With one book finished and ideas for dozens more bouncing around his head, Cranston resident Sebastian Cole has found his passion. He calls his debut novel, “Sand Dollar: A Story of Undying Love,” an “incredible love story.”
“Sand Dollar” follows Noah, a wealthy, self-absorbed Rhode Islander whose life takes on new meaning after meeting the love of his life, Robin. When Robin leaves Noah, his world is torn apart, his life now overshadowed by “the one that got away” – a feeling that Cole believes many readers have experienced firsthand.
“I think I really honed in on a topic that everyone can relate to. There’s a special place in your heart for somebody who’s no longer with you,” he said.
The story ultimately comes into focus when two timelines collide: one that follows Robin and Noah’s love, and another that follows the aging Noah as he reflects on his life of love and loss.
“Eventually, the two timelines intersect and there’s a huge plot twist that nobody expects,” Cole said. “The ending is exactly how you would want a love story to end.”
Cole will discuss “Sand Dollar” and be available to sign copies at the William Hall Library on Thursday, Nov. 29 at 7 p.m.
At his first book signing at the Big E, Cole brought only 160 books, unsure of how well he would fare as a first-time author with no name recognition. He sold out before the first day was over, and with positive reviews coming in, he felt validated.
“That was the first time I knew I could sell my book,” he said.
Some of his early readers have compared Cole to best-selling author Nicholas Sparks, which he says has been a humbling experience.
An economics graduate of Brown University, the 48-year-old Cole has tried his hand at several careers. He worked in corporate America for quite some time, but wasn’t happy. Real estate stuck for a while, until the housing market crashed. He tried acting, but came up empty.
When the idea for “Sand Dollar” hit him, Cole was ready for a new challenge.
“The way this started was I came up with the idea for a screenplay and I wrote a treatment for it. I kind of backed into this,” he said.
Cole has always enjoyed writing, but it was the story that inspired him to take it to the next level.
“I knew the story was amazing, but having never written a book before, I don’t have any benchmarks to go by. I didn’t know if I could just write a book and have the voice be good and have the style be good,” he said.
He figured it was time to find out.
Cole wrote daily, from morning straight through dinnertime, and had the first draft finished in just five months. It took another year and a half of “endless” rewrites to edit the novel, at which time Cole’s editor assured him it was ready to publish. Now, he’s on the road, promoting the book that he self-published in May, buoyed by the news of being named a finalist in the ForeWord First literary competition.
“I honestly feel that people anywhere could benefit from reading my book. I want people to read my story,” he said.
Rhode Islanders will recognize many of the landmarks featured in the story, from Del’s to Jamestown and the East Providence lighthouse. Like Cole, the character of Noah is a sailor, and the author’s love for Narragansett Bay is felt throughout the story.
While the novel is fiction, Cole says the experiences of his characters ring true to life.
“It’s not a fairytale romance where everything is perfect between the hero and the heroine. In real life, the people we love the most are the ones who can hurt us the most. Things don’t go according to plan in real life,” he said.
“Sand Dollar: A Story of Undying Love” is available on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble online for $9.99, and is available for 99 cents as an eBook. It will soon be available in Cranston libraries, and will be for sale on the evening of Nov. 29. Cole will have another signing at Symposium Books in East Greenwich on Thursday, Dec. 6 at 6 p.m. For more information, visit SebastianColeAuthor.com.