OT Brida, your latest book, is about a young girl&rsquos quest for knowledge. The Alchemist, perhaps your most well-known work, sees the protagonist heading out in search of the Pyramids. Would you say that journeys play a key role in your writing
Paulo Coelho I am first and foremost a pilgrim. I say this because to me all wanderings are important since you can extract from anything in life a teaching, something that will make sense to you. You have to look at life itself as a pilgrimage. You must get as much as you can from the journey, because &mdash in the end &mdash the journey is all you have.
OT Are you fond of travelling yourself Or are you happiest when in front of your typewriter in a quiet room
Paulo Coelho For me being alive &mdash meaning being able to meet people and travel &mdash is what brings me joy. It&rsquos only by living intensely that I&rsquom able to gather enough experiences and emotions to later guide me when I decide to write.
OT Do real locations play a crucial role in your narratives Or are you an alchemist who can effortlessly conjure up imaginary locations to suit the particular parable you are exploring
Paulo Coelho Every day is different, every day can have a magic moment, but we don&rsquot see the opportunity, because we think, &ldquoOh, this is boring. I&rsquom just commuting to work.&rdquo Real events, memories, longings, other stories &mdash all fuse when I embark on a new story. My literature is much more the result of a paradox than that of an implacable logic.
OT One can argue that your books are about the journey within. But is there also a travel book lurking in you somewhere Any particular place you would like to write about
Paulo Coelho I&rsquom a pilgrim writer and that inevitably appears in the way my characters deal with space. I&rsquom in constant movement and very often I find that my characters need to equally find themselves in a journey. I believe that we are constantly experiencing transformation and that&rsquos why we need to let life guide us. That&rsquos what the main character in The Witch of Portobello, Athena, for instance, does. She runs the world in order to discover herself. The physical journey mimics the psychological one in the sense that it&rsquos only through this experience that she is able to grasp the deeper meaning of her life, the reason for her wanderings.
OT You hail from Brazil, one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Where do you like travelling in your own country
Paulo Coelho There are many wonderful places in my country, but I must say it is my hometown, Rio de Janeiro, that always mesmerises me.