Why did you decide to set The Good Thief in New England?

I wanted my novel to take place in America in the 1800s, and New England felt like the perfect place. I grew up in Salem, Massachusetts—famous for the witch trials and as the birthplace of Nathaniel Hawthorne—so stepping into the time period was actually quite natural for me. Most of the houses in my neighborhood were built in the 1700s and 1800s, and it was not unusual to have a back staircase, or fireplaces in nearly every room, low ceilings or small latched pantry doors. Whenever my family worked outside in our small garden, we were constantly digging up things from the past—fragments of blue and white china plates, broken clay pipes, or crushed shells that used to line the path to a neighboring carriage house. Once, my grandmother found a Spanish Reale from the 1700s. This unearthing of tangible history, and being conscious every day of the people who have lived in places before you is something common in Europe and other parts of the world, but in America it is more unusual. In any event, it made a lasting impression on me, and has certainly wound its way throughout The Good Thief.

How did you come up with the title The Good Thief?

Originally I had planned to call the book Resurrection Men. Then, for a number of reasons, I had to change it. I was at a loss for a long time, and nothing seemed appropriate. Finally, I gave an early draft of the novel to my mother, who worked for many years as a librarian and has read more books than anyone else I know. She came up with The Good Thief, and as soon as she said it I knew it was the right title. There is a lot of stealing going on throughout the book, with mixed intentions and results. I also liked the biblical reference of the Good Thief (also known as Saint Dismas), who was one of the men crucified with Jesus Christ on Golgotha. His story is one of redemption, at the very last minute, and that suits this novel perfectly.

The Good Thief has been compared to the work of Robert Louis Stevenson and Charles Dickens. Did you set out to write an adventure tale?

It’s humbling to be compared with these master storytellers. Stevenson and Dickens were my heroes growing up, along with James Fenimore Cooper. I’m not sure if I set out purposely to write an adventure story, but once I had the first scene, I knew that was where I was headed, and I was certainly influenced by these great writers along the way. Who could forget the scene in Kidnapped where David Balfour climbs the empty staircase and nearly falls? Or when Magwitch appears on the moor in Great Expectations? Whenever I felt daunted by the task before me, I went back to this important lesson—write something that you would like to read yourself—and tried to put it in motion on the page. Once I started it was hard to stop. I like to fall into books; to read about strange places and about characters who make me care deeply. I also like to be surprised at what’s going to happen next.

What is a wishing stone?

A wishing stone is a rock, usually found near water, with an unbroken white line circling it completely. It is good for making one wish come true. When I was a child I would collect them. Later, I was reintroduced to them at an important time in my life. At the beginning of The Good Thief, Ren comes into possession of one. It is his golden ticket, and this wish reverberates throughout the rest of the book, as do the stones themselves. Several people have asked me what a wishing stone looks like., Here are a few that I’ve held on to. Since The Good Thief was published, I’ve given one away at every reading, to pass on some of the good luck that has come my way.

How much did your religion influence The Good Thief?

I was raised Catholic and went to Catholic school, so my religion was certainly helpful, especially when it came to describing Ren’s spirituality. My relationship with God was very close when I was young, and grew more complicated as I got older. Children think of right and wrong in very literal terms—and they also respond viscerally to parables and storytelling in religious texts. For me, tales of the martyrs and saints always held great weight, and I tried to draw on them as I wrote Ren’s character. Saint Anthony, in particular, caught my imagination. In 2000, I had visited his basilica in Padua and read a history of his life. Not only was he a famous storyteller, like Benjamin—he was the saint prayed to for lost things, which fit with Ren’s missing hand. He was also involved in resurrection: one of his miracles was raising a boy from the dead. In the last days of his life, Saint Anthony lived in a tree house, wanting to be closer to heaven. It’s a poignant image—this desire to be rid of earthly life. As I wrote The Good Thief, Saint Anthony became my touchstone, and I consider him the patron saint of this book.

What kind of research did you do for The Good Thief?

