I add too much detail, too much information that isn’t necessary to the story, because like I said about the discovery of writing, I’m learning those things for the first time, too.

The Book Bratz:  Where did you get the inspiration for IF YOU ONLY KNEW?
Prerna: I had a dream where this older man was holding down a boy, and a girl in the background was trying to pull them apart. I woke up and I HAD to know what was going on! Turned out there was  A LOT, thankfully. I have very vivid dreams and they inspire a lot of stories, but not all of them are novel worthy, so I make sure to write them all out. I'm so glad IYOK made it!

The Book Bratz: Who was your favorite character to write? Who was the most difficult?
Prerna: Oof, what a question! Both Corey and Tessa were my favorite, which is why they’re the main characters. Though, I will be honest, I love my side characters as much as my main characters, so I have to be careful not to spend too much time on them. Corey and Tessa were also the most difficult to write because I had to get them down perfectly. I had a playlist for both of them which  definitely helped me get into their heads, and also into the right space to write from their perspectives.

The Book Bratz: Gang violence and the way people find themselves sucked into gangs is a large part of this story -- what made you want to explore that topic?
Prerna: I didn’t know what I was getting into when I first started writing Corey’s story. His background, his circumstances, they’re more common than you think they are, so I wanted to make sure his story was authentic and that those kids felt seen, that's why decided to see it through. My intention is always to be honest and true to my characters and to tell their stories from their perspectives without bias and I hope that comes through in IYOK. I really adore Corey and I hope kids out there who are struggling with those issues can relate to him.

The Book Bratz: What do you hope that readers will take away from IF YOU ONLY KNEW?
Prerna: That redemption and hope are possible for everyone. That good people make bad decisions, but that doesn’t mean that they’re bad. And that your past doesn’t have to dictate your future.

The Book Bratz: Do you plan on returning to the world of IF YOU ONLY KNEW in the future, or do you have any other projects in mind? Can you tell us anything about them?
Prerna: As of right now there aren’t any plans to return to the IYOK world, BUT if I were to, I already have a story in mind. I will say that all of the books I write take place in the same universe so my characters could run into each other at any time and that’s pretty cool to think about. As far as what I’m working on right now, there are a few different projects. One story about a girl who restores homes with her dad, another with a MC trying to figure out who she is outside of her romantic relationship, and one about a reluctant princess! They’re all different, all dear to my heart, and I would be happy to share any of them with you all someday!


Title: If You Only Knew
Author: Prerna Pickett
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Publication Date: February 11th, 2020

Summary: Corey has just been released from jail, and all he wants is a new beginning. But when his former gang comes knocking, Corey agrees to vandalize the home of Kent Hopper, the prosecutor who put him away. To erase the guilt she carries from getting away with a crime, Tessa spends most of her nights riding her motorcycle. When she catches Corey destroying her father’s car, she doesn’t see a criminal: She sees a way to finally right her own wrongs. So instead of turning Corey over to the police, she convinces her father to give Corey a second chance. As Tessa and Corey spend more time with each other, it becomes difficult to ignore the pull between them. But they’re both keeping secrets, and when those secrets come to light, they’ll each have to face their demons in order to have a future together. 

Thank you so much to Prerna for stopping by and answering our questions! We are super excited about IF YOU ONLY KNEW (which Jessica is reading right now!), and it's currently out in the world for all of you to enjoy!

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