BLOG TOUR w/ GIVEAWAY: Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty


"Never go into the deep parts of the forest, for there are many dangers there and they will ensnare your soul."

Serafina has never had a reason to disobey her pa and venture beyond the grounds of Biltmore Estate. There's plenty to explore in the shadowed corridors of her vast home, but she must take care to never be seen. None of the rich folk upstairs know that Serafina exists; she and her pa, the estate's maintenance man, have secretly lived in the basement for as long as Serafina can remember.

But when children at the estate start disappearing, only Serafina knows who the culprit is: a terrifying man in a black cloak who stalks Biltmore's corridors at night. Following her own harrowing escape, Serafina risks everything by joining forces with Braeden Vanderbilt, the young nephew of Biltmore's owners. Braeden and Serafina must uncover the Man in the Black Cloak's true identity before all of the children vanish one by one.

Serafina's hunt leads her into the very forest that she has been taught to fear. There she discovers a forgotten legacy of magic that is bound to her own identity. In order to save the children of Biltmore, Serafina must seek the answers that will unlock the puzzle of her past.


Robert Beatty lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville, North Carolina with his wife and three daughters, who help create and refine his stories. He loves to explore the grand Biltmore Estate and the darkened forest trails where his novels take place. Robert’s Disney Hyperion novel Serafina and the Black Cloak will go on sale July 14, 2015. He writes full-time now, but in his past lives, Robert was one of the early pioneers of cloud computing, the founder/CEO of Plex Systems, the co-founder of Beatty Robotics, and the chairman/CTO of Narrative Magazine. In 2007, he was named an Entrepreneur of the Year. Answering a question about the inspiration for his book, Robert said, “Serafina’s journey grew out of my desire to write a story about an unusual and heroic young girl for my three daughters.”

Robert can be found on twitter @BeattyAuthor and online at


While I haven't quite finished this book yet, I'm going to share my thoughts on what I've read so far.  I'll update the review later after I've finished the book.  I have students request scary books all the time and it's a challenging task to find a book that has the right degree of scariness for that particular student.  I liked the fact that Serafina starts off with a bang.  I was immediately intrigued by Serafina's ability to hunt down and catch the rats in the basement of the Biltmore Estate where she and her father live.  It was the first clue that there might be more to Serafina than her rather unusual appearance.  The reader immediately suspects that there might be a reason that they live secretly in the basement and that her father has instructed her to never let herself be seen.  But these questions take a backseat to more immediate concerns when Serafina witnesses a girl in a yellow dress disappearing into the arms of a threatening man in a black cloak and narrowly escapes capture herself.  Serafina is the kind of female lead that I especially like, one who is determined to help despite great risk to herself.  I also loved the setting.  Now I've never been in a mansion but Beatty does a great job of creating a setting that works well with the creepy mood of the story.  So far I would definitely recommend this book to middle grade readers who enjoy stories with a strong creepiness factor.  More later!

Here's later!

I've finished the book and all I can say is: Wow!  Beatty has created a surprisingly believable fantasy mystery with enough creepiness to satisfy many middle grade readers who request 'scary' books. After I finished this I had a strong desire to visit Biltmore Estate and explore the place from top to bottom, including the surrounding woods.  I also appreciated the fact that the book has a solid ending.  While there is plenty of room for a sequel, the book could also be left where it's at, with all loose ends tied up.  I'm not usually a huge scary book fan, I found that I really liked this one and will definitely be recommending it.  Please keep in mind that readers who get scared easily will probably not want to read this one.  But readers who enjoy thrilling adventures with a realistic setting and a strong dose of the supernatural are likely to enjoy this one.

INTERVIEW with Robert Beatty

*Does the Biltmore estate really exist?  If so, why did you set your story there?  If not, where did the idea for the place come from?

Yes, Biltmore Estate really exists, just as it’s described in the book. You can see it in the Serafina Book Trailer:
I live very close to the estate and have explored it extensively. I love its beauty and its history. Whenever I go there, my imagination runs wild. I’ve always envisioned stories about Biltmore and the people who might have once lived there.

*What do you enjoy most about writing? the least?

I love using my imagination to create stories, developing the characters and plot, and envisioning the scenes. I just love stories in all forms—especially books and movies. To me, it’s all about the character and story.

By far the most difficult part about writing is to find the words to capture and convey what I’m envisioning in my mind. Someone once asked Hemingway what was the most difficult part about writing. He replied, “Getting the words right.” It sounds like a flippant, silly answer, but it’s not. I know exactly what he meant. Getting the words right, sentence by sentence, is the most difficult challenge for me. It’s a daunting challenge to take the story you have in your head and putting it down on the page in black and white.

*If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go and what would you do there?

I’ve been all over the world, but the place I always want to return to is England. On our last trip to England we toured all the various castles and other sites relevant to Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth. It was awesome. Next time, I want to visit all the great houses depicted in Jane Austen books and movies. I love both those periods in history.

*What's something that most people don't know about you?

Years ago, I was a champion saber fencer at university, totally loved it, and almost pursued it as my life-long career. My plan was to move to Budapest and become a fencing maestro (like my fencing maestro had), but in the end I decided that I wanted to be a writer even more than I wanted to be a fencing maestro. I still miss it to this day.

*What's your favorite dessert?

I have a major sweet tooth. I LOVE dessert. One of my favorite desserts is blueberries, strawberries, and peaches (all picked from our garden) in a bowl of French Vanilla ice cream. :)



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  1. Nice trailer and cover, Serafina and the Black Cloak sounds very interesting. Thanks for the opportunity.


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