Because I grew up in Salem, Massachusetts I knew how everything should look and what the feel of North Umbrage should be. But I also read many books on resurrection men, grave-robbing, and the history of medical schools. Two that were particularly helpful were The Italian Boy by Sarah Wise, a non-fiction account of the trial of two resurrection men in London, and The Knife Man by Wendy Moore, a biography of John Hunter, who was a famous surgeon and resurrectionist. I also went to the New York Public Library and read old newspapers from the 1800s that gave me a real feel for the language and every day lives of people. Museums were a great resource, especially the Mütter Museum at The College of Physicians in Philadelphia and The Peabody/Essex Museum in Salem. On the bulletin board over my desk I kept sketches of graveyards, shots of buildings from the 1800s, prayer cards, photographs of Native Americans by Edward S. Curtis, artwork by Lee Bontecou and Edward Gorey, pictures of ancient dentures and designs of early mousetraps, so that every time I looked up, I would stay in the world I had created.

Why did you choose Ralph Waldo Emerson’s quote to open The Good Thief?

I remembered Emerson’s words after writing about the mousetrap factory. I wanted to find the complete wording and add it to my folder of notes for the book, so I looked it up. When I re-read the entire quote I realized that it was more complex than I had thought: “If a man can write a better book, preach a better sermon, or make a better mousetrap than his neighbor, though he build his house in the woods, the world will make a beaten path to his door.” Emerson covered not only mousetraps, but religion as well as storytelling, the very thing I was struggling to accomplish. I put the quote on my wall, as a challenge to myself—to write a better book.

What is your writing process like?

I try to follow my intuition—sitting quietly and letting things come. It’s a bit like using a divining rod. Often I don’t realize what I’m doing until after the words are on the page. Later, I go back and try and make sense of it. The editing process is where most of the work is done, but I discovered long ago that I need to be open and trust my subconscious. When I was a little girl, I went net-casting on a fishing boat. The men threw a net overboard, then dragged it a hundred yards, then pulled up what they caught into a big tank onboard. Then they tossed things over that they don’t want, and kept the fish they did. I remember that the water seemed so clear and empty, but when the fishermen pulled the net on board, it was full of the weirdest things I’d ever seen. Bizarre creatures from the bottom of the sea. Novels seem to be like this—casting a net through a writers’ mind and pulling the unexpected into the light.



  1. Dear Hannah,
    I have just finished your wonderful book, The Good Thief. It is amazing, brilliant, I loved it! When are you going to write another? Thank you so much for writing such a book. I am going to tell everyone I know. You have such a talent! Best wishes to you.

    From Claire Charlesworth

  2. Hi Hannah! I enjoyed your book very much! I especially found interest in the religious elements which you tied in into the book! After I read The Good Thief, you left us with a open question and a new quest that can be written about! I think if you could make a sequel or even another that touches with some of the elements in The Good Thief then many more people will find fondness in your writing! This is only my little suggestion, but if you did write another book that stresses the importance of good moral in this world then it would teach many more people to become better people! Thank you for writing this book, and Godspeed with your future writing!

    Your fellow reader,

  3. Dear Hannah Tinti,
    I would like to know, what do Ren, Benjamin, Tom, and Mrs. Sands look like? Are there descriptions of their appearances in the book somewhere? If you can help me out with this I would really appreciate it. Thanks!

    1. Hi Riley,

      It sounds like this is a question on a test or homework. Sorry, but I will not give you the answers. It is better for you to find them on your own.

      I will say that I like my readers to be able to imagine the characters, so I don’t use a lot of detailing, but yes, there are descriptions of these characters. Each of them have some distinct characteristics. Read the book and you will find them! Trust me, it won’t be that bad.

      Good luck,

      1. Dear Hannah Tinti,
        This actually was not for a school assignment. I like to draw the characters I read about, and this book was particularly challenging for me to find physical descriptions of the characters, so I was just hoping that you might help me out. I will just have to draw them how I would imagine them now, because you said its basically open to the reader to decide. Thank you for your help!

