Paulo Coelho

Stories & Reflections

Today’s Question by the reader : Livia

Author: Paulo Coelho

How difficult was it to write Eleven Minutes, for it was your first book that dealt with a subject as harsh as prostitution? How difficult was it to bring out the soul in a character immersed in such a life? How did your true life inspiration react to her story? Have you ever experienced such sexual awakening yourself?

I was in Switzerland during a book signing and met a reader that started to talk to me about the relation between body and soul. We talk a lot and the next day I invited her for a coffee. When we met at this café I had the feeling that I was in front of a story. Her story, and the story of other prostitutes that I interviewed during the writing process, gave me the background against which I created Maria. It’s curious how I start the book saying, “Once upon a time there was a prostitute called Maria”. It’s a contradiction because I’m juxtaposing a child’s tale with the harshness of an adult theme – prostitution. But I believe this is a true reflection of our lives. We always have a foot in the abyss and another in paradise. To know how to walk along the razor’s edge is a challenge. Sex is all about this fragile equilibrium.

Subscribe to Blog

Join 16.9K other subscribers

Stories & Reflections


Paulo Coelho Foundation

Gifts, keepsakes and other souvenirs