Two before 20, 18-year-old Edgeley woman has two books published
By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun
One young Edgeley, N.D., woman has already published two novels — by the age of 18.
Sonni Lagodinski completed “Forever and Always,” and most recently the sequel “Never Forget,” by loosely basing the stories on her own life.
“I think it was a way for me to write my feelings down on paper,” Lagodinski said, “and I always write in a journal, and I think it was time for me to write something for everyone to see.”
The story is about a young girl, Sara Young, who moves to North Dakota from California. After she and her father are hit by a drunken driver and the father dies. Years later the driver stalks Sara all the way to North Dakota. Sara also meets a young man and falls for him.
“I thought teenage girls would fall in love with it, but elderly women and men started liking it,” she said of her success. “There’s not even one set of people that like it — it’s so broad.”
The high school senior lost her father to cancer at a young age, and she credits writing with helping her cope.
“I’m an English teacher, and although I don’t feel as though I had that much influence on her, but I’ve seen — I known she’s always been a writer,” said her mother, Barb Barnick.
One day Lagodinski just had the urge to write a novel — at the age of 14. Two years later “Forever and Always” was complete. Two years after that the sequel “Never Forget” was published.
Lagodinski’s English teacher, Bev Weigel, helped with the editing and a few suggestions, but said the work was all Lagodinski’s.
“It just came out to be a story where there’s a lot of about her in there,” Weigel said.
While Weigel has had students become published before — it has never been for writing a novel.
“I would say that’s a first,” she said.
Lagodinski found a self-publisher online who took care of production. Now the books are doing well enough that job title novelist would qualify as her after-school employment — that’s when she’s not playing basketball or going for a run.
Her books are available online at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.
Writing looks to be a natural talent for Lagodinski, who will attend the University of Mary in the fall to pursue a career teaching English.
“I think I’m just in love with the characters and the setting I created,” she said.
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org