  4. Hi Hannah,
    I just finished reading your book! Great job! I was just wondering, why does Ren steal?

    1. Hi Carson,

      This also seems like a homework or test question. If you read the book, I think you will be able to figure this out.

      Why does anyone steal things? What would drive you to steal something? Ask yourself those questions, and that will start you on the right answer.

      Good luck,

  5. Hey the book was famtastic. I usually hate reading but this was not boring at all. I’m trying to go back and find important guotes but it’s a lot more difficult than I thought it would be to find specific quotes.

  6. Hi Hannah,
    I have just finished The Good Thief, the BEST book I have read in a very long time!! Please keep writing 🙂 Your amazing xo

  7. Dear Hannah,
    I just finished reading The Good Thief for my English class. One question What metaphors do you have in this book. i’ve been trying to look in the book. But I can’t seem to find anything.


    1. Dear Jessica,

      Thanks for reading the book! You can see in the other comments below, I don’t give test answers to students, but I will try and help.

      Do you know what a metaphor is? Let’s start there.

      A metaphor is when you compare something to something else, without using the word “like” or “as.” (That’s a simile.) Here’s a site that might help explain it in more detail.

      Now that you understand what a metaphor is, it should be easy to find examples in The Good Thief. Just pick a character or a place in the story, and see what they are compared to.

      Good luck!

  8. Hello Hannah-

    I just finished re-reading ‘The Good Thief’ and am very excited to read that you are working on another novel. I hope that it is going very well, that inspiration is flowing freely, and that you’re enjoying the process.

    I was hoping that while you’re working –and I am anxiously awaiting– that you might recommend some authors or novels (as I prefer long fiction) that you personally enjoy to get me through the meantime. Happy writing,


    1. Dear Ellie,

      So glad to hear you enjoyed the book! I am hard at work on the next novel, but until then I’d recommend reading some of the books that inspired The Good Thief: Great Expectations and Jane Eyre. There is a complete list here (scroll down to the bottom). Also, you could try my short story collection, Animal Crackers.

      Happy Reading!


  9. dear hannah i am not a religious person so therefore i am unable to answer a question about the biblical story of the good thief i was simply wondering if you could guide me by expounding on this?

    1. Dear g-man,

      If you click on the link in the Q&A above for St. Dismas, it will tell you the biblical story of The Good Thief.



  10. Ms. Tinti,
    Our class finished the book today and we were having a discussion following reading the epilogue. One of the major controversial topics was the initials from Ren’s name from the nightgown. The book mentions that the R and the E were right but the N was as if it was supposed to be an M and not finished. Some believed that the N was purposely not made an M because Margaret intended it to be Nab. Others believed it was supposed to be McGinty but never fully finished. What is the true reason behind this?

    Thank you for taking time to reply and we look foward to hearing your response.

    Dalton Fenske

    1. Dear Dalton,

      Thank you for reading The Good Thief! I hope your class had fun with it.

      As for the initials on Ren’s nightgown, I wanted the last letter in his name to read both ways: as N and M. In the orphanage, Ren first sees it as an N, then after he meets McGinty, he recognizes it as an M, then, later, when he decides Benjamin is his father, he claims it is an N. All of this has to do with growing up, and deciding what kind of person you want to be.

      I think when we start out as kids, we don’t think too much about ourselves. We just are who we are. But as we get older, and understand the world more, and the shades start coming up and we start understanding the complexity of life, our ideas about ourselves start to change, and it can be a really confusing time. But once you make it through to an adult, you can choose what kind of person you want to be. You can leave the past behind, or you can embrace it. I wanted the letter to read both ways so Ren could have that choice. This is a book about growing up, and in the end Ren makes his own path.

      I’m glad your class had a talk about this. Both sides were right!


    1. Dear Brian,

      There is no quick and easy answer to that question. If you read through my Q&A page above, it might start to explain things. But the simple truth is that I wrote this book because I had to write it. Also, because I wanted to.


  11. Hey Hannah,
    I just finished reading The Good Thief and it was great! I was hooked from the very start.
    I do have two questions though.
    Why did McGinty’s men cut hands?
    How did Ren’s hand get chopped off? Was it McGinty?
    Thanks you.

