My debut novel, Sand Dollar: A Story of Undying Love, reflects over forty years of personal life experiences. Born and raised in New England, I joined my family’s business after graduating from Brown University in the 80s. An avid boater, I love the ocean and all things aesthetically beautiful in nature. A true romantic, my life is defined by following my heart and pursuing my dreams, which is why I have become a novelist. I write from the heart, believing in true love, love at first sight, and finding the one person in life you’re meant to be with.
Noah Hartman, eighty years old, lies sick in a hospital bed recounting his life of love and loss to Josh, in his sixties, a wise and compassionate orderly who stopped in to bring him dinner. As Noah’s loved ones arrive one by one to see him, they listen in on his story, and we’re transported back in time to Noah’s younger years.
Though outwardly seeming to have it all, Noah, now thirty-five, is actually an empty, lost, and broken man running on automatic pilot. He has no true identity due to having allowed his powerful, wealthy parents to manipulate, control, and brainwash him from a young age. With the threat of disinheritance and withholding love and approval if he doesn’t comply with the plan they have for his life, Noah is lured in by the reward of great wealth and the illusion of running the family business empire some day. In truth, however, Noah is like a regular, everyday guy living a life that was not meant for him.
Enter Robin, twenty-five years old, who -- in direct contrast to Noah -- is a vivacious, free spirit. Full of life and always living in the moment, Robin’s love saves Noah by inspiring him to stand up to his parents and live his own life at all costs, reclaiming his true self.
They get married, and while snorkeling on their honeymoon, the captain of the boat warns them not to disturb anything in the sea. Ignoring the exhortation, Noah dives down and snags a sand dollar from the ocean floor, whereupon it explodes in his hand. With the fragile sand dollar taking on new significance, Robin inexplicably leaves Noah shortly after returning from their honeymoon. Like a passing breeze, she disappears out of his life without a trace, seemingly forever.
Seven years pass, and Noah still can’t get her out of his mind and out of his heart. After all, she’d always be the one who got away, the one he loved the most. That’s when he finds out about her hidden secret, an underlying condition responsible for her leaving. Noah has no choice but to move on with his life without her, meeting Sarah and pursuing a relationship with her.
Years later, it’s Noah and Sarah’s wedding day, and Robin discovers a clue that Noah had surreptitiously sent her, inspiring her to race to the wedding to try to stop it. With the wedding in shambles, the scene jumps back to present day, with both Robin and Sarah placed in Noah’s hospital room. But which one did he choose?
Things are definitely not as they appear as Noah discovers a far greater truth about his past, present, and future. As Noah finishes telling his story, we are brought up to present day, where the pieces of a shattered love are put back together in the remarkable final chapter of his life.