Changes to Their Discovery

If you aren’t a reviewer and haven’t read an advanced reader copy of Their Discovery yet, this is not a spoiler post. But it’s been brought to my attention that my portrayal of Samantha Archer’s journey with weight loss had problematic language. I’m grateful to reviewers for bringing this to my attention, however, I tried to make Sam realistic according to my personal experience, because Sam’s journey is also mine.

The first is a photo of me at my heaviest weight, the second more recent. Growing up, I had a terrible relationship with food. I never learned how to be healthy, when it came to diet or exercise. I also come from a family of people battling the same issues; my grandparents were some of the original Weight Watchers members in the 1960s, my mother was 150 pounds heavier than was medically recommended at 5’2” and my uncle passed away from complications due to his at-one-time 400 pound weight. By my early twenties, I was being told by my doctors that I was obese, that I was looking at a future of sleep apnea, heart disease, high-blood pressure and diabetes.

It took years for me to figure out how to live a healthy life. But I did, and while Sam’s weight gain comes from pregnancy (disclaimer: the baby in the picture is not mine), I tried to write my experience into her. I used certain language because I saw Sam as a very cut and dry person, and felt that was how she’d discuss the subject. I wanted to show a character who’d didn’t feel comfortable with herself, the same way I was. The same way my mother was, before she embarked on the same journey I did and shed half her body weight at age 65. It was my intention to celebrate this. It was never my intention to impart judgement on anyone else.

I realize however that weight is a sensitive topic, and my words triggered responses I hadn’t anticipated. This is a legitimate issue, one I take seriously, and because of this I have made some changes to the text. Key scenes have slightly different language in both the ebook and print versions. Unfortunately, the audio book has already been recorded and is beyond my control. For that reason, I will be offering screen shots of the changed scenes for readers who listen on audio.

While I have revamped portions of the text, I have still kept Sam and Brady true to how I see them. All my characters are active in some way because it’s an important part of my life. Even after losing weight, I still struggle. I continue to find frustration with the scale. It’s a constant battle, which means I’m watching what I eat and going to the gym on a regular basis. But that is only my personal experience, and it was not my intent to sound as if I were imposing that on anyone else.

I believe Sam is a character worth reading, as is her love story with Brady, and feel Their Discovery is now a much better book because of the early feedback I received. To those of you who were hurt by words: I hope knowing that I have grappled with these issues will change your initial impressions of the book. If not, I apologize, and thank you for your honesty.

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