    1. Dear Emily,

      If you read chapter 32 you’ll know who cut off Ren’s hand.

      As for the rest of McGinty’s men, I think they just like chopping off hands. They like how it makes everyone else afraid of them.

      Hope that helps!


  12. Hi hannah, I got the answer I needed from going back to a few chapters I remember most, but once again I would like to say I love, love, LOVE this book. As soon as u get the other books u r working on, get back to writing that sequel. This book is amazing and it would be a shame if your sequel can’t get out!

    1. Dear Sydney,

      Thanks for writing in–I’m so glad you enjoyed the book!

      Seems like you have question #6 under control, but if you need a bit more, chapters 1 & 2 might be good to look at how the hand affected his days at St. Anthony’s, chapters 11 & 12 have some examples of Benjamin showing Ren how to use the hand to his advantage, and 25 & 29 might be places to look at how the missing hand starts to unlock the secrets of his missing history.

      Good luck and I hope you have fun in 9th grade.


  13. Hi hannah,
    For summer the people who wanted to be in honors english for 9th grade had hw for the summer to do:p I don’t like homework but whatever, gotta do what’s best for your future. Anyway so our assignment was reading the good thief and answering questions about it. I was thinking ohh greatt reading(not my best skill). But when I started reading it I loved it, its a great book. Then I had to do the questions, did good, just on question 6 where it says….
    How did the injury affect his life in different ways throughout the novel? I answered it in all but I wanted some more detail to the answer. So I was wondering if u could tell me some of the BIG affects/or tell what chapter the big ones would be. This would help a lot not only with remembering where the things were but getting more detail on them. And it also help with getting the better grade. If u could help me in anyway possible lease do so. I would like to kno very soon. So please write back asap!

  14. What is the source of Mcgintys saddism and bitterness???What did it take to defeat him????

  15. In the readers guide question number 7… How do the harelip, Mrs.Sands, and Sister Agnes affect Rens story? Well, the real question is how do these women affect Ren’s story. But I dont understand what that means. Can you give me a hand please? :]

    1. Hi Priscilla,

      Like the other students writing in, I feel too guilty telling you the answers, because that takes away something from you. It takes away the opportunity for you to figure out something on your own. When you solve a problem, whether it’s a homework question or learning how to use a public phone in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language (as I did the other day), it’s a great sense of accomplishment when you finally succeed. I encourage you to struggle through and keep trying. It’s the struggling that makes things worthwhile. That said, I’m going to give you a hint: These three women each give Ren something.

      One of them saves his life.
      One of them tells him the story of his life.
      One of them gives him a new life.

      I’m going to leave it to you to figure out which woman goes with each gift. Good luck!


    1. Dear Melissa,

      This is a question that I get asked a lot. I purposely didn’t want to set the book in an exact year, because I wanted the characters to create their own world, and not be too influenced by American history.

      But in my mind, I was thinking it was around the 1840s. That’s when medical schools started really getting a foothold across the United States and in Europe, and the doctors needed resurrection men to dig up the bodies for cadavers.

      Hope that helps.


  16. What does Dolly teach Ren about himself, and about the nature of death and darkness in the world.What affect does Ren have in Dolly? Please help!

    1. Dear Marcie,

      Let’s start with who Dolly is. Do you know? Read Chapter 15 & 16 and you’ll find out. Then that answer should be pretty easy.

      Now for the second part: What effect does Ren have on Dolly? That’s a little trickier. But read chapter 31. That will give you some solid things to say for your teacher.

      Good luck!


  17. Early in the novel, Benjamin and Tom discover Ren’s ease with trickery and declare that he is already one of them. Did he possess these skills innately, or were they the result of having to survive at St. Anthony’s? How much control over his destiny did Ren have? Did nature or nurture have the greater role in his approach to the world?

  18. Discuss the images Ren had created of an ideal mother as someone beautiful who could provide comfort, a warm bed, and good cooking. How does Sister Agnes help him cope with the reality of his mother? Should he have been sheltered from knowing the truth? How does Mrs. Sands fulfill or not fulfill the role of mother for Ren?

