Criminal Element Book Club, Week 4: Q&A with Olen Steinhauer, author of The Tourist

Welcome back to the Criminal Element Book Club featuring The Tourist by Olen Steinhauer. We want to hear from you! We're opening up for a Q&A with the author, and read on to find out how you can get a chance to snag an early copy of Olen's upcoming Milo Weaver novel, The Last Tourist.

Now that you’ve had a chance to begin reading (or finish) The Tourist, this week we wanted to give you a chance to ask some questions. We’re opening up the floor to book club participants for an exclusive Q&A with Olen Steinhauer.

Here’s how it will work:

  • Submit your questions about The Tourist or the Milo Weaver series directly in the comments section of this post.
    • Make sure to log-in to your Criminal Element account before you comment.
  • Criminal Element moderators will choose a select number of questions from the comments section which Olen Steinhauer will answer on the site in a few weeks.
  • The best questions will help contribute to the book club conversation around The Tourist, so be thoughtful, and feel free to submit more than one question.
  • If your question is selected to be answered by Olen Steinhauer in his post to follow, we’ll contact you and send you an early copy of the newest book in the Milo Weaver series, The Last Tourist.

With that in mind, please fire away with your questions in the comments below! Please join us again next week when we’ll be following up with a new guest post from Olen Steinhauer.

Only discovering the Criminal Element Book Club now?

Check out these posts to catch up:

Criminal Element Book Club ft. The Tourist by Olen Steinhauer, Week 1

Criminal Element Book Club ft. The Tourist by Olen Steinhauer, Week 2

Criminal Element Book Club ft. The Tourist by Olen Steinhauer, Week 3

About The Last Tourist by Olen Steinhauer:

In Olen Steinhauer’s bestseller An American Spy, reluctant CIA agent Milo Weaver thought he had finally put “Tourists”―CIA-trained assassins―to bed.

A decade later, Milo is hiding out in Western Sahara when a young CIA analyst arrives to question him about a series of suspicious deaths and terrorist chatter linked to him.

Their conversation is soon interrupted by a new breed of Tourists intent on killing them both, forcing them to run.

As he tells his story, Milo is joined by colleagues and enemies from his long history in the world of intelligence, and the young analyst wonders what to believe. He wonders, too, if he’ll survive this encounter.

After three standalone novels, Olen Steinhauer returns to the series that made him a New York Times bestseller.


Learn More Or Order A Copy


  1. Chris Johnson

    Which [reasonably well known] author’s writing is most similar to yours?

  2. Henry Gershman

    Where do you get your ideas?

  3. Melissa Freeman

    Where do you get ideas for your books from?

  4. Melissa Freeman

    What do you find helpful when you get writers block?

  5. Jeffrey Hersh

    How do locations play a role in your books?

  6. Melissa Freeman

    Whose input do you most look for during your writing progress?

  7. Wendy Barker

    I was struck in The Tourist by how you gave us information about Milo and Tina’s meeting and subsequent marriage in small pieces throughout the novel. Was that a deliberate choice to keep us reading or did you have some other motive?

  8. Joy

    I really enjoyed All The Old Knives and love a copy of your new book! Do you ever travel to Canada on book tours?
    Thank you..

  9. Paul Gada

    Why this genre over others?

  10. Heather Hunt

    Do you travel to the areas that you are writing about before each book?

  11. Kathy Affholter

    What do you do for fun?? Any hobbies??

  12. Mike Langston

    I’m new to the series so forgive me if this is one of those things that are common knowledge among those “in the know”. Is there a real life inspiration for Milo Weaver? Is there any part of the character that you think of as your secret alter ego?

  13. Betty Smith

    Do you have problems coming up with themes for your books or is it easy for you

  14. Jamie Gillespie

    How do you come up with character names?

  15. Raphael Miese

    How do you develop the storyline? Is it something you plan on multiple sheets of paper or do you use your computer for this? What does it look like? And how do you keep track of the characteristics and the appearance of each person of your story?

  16. Anne

    How has your success changed your life?

  17. Ruth

    How did you decide upon the type of novel you would write? Was your research in depth?

  18. Romonko

    Did you visit all the places that you had Milo go to in this book? The descriptions of the various venues were very realistic.

  19. Phyllis Bernstein

    Did you have experience in the world of espionage (ex CIA, etc) prior to writing this novel?

  20. Jennifer Drake

    As a writer , what other authors inspire you

  21. ellie

    What was the impetus to create the character Milo and the plot?

  22. Jill Carpenter

    What genres least appeal to you and why?

