Today’s Question by the reader : Betsy

I do have one question about your book The Alchemist. The person who referred it to me is a LT. Col. in an Army over in Pakistan and said how you discribed the desert life was very much so. How did you know? Was it through experience? Curious… He has read the book 10 times now.

I had been to Egypt before writing The Alchemist. But to be honest with you much of the inspiration for the description of the desert came to me from tales of the Desert Priests, the Bible and of course Arabic tales.
Truth can be easily recognised as long as your heart is open to it. Hence of the miracle of literature – and my constant effort in letting myself be guided by it.

Today’s Question by the reader : Andreas

Why did you write a book in which the main character is a serial killer?

The main theme of the book is manipulation of dreams, which is, in my eyes at least, one of the most vile forms of violence.
Therefore the very decor of the Festival is quite aggressive and Igor’s presence only magnifies this.
But to be honest, this is type of answer that I can only give once I wrote the book. The moment I was in the story, this seemed to me to be the natural way of telling this specific tale.
Some choices are made and only afterwords can we actually understand them.

Today’s Question by the reader : András

In the “Manual of the Warrior of Light”, you mention the I Ching. Do you use the I Ching and would you recommend it to the warriors of light?

People wrongly think that the I Ching is a book of divination – it is actually a book of action. That’s why, when you ask something, you need to be very precise in your question and very subtle in your interpretation.
I use the I Ching very seldom – but when I do, it is only for questions that I consider as being at the thresholds of my life. I recommend then this book to warriors, but only in very specific cases: when they know precisely their questions and when they are conscious of the fact that after their question, they need to act and no longer ponder.

Today’s Question by the reader : Carlotta

I’m an italiens girl… I’ve always had a doubt about the correct pronounciation of your surname… so, i was wondering whether you could answer to this question.

Of course, the correct prononciation in portuguese is [ˈpau̯lu ˈko̯eʎu].
But I don’t consider this very important – as long as the message passes across I am satisfied!

Today’s Question by the reader : Spider

What is your view of Gothic culture? How do you feel about what you see and what you know of “goths”?

I think the Gothic aesthetics is quite beautiful… For me today’s goths have followed the path of the English romantics : tumultuous passions, bottomless despair, irruption of the strange.
In a consumerist society, this clan sets itself apart – as if a reminder of another world, or another aim.

Today’s Question by the reader : Aleksandra

I’ve read “The Witch of Portobello” lately and I’d like to ask you a question: What made you write this book?

I wanted to understand the feminine face of God in this book – and moreover how some women are sacrificed for their freedom.

Today’s Question by the reader : Sarah

What is your Personal Legend? Is writing it? Did you listen to your heart at a young age, and lived through your Personal Legend?

Yes – my personal legend has always been, since I’m a teenager, to be a writer. I didn’t pursue it though for quite a long time.
I was a lyricist, an executive in a record company and an editor – before I finally made the choice – at the age of 40 – to follow what truly gives me enthusiasm. It was the pilgrimage to Saint James that enabled me to finally recognize my path – and give me the determination to actually follow it.

Today’s Question by the reader : Beatriz

What is the best way for anyone to move on?

By not forgetting the road that has lead us there. But this memory should never be a stop sign in our path : it should be a reminder that most things can be overcome.

Today’s Question by the reader : Pholthep

From my understanding of reading all of your books, you believe that sex is some type of a gateway to God, sex is not a sin, sex is encouraged, etc. But also, you have written in your books that Jesus was ‘conceived without sin’, I know that it’s from the bible, but doesn’t that also suggest that sex is sinful?

Sex is never sinful as long as people are treated with dignity and the moment is apprehended in its sacrality. Concerning the “immaculate conception” – it is metaphor, a symbol that expresses the embodiment of God in our material world. The fact that Jesus was “conceived without sin” refers to God’s untainted descent to our world.

Sex is this sense – refers to our material descent. Unlike Christ’s.

Today’s Question by the reader : Pilar

Which are the most inspiring things for you?

After my Pilgrimage to Saint James, I realized the most extraordinary things are to be found in people. This is my source of inspiration.

Today’s Question by the reader : Regina

How does a person manage to win battles, specially deception?

The secret of life consists in falling seven times and getting up eight.

Today’s Question by the reader : Laurence

The idea of confrontation runs in all your novel s- is this your way of perceiving the world?

Yes – in my eyes confrontation is an intrinsic part of the nature – to deny this is to deny its own essence.

Today’s Question by the reader : Pedro

Your new novel , The Winner Stands Alone, seems like a direct attack towards the show bizz… Is that correct?

I wasn’t aiming at hat with my new novel – I rather wanted to explore the idea of the manipulation of dreams. Most people nowadays want to be known with no reason; they forget that it is necessary to actually build something in order for their recognition to be legitimate.

Today’s Question by the reader : Faouzi

With your new book – isn’t the thriller a new genre for you?

Actually I never meant to write a thriller but a faithful portrayal of our times and the entertainment world.

Today’s Question by the reader : Ignace

Igor, in your new book The Winner Stands Alone, kills for love so that he can destroy worlds and hence build a new one to receive his love. How did this idea come to you?

Igor thinks he kills for love – but I don’t think that such an act can actually build anything. His actions only bring desolation.

Today’s Question by the reader : Joséphina

Is Fashion, the reign of appearances for you?

I don’t have anything against fashion. It can be the expression of freedom and a way of liberation. It’s the case for instance of Coco Chanel who single handedly revolutionized conventions.

Of course, there are some tendencies that don’t really convince and can be quite alienating.

It’s always a question of perspective.

Today’s Question by the reader : Sylvie

Why, in your book The Winner Stands Alone, you chose Cannes? Have you been often to the Festival?

Indeed, I have been often to the Festival (by the way I am here now). Yet, even though the novel takes place in this movie festival, the main theme is actually fashion.

Today’s Question by the reader : Martin

Why do you tweet?

I tweet, as well as consult my blog, write in Myspace and share in Facebook because I can communicate in a direct basis with my readers.

I like the format of twitter – the short messages are a great way to get a point across quickly and directly.
I decided also to insert in the blog my tweets – in the sidebar – for readers to know what I am doing. I am in Cannes right now and want to share as much as possible.

Today’s Question by the reader : Cristina

Dear Paulo, in the beginning of Brida, there is a distinction between those who cultivate and those who build.

Does this represent a distinction between those who are linked to material things (builders), and those who are linked to spiritual things (farmers, those who cultivate)?

You can certainly apply the metaphor in the way you do.

For my part, I believe that you can also have builders and creators in the material or spiritual planes. For instance, we have dogmatic people in the spiritual plane and they tend to turn faith into something that forces others to act in a certain way. You can also have farmers in the material plane: take for instance all these webmasters that constantly shape the net without asking anything in return.

For me then the distinction is more precisely between those that are able to adapt themselves to others and the situations at hand, and those who are incapable of changing their perception.

Today’s Question by the reader : Stina

Should one listen to ones heart or brain? Or a mixture of both?

The world is a mixture of matter and spirit so: listen to your brain whenever you need to make material and practical decisions.

But listen to your heart whenever the problem at hand concerns your dreams and hopes.

As Saint Paul wrote in his letter to the Corinthians: “If I have all the eloquence of men or of angels, but speak without love, I am simply a gong booming or a cymbal clashing. If I have the gift of prophecy, understanding all the mysteries there are, and knowing everything, and if I have faith in all its fullness, to move mountains, but without love, then I am nothing at all. If I give away all that I possess, piece by piece, and if I even let them take my body to burn it, but am without love, it will do me no good whatever.”