  19. What does Dolly teach Ren about himself, and about the nature of death and darkness in the world? What effect does Ren have on Dolly?

  20. In what ways is Ren wiser than Brom and Ichy? What makes him better prepared for life on the lam?

  21. In chapter fourteen, Doctor Milton lets Ren see his scarred skin under a microscope. What changes for Ren in that encounter? How did his injury affect his life in different ways throughout the novel?

    1. Dear Beauxseph,

      Thanks for sending in all these questions. I have a feeling from the way these are written, though, that they are your homework questions. So now I’m put in a weird spot. Do I help you cheat? My impulse is to say yes, because I always hated doing homework when I was a kid. But I also know that will keep you from learning anything. So here’s the deal: I’ll answer your first question, and the rest you’ll have to figure out on your own. If you’ve read the book, they shouldn’t be too hard. And I hope you at least try and read the book.

      1st question, about Ren seeing scar tissue under the microscope. Dr. Milton talks about how scars can form inside the body–also how they can take over if you’re not careful. (Like Keloid scars.) I meant this to be a metaphor for Ren. He carries a physical scar–his missing hand–but he also carries emotional scars. It’s important not to let bad things that happen to you take over your life and keep you from living. That’s what I was trying to say in that moment with the microscope. So that’s what Ren learns. Of course, he also learns that they’re going to be digging up dead bodies.

      Hope that helps, and good luck with your homework. I know you can find the answers on your own. You were smart enough to find this website and write in. Now it’s up to you to figure out the rest.


      1. Hi Hannah,

        I read your book I really thought it was great! My teacher handed out questions to do over summer about your book for my Honors English class next school year. I’m doing very well with most of the questions, but I’m hung up on a few.

        What is the key to being a successful scoundrel?

        The Harelip, Mrs. Sands, and Sister Agnes all seem powerful and skilled in different ways, but don’t fit traditional female archetypes of wives or mothers.

        1. Dear Bobby,

          Let’s start with what “scoundrel” means. Do you know? I just looked it up in the dictionary, and the definition is: “A mischievous or dishonest person.”

          Now, let’s make sure you understand each of those words.


          –that means a person who causes trouble, but not big trouble (like killing someone). It’s more like someone in school who is a wise-ass or fills someone’s locker with shaving cream.


          –that means that the person is a liar.

          So now that we know what “Scoundrel” means, you have to think about The Good Thief. Which character does this in the book and is “successful”–which means he does bad things (but not too bad) and gets away with it? Then ask yourself–where’s an example of that character acting like a scoundrel? When does he lie and get away with it? Then you’ve got your answer.

          Hope that helps! You didn’t copy in the whole question for the other one, so I can’t give you any hints for that.


  22. Dear Hannah,

    How do the time period and the locale shape the novel? How did the needy and the sly fare in rural america before the twentieth century? I loved your book and I was wondering if you could answer a few questions.

    1. Hi Angie,

      These are the questions from the reader’s guide–I’m guessing you were assigned them for a class? You should read through the Q&A here above–they will answer both of these questions!

      Good luck,

  23. Dear Hannah,

    I just finished reading your book, less than an hour ago, and I just have to say I loved it! I was reading every waking second and I found the story simply amazing! I read you answer that maybe there would be new books with some of the characters… Will we see more of Benjamin and Ren? Do you imagine that Benjamin would ever come back to see Ren? Or would Ren ever leave to search for Benjamin?

    1. Dear Bebel,

      Thanks for reading! I’ve written about half of a sequel to The Good Thief, and yes, Benjamin and Ren are both in it–though I don’t want to spoil any of the story by revealing the plot yet–besides, it could very well change before I’m finished. I had to put the sequel aside to finish another novel I’m working on, but will definitely go back to it, someday.


  24. I want to know why you choose the factory to be a mousetrapp factory? and why all the ugly girls?

    1. Dear Henry,

      You can find out the answer about the mousetrap factory here.

