Paulo Coelho

Stories & Reflections

Today’s Question by Aart Hilal

Author: Paulo Coelho

The best-selling book, The Alchemist was published in 1988. It was supported by nearly hundred million readers. What do you think is the reason for the success? What do you think the current readers are seeking?

Regarding my success, I really don’t know why my characters are so popular in different parts of the world and in different cultures.

I don’t have a ready-made formula to apply when I embark on a new book, but I’m always controlled by many elements: discipline, compassion and a sincere eagerness to understand myself.

When I start a new book, I try to approach myself from a different angle. In The Alchemist, for example, I was trying to explain to myself what writing meant to me. The way I found to do this was through a metaphor.

In Eleven Minutes, I started with the question of why sexuality is considered one of the major issues in life. But I had my doubts. And that’s why the hero asks if it’s true that the world could revolve around 11 minutes. I talked a lot about sexual relations in the novel, but in the end I doubt if the world really revolves around sex.

In The Zahir, on the other hand, there is a kind of a snapshot of my present moment as a famous writer. The novel is full of comments on what it means to be rich and famous, on the nature of marriage and the responsibilities of the writer.

In my latest book, The Witch of Portobello I wanted to explore the feminine side of divinity, I wanted to plunge into the heart of the Great Mother.

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