  23. jjorski74

    What is your best advice for aspiring authors?

  24. jjorski74

    When writing in this genre, where do you feel an author needs to draw the line between factual information and creativity?

  25. jjorski74

    What is the best way you suggest to write when there are distractions, i.e., children?

  26. jjorski74

    I am new to you as an author so could you please discuss a little about your background and experience with the CIA?

  27. Karen Stoelzle

    What kind of books did you read while growing up? Any particular genres?

  28. Mrs. Mary M Coder

    Is Milo Weaver based off of any real life person living or dead?

  29. Mrs. Mary M Coder

    Where do you get “names” for your characters? How about Milo Weaver’s name?

  30. Karen Hale

    How do you ensure continuity in tone and facts across novels in a series?

  31. Nancy

    When you were a child and adolescent, what authors, book series, and genres were your favorite ones to read?

  32. Dione Amore

    Do you ever compare your series with any other book series, same/different genre?

  33. Deborah Dumm

    Do you model your characters after actual people?

  34. lasvegasnv

    Do you go back and read each book in the Milo Weaver series after they’re published?

  35. lasvegasnv

    Has your storytelling skills changed from each book in the series?

  36. lasvegasnv

    What did you think about the ending?

  37. Catherine

    Is location like another character for you ?

  38. lasvegasnv

    Did you consider writing this series under a pseudonym?

  39. Jeana0331

    What type of book/genre do you like to read?

  40. LeMinou

    What inspired you to write this book?

  41. Christal M

    What food/drinks help you write the best?

  42. lasvegasnv

    Did you come up with the characters or story first?

  43. lasvegasnv

    Anything that was removed from the book during the editing process?

  44. sue

    Who/what do you enjoy reading?

  45. Amber Pate

    What inspired you to write this book?

  46. Lisa Kaiser

    Will we see more of Berlin Station or another TV series from you?

  47. Toni Bila

    If you were able to cast the characters for a movie, who would you choose?

  48. Helen Allman

    Who do you read when you’re relaxing?

  49. Patricia Reed

    Has this series been everything you imagined it would be? Do you feel there is more you need to tell about the characters in future books?

  50. Peg Nittskoff

    Sill Milo Weaver be coming back as an aide in another series?

    • Peg Nittskoff

      Will not Sill

  51. Cindi Hoppes

    Hi, Please tell me how you choose the characteristics of the young CIA Analyst?
    Thank you, Cindi

  52. Dorothy Minor

    Do you begin knowing the ending of the book or do your characters lead you to the end?


    There is very little information on the Internet about your background outside where you have lived and your education. How do you research and where do you gain the information to add enough credibility to your fiction (just enough believable truth) to write a fiction story which could be close enough to a real life case?

  54. Stephanie L Nelson

    Where did your inspiration come from with this book?

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  56. Wendi Morris

    I have never read any of your books yet but I am eager to start. Which book should I start with, The Tourist or an earlier book of yours?

  57. Kelly Meyer

    Do you base any of your characters on real people? Why or why not?

  58. KathyNV

    Please tell me this book will be a movie or PBS special. I loved it! You have so many details woven into the story like the CIA office in the World Trade Center and the precursor to the CIA, the Pond. Did you find these true facts before you wrote “The Tourist” or did you add them later? Was there an advisor who had intelligence work knowledge you worked with or is this all online, maybe CIA museum and imagination? Did you travel to the locations you described like Venice, the Platinum Glam Cub and Disney World? Not quite finished yet but loving every minute of the ride you are taking me on! Thank You!

  59. sunshinehdfan

    How in depth do you do research for your books and if the research will be too much, do you avoid it and choose a different path that would be easier?

  60. Ireoz

    Do you find it difficult to keep a series going? When do you know how long to continue with it?


    I love the idea that the spies are “tourists”. My question is this. Since the “Tiger” was so elusive that Milo, whohad been tracking him for years, was surprised to learn that he was a Christian Scientist – how did his killer know that he was so that he could kill him with the aids virus. And now did the Tiger reconcile his profession with his religious beliefs.

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    Does it become a habit for you to go back and read each book in the Milo Weaver series after it is published?

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  67. word hurdle

    I have read this book, it is very good and engaging. But I wonder, is the main character based on any image, why is it so real?

  68. nerdle

    This is the fourth week of our ever-expanding Criminal Element Book Club. This week we’re reading The Tourist by Olen Steinhauer, a thriller about an ordinary family man who becomes entangled with a ruthless criminal elite while vacationing in Paris. Our books and discussion questions are available on this page.

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