      As for the ugly girls, I wanted this part of the story to feel like a fairy-tale. Also, it made sense that these girls were outcasts, the ones who had to go out and make their own living.


  25. It is commonly seen in movies, novels and in real life scenarios that in the end, good triumphs over evil. How is this brought about in The Good Thief?

    1. Dear Annabel,

      Thanks for your question. I think my views on morality are more gray than black or white. But I knew from the start that if I was going to put Ren through all those hardships, I had to give him a happy ending. Ren doesn’t get 100% what he wants, but it’s close enough to make a good life for himself.


  26. Hannah,

    I’m currently a student teacher in the New York area and just read The Good Thief as this will be the first unit I teach to my 9th grade students. I just wanted to say that I absolutely loved this book and I am so excited to work on it with my students. In going back through the book after having reading there are so many subtleties that I hadn’t picked up on my first time around. I truly feel that this book is not only one that will get kids interested in reading, but it is a quality book that they will continue to enjoy as adults.

    Thanks for the great read,

    1. Dear Allison,

      What a great message! Thanks for writing in. It means the world.

      Hope your students enjoy the book too. If any of them want to send some questions my way, please get in touch.


  27. Hi hannah, i really enjoyed reading the book, it was for a book report in my english class so i had to choose and by just reading the summary in the back i knew it was going to be an awsome book. As i read the book i kept telling my mom, my sisters, my cousin what was going on, they were anxious too waiting on me to finish the book. i just have this one question where was the setting taken place, like what town, state? were those towns mentioned in the book, North umbrage real towns or all just made up. well thanks for creating such a wonderful book, i enjoyed it very much. looking forward to reading incoming novels of yours. bye

    1. Dear Claudia,

      The book takes place in New England, but all of the places that Ren travels to are made up. I wanted to create my own towns and cities, so while the characters discuss real places like Salem and Essex and Boston, the places they go–North Umbrage, for example–are imaginary.

      So glad you enjoyed the story! Hope your family likes it, too.

      Best wishes,

  28. Hello, i am from lynn classical high school in lynn, ma an d i was also born in salem and was wondering how you would describe ren, benjamin, and donny from your point of view, you know, what u wanted them to be in your and your readers mind

    1. Hi Pauly,

      I don’t like to give too much physical description for my characters, so the readers can fill in the details. But Ren, of course, has the missing hand and the big scar on his wrist and is a pretty scrawny kid, and Benjamin is really attractive (think Brad Pitt or Johnny Depp), and Dolly kind of looks like a giant bald Frankenstein, minus the neck bolts.

      Thanks for writing in. I hope you’ll give the book a try and have some fun reading it. Salem’s a great place to come from, I think.


  29. Hannah,

    I was forced to read The Good Thief for a fiction class I am taking. Thank God. I absolutely never would have picked it up if I wasn’t instructed to, and now I can’t stop recommending it to people. I don’t do that often, and I just wanted to send some praise your way. Helluva job. 🙂

    I heard somewhere that it took you upwards of 6 years to complete this book. Was there ever a time you were just tempted to scrap it, or you thought that maybe it wasn’t going to work?

    1. Hi John,

      So glad you enjoyed the book, it means a lot.

      Yes, it did take me about six years to write The Good Thief, from start to finish. There were many times where I thought it wouldn’t work, and I definitely hit walls and wondered whether anyone would ever read it. But I never wanted to scrap Ren’s story. I only worried about getting it right.

      Thanks for writing,


  30. You Ruined My Life With The Good Thief, I Really Despise This Book, I Was Forced To Read It For Summer Reading But We All Know I Did NOT Now I Have To Do A WHOLE BUNCH OF BULLSHIT SCHOOL WORK ON IT, LIKE COM’ON ITS SCHOOL WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO MATH, SCIENCE, AND HISTORY!!!

    1. Hi Adam,

      I promise, I did not write this book to ruin your life. But I remember being equally mad about things when I was in school. Don’t worry, it will be over soon.


