In Memoriam – Lani Forbes
Young adult author Lani Forbes, whose critically acclaimed Age of the Seventh Sun series won multiple Realm Awards, died on February 3, 2022, in Boise, Idaho, after a nine-month battle with neuroendocrine cancer. She was 35.
Lani Forbes was the daughter of a librarian and a surfer, which explained her passionate love of the ocean and books. Forbes was born May 6, 1987, in Huntington Beach, California. She grew up in California, and attended high school at Huntington Beach High School. In 2009, Forbes received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Hope International University. She then received her teaching credentials from Cal State University. After 10 years of teaching, Forbes went on to become a trauma counselor, serving women who had been abused by their spouses through addiction.
Her young adult book series, the Age of the Seventh Sun, premiered in 2020 with the release of The Seventh Sun, followed by The Jade Bones in 2021 and The Obsidian Butterfly in 2022. The Seventh Sun was a finalist for the Realm Awards Book of the Year and won Best Debut, Best Young Adult, and Best Epic Fantasy. Forbes’s passion was showing readers the transformative and encouraging power of story on the human experience.
Josh Stanton, president & CEO of Blackstone Publishing, said, “We are devastated by Lani’s passing, and we deeply mourn the loss of this exceptionally talented young writer, who gave so much to her readers. We are committed to keeping Lani’s incredible legacy alive. Her powerful, captivating young adult novels will live on to be enjoyed and beloved by readers for generations to come.”
Despite her diagnosis, Forbes continued to write—and encourage others to create—through hard times. In a November 2021 essay from Publishers Weekly, Forbes said, “The reality is, we cannot control what happens to us in life. Sometimes things happen that seem incredibly unfair. But no matter what happens to us, no matter what is taken from us or forced upon us, the one thing we always have power over is how we choose to respond. We get to choose how we will handle those crises. We can choose cowardice, we can choose to give up, stop trying, to give into despair. Or, we can choose joy, perseverance, and yes, even happiness despite our circumstances.”
Forbes’s conclusion to her Age of the Seventh Sun series, The Obsidian Butterfly, publishes on February 15, 2022. Blackstone Publishing has also recently acquired a new YA project from Forbes, which will be published posthumously.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to benefit Forbes’s family and help cover medical expenses. Donations can be made at GoFund.Me/308e6b84
Forbes is survived by her husband, Kevin Forbes, and her three children.