Today we travel to Halifax, Nova Scotia to chat with the family of Arisha Grabtchak about how beaches, rocky shores, biology, creative writing, a Manchester Terrier, horseback riding, scuba diving, coral reefs, and making movies influenced Arisha’s life and her writing.
Tell us a bit about Arisha.
Arisha Grabtchak lived in Halifax, capital of the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. Halifax is the largest city in Atlantic Canada situated close to many picturesque beaches and dramatic rocky shores. These beautiful landscapes became Arisha’s favorite places she often described in her stories. She always wanted to become a writer and was very passionate about it. Arisha graduated with honors from Dalhousie University, majoring in Biology and Creative Writing and had started graduate school in biology. She was a bright, remarkable artist with so many interests in her life. Unexpected death disrupted Arisha’s plans – she passed away in 2016 at the age of 23. Her family works to realize her dreams and embody her visions of this fantasy world and characters. We could only wish that some things would have happened sooner in her life…
In which genre did she write?
The Red Dragon Chronicles are written in epic high-fantasy genre. The series were to include eight books, Arisha was working on the fifth one.
How many published books does she have?
Two, including Dragon Mage. Arisha wrote her first novel at 17, a self-published work featuring intelligent killer sharks eating teachers on vacation, appropriately titled Doom of the Teachers. The work was written on a whim during her final year of high school and published the year after.
What would Arisha choose as her spirit animal and why?
A dragon. Since she was little, Arisha was fascinated by dragons – mysterious creatures from a different world. Not surprisingly dragons became major characters in her fantasy stories.
Where did the idea for her most recent book come from?
The actual character of Danzi was created when Arisha was 16, in a story written for English class. It was based on a vague, dragon-related story that had been spinning around her head since childhood. Arisha began work on the dragon series while attending Dalhousie University. It took her two years to finish her book, but she did not want to approach publishers until she reviewed her manuscript numerous times. At the same time, she started writing several other books from the series.
What did she do when not writing or marketing her books?
Arisha adored her dog, a Manchester Terrier named Jenna. They both enjoyed playing, cuddling, going for walks, watching TV together. Arisha loved animals, she volunteered at dog shelters and enjoyed horseback riding since she was 10.
She mastered in digital art, entirely self-taught, and horses always were her favorite subject for drawings. Arisha personally created all the illustrations for her books. An accomplished graphic designer and Photoshop whiz, she had also no problems designing and formatting her own covers.
Scuba diving was another of Arisha’s passion. She became certified at fourteen years old. Arisha was always fascinated by coral reefs and loved filming underwater life. She collected sea shells from every place she visited and could identify every one of them.
Arisha was very interested in making movies. It all began with an assignment for her Computer Science class in high school. In the following years, she produced three more action-adventure films where she was directing, shooting, writing scripts, editing, creating special effects, and playing a main character. Jenna also played a role in each film!! Arisha’s dream was to direct movies based on her own books. Coming from the original creator, these films would be delivered exactly as they were intended, ensuring all novel-specific details would be visually recreated for the screen.
If Arisha could turn into one of her characters for a day, which one would it be and why?
It would be Danzi, the Red Dragon. Arisha admitted that they had a lot in common. His character came from within her, and expressed some of her hidden intentions, unlike some others that came from the ideas and expressed fabricated notions. Danzi is a protagonist in the story, starting out as an anti-hero. Over the course of the book he must come to grips with his own misgivings and become the leader that will eventually topple the Empire.
What was her favorite place to visit in her country and why?
Arisha loved nature and wilderness, she was fascinated by the ocean and was a dedicated sea shell collector. Arisha always enjoyed visiting the numerous beaches and forested parks in Nova Scotia.
Describe the perfect solo date Arisha would take herself on … where, time of day, weather, place, etc.
That would be diving in the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, the world’s largest coral reef system. Arisha felt so natural in the water. She accomplished many dives in Caribbean, always with her underwater camera. Some of the footage she used later in her movies. Arisha hoped to visit Australia some day for a lifetime experience in scuba diving.
Tell us about the most recent book.
The Dragon Mage is the first book from the Red Dragon Chronicles series. It is about a war in the fantasy land of Shotang between the evil Emperor and a resistance movement, led by Danzellius Daggoras, the Red Dragon and a mage. The book takes the reader on a thrilling, epic journey as it follows the dragon and his band of allies, among them a young mage named Eiryanne, who is Danzi’s protégé and the principal human character.
It was an honor to host Arisha’s family on MTA. Arisha sounds like a fascinating person, with an adventurous life. I am blessed to be able to help her family spread the word about her books. – Camilla
Eiryanne, an orphan, is on the run after her village is brutally attacked and destroyed by the evil Emperor’s soldiers. Little does Eiryanne know that her chance encounter with a strange man would change her life forever and reveal her true destiny. The man, a shape shifter, is Danzellius Daggoras, the Red Dragon, The Lord of Fire, an ancient warrior and a mage. Eiryanne learns she is a descendant of a long line of human mages and her only possession – The Necklace of Tairung – was left to her by her parents for safe keeping against its malevolent creator, the corrupt black unicorn, Tairung. Together, Eiryanne and Danzi must navigate their way to Boyerin Cavern where the necklace can be destroyed and its evil creator silenced forever. As they set out, Eiryanne is uneasy about her alliance with Danzi and is frightened by his violence and ease at which he kills. She knows she has no choice, her destiny is in his hands, but to what end?
Where to find the book:
The book is available on Amazon in eBook and paperback formats:
Connect on Social Media:
Twitter Danzi Daggoras writer @daggoras
FB Arisha Grabtchak books @ArishaGrabtchak
FB Danzi Daggoras @danzi.daggoras
Here are a few suggestions on how to further support this author:
- Comment on the interview
- Share the interview using the social media buttons
- Click through to learn more about the author and their book(s)
- If interested, buy the book and leave a review
To support this website and the author’s interviewed, visit Support MTA for suggestions. Thank you! – Camilla, Founder and Host