  31. Hey Hannah!
    1st, you haven’t mentioned anything on the sequal in 3 monthes, so, like everyone else, (for good reason) I thought I’ld ask you about it. Also, even if you don’t write a sequal, well, as apt as a sequal sounds, I am dying to hear the backstories of pretty much all the main characters, but especially Ren’s parents. If you decide not to write a sequal, could you write a collection of everyone’s backrounds? I found the lack of a backstory frustrating when trying to think of character analyses. Especiall For instince, I was wondering whether or not Dolly wass a sociopath, (he killed with no remorse, yet he befriends and loves Ren.) Or Silas McGrunty, was HE a sociopath? He seemed to love his sister but cut off Ren’s hand… Does Benjamin actually ever return? I THOUGHT it was stated by Tom he won’t. (I believe it said “He shook his head.” I couldn’t tell if that was affirmitive or not…) I seriously would want you to explore that. Certainly, i would love to know how much of the final speech on Benji by Ren is legit and how much is silver-tonguing it. Sorry for spamming you with questions, I’ve read a lot of books, but its been quite a while since a book has so intrigued me! I really enjoyed it, very gripping, I didn’t sleep last night, I never put it down. (Literally)

    1. Dear Mark,

      So glad you enjoyed The Good Thief enough to lose a night’s sleep! I’ve written about 100 pages of a sequel, though I am also working another novel at the moment and developing a comic book as well, so not sure when it will see the light of day. It will eventually, I’m sure, and then more on all of the characters will certainly be revealed. Will Benjamin return someday and see Ren again? I think so. As for whether or not Dolly & McGinty are sociopaths, they probably are in different ways, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have redeeming qualities too. I believe that even the worst people have some hidden parts of them that are good.


  32. I very much enjoyed your book and have recommended it to my book club.
    Question: Where can I go to find information about mousetrap factories in colonial New England and also designs of those mousetraps?

    1. Dear Peggy,

      Thanks for writing in. I’m not sure if there were any mousetrap factories in New England in the 1800s–but I did do research at the patent office and found some interesting mousetrap designs that I used in the book. (The “Little Nipper”, which we use today, was not patented until 1897). You can find out more here. But I also wrote a whole post about the inspiration behind the mousetrap factory in The Good Thief. You can find that here!


  33. Hi Hannah,

    I really am enjoying your book, and I am a history buff, so this suits my love for history perfectly. I just had one small question though: about which decade in the 1800s is the story set? I know that it must predate the Civil War, and post date the Revolutionary War.

    Thank you,
    Ben Schaffer

    1. Dear Ben,

      I’m a history buff too, but for The Good Thief I was deliberately vague about the exact year, not wanting the history of the country to affect the characters or the plot too much. In my mind I was thinking 1830-1840s. Some links to some of the research I did for the book can be found here. Hope that helps, and that you enjoy the rest of the book.


  34. Hi Alessandra,

    Thanks for writing in. I’m so glad you enjoyed the book. I have been toying around with a sequel to The Good Thief, but whether it will see the light of day or not is still undecided. The movie rights to The Good Thief have been optioned by the writer Richard Russo, who has written the screenplay. They are now taking it around to directors, so keep your fingers crossed.

    Best wishes,

  35. Hi Charles,

    Thanks for writing in. I’ve been a Catholic my whole life, and we always end the Our Father at ‘Deliver Us From Evil.’ Whenever I’ve been to a Protestant Service, I’ve always been intrigued by the final phrase, “For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory,
    for ever and ever.” It’s interesting to be saying the same prayer and then have part of the audience stop and the rest continue, which is why I wrote it into the book.

    As for the prepositions, I am probably guilty. And the explosion, which people keep asking about, so I will clarify here: was caused by the Harelip shooting McGinty from the factory floor.

    I hope your enjoyment outweighed your difficulties with the book!


  36. I have just finished reading The Good Thief…i just learned about it a couple months ago. I cant believe i never found out about it. I LOVED IT! Is it true that there will be a sequel type book? I hope there is, i will definitely buy it! Have there been any thought of making it into a movie also? Thank you for wrighting this wonderful book, i will make sure to spread the book to my friends. Please keep writing!

  37. I saw above that someone else has the same question as me. Who or what caused the explosion in the factory that is pivotal to the outcome of the book? Also, you should know that Catholics DO finish the Lord’s Prayer “for the kingdom and the power and the glory, etc” same as Lutherans. Also, is it now proper for sentences to end in a preposition? Otherwise I enjoyed the book and couldn’t put it down but, what about that explosion in the factory?

  38. Hannah,
    I picked up The Good Thief last Friday and finished it on Saturday, and thoroughly enjoyed the read. I teach English Lit at a high school in AZ, and suggested the book to any of my students who enjoyed the adventure and characters of Huck Finn, and three were reading it today for their “free choice” reading, and two had already read it. Can’t wait for the second book. Wish Dolly could come back, again:)

    On a separate note, I had mixed readings on the age of the mousetrap girls, especially the harelip. Can you help clarify it for me, please?

    1. Dear Justin,

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the book, and that your students are too. I will do my best to resurrect Dolly again, though that might prove difficult.

      I kept changing the ages of the characters, so it’s no wonder you had mixed readings. Ultimately I am thinking the mousetrap girls are anywhere from 12-18.

      Hope that clears things up, and thanks again.


  39. I just finished The Good Thief today. It was so good! I was sad to finish it. I wanted to reread it, but I also wanted to share it with my friends, so one is borrowing it, and I hope she loves it as much as me! I’m curious about the sequel as well, or your next book, whichever it is. Will you be posting the release dates on here?

    1. Dear Annie,

      I’m working on a new book now, and will definitely post here when it is scheduled to be released. I’m so pleased that you enjoyed The Good Thief, and I hope your friend does too.


  40. Hello!!!
    My school used The Good Theif for an assignment for the freshmen English classes. At first I was a bit tentative about reading this book, but the second I got started, I was immediately snagged by your captivating words and enticing story. Thank you soooo much for writing this book! It was pretty amazing, and I wish I could read more of it!
    Speaking of which, have you ever given thought to a sequel?

    1. Hello, Gabriella,

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the book. Many people have asked me if I would write a sequel to The Good Thief. I’m working on a new book now that may include some of the same characters, but I’m not sure yet if it will be a complete sequel. I’ll know more in a few months, and will be sure to post on the site what I’m doing!

  41. I just finished the book today and also was perplexed as to how the explosion occurred in the factory. please reply to my email address directly if possible. I thought the book was awesome, captivating and very funny in some places. Can’t wait for the sequel.

  42. I just finished The Good Thief!

    I couldn’t put the book down and found it to be a truely wonderful read. Not sure if I read it to fast but I couldn’t seem to figure out who/what caused the explosion in the factory towards the end of the book. “A huge boom sounded and the glass shattered…”

    Could you please clarify…its driving me nuts.

    1. PQS: thanks for your note. I’ll write you back directly, so I don’t spoil the end for the other readers passing through here…

    1. Dear Heidi,

      I’m working on a new novel that includes some of these characters, so you will find out what happened. Wish me luck!


  43. Hi,

    I just finished The Good Thief (it was great!) and noticed in the Q&A section that a beach in New Zealand has wishing stones. Can you tell me what beach, I’m from NZ.

    1. Hi Melissa,

      I found the stones in the picture here when I was visiting the Bay of Islands. I picked up most of them in Paihia while I walked the beach. It’s a very beautiful spot. I loved NZ, and can’t wait to get back there.

      Glad you enjoyed the book!


  44. hi hannah, i want to buy this book of urs (The Good Thief) …………. when can i get it here in India???…………………. Massachusetts is my favourite state of the US ……..hope i can enjoy your new book sooner (rather than later)

    1. Dear Krishnendu:

      We’re not sure when the book will be available in India, but you should be able to order a copy from any online bookstore and have it shipped to you. Perhaps Amazon UK? We hope you enjoy the story.

      -Hannah’s online team

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