Popular author Paulo Coelho doesn't like to talk about what he is writing and locks himself in and practically speaks to no one while working on a book.
The master storyteller from Brazil has come out with his new book "Hippie", in which he tells the tale of Paulo, a young, skinny Brazilian man with a goatee and long, flowing hair, who wants to become a writer and sets off on a journey in search of a deeper meaning of his life.
Coelho says all the characters in the book are real but with the exception of two - whose names were changed due to the complete impossibility of finding them.
He took the episode from the prison at Ponta Grossa (in 1968) and added details from two others to which he was subjected to during the military dictatorship (in May 1974, when he was working as a songwriter).
"When I write a book, I lock myself in and practically speak to no one, and I don't like to talk about what I'm writing," he says.
"Christina Oiticica (his wife) pretends not to know, and I pretend to believe that she doesn't know," he adds.
In "Hippie", published by Penguin Random House, Coelho, drawing on the rich experience of his life, takes readers back in time to relive the dreams of a generation that longed for peace and dared to challenge the established social order.
Paulo's travels take him from South America to the famous Dam Square in Amsterdam filled with young people wearing vibrant clothes and burning incense, meditating and playing music, while discussing sexual liberation, the expansion of consciousness, and the search for an inner truth.
There he meets Karla, a Dutch woman in her 20s who has been waiting to find the ideal companion to accompany her on the fabled hippie trail to Nepal. She convinces Paulo to join her on a trip aboard the Magic Bus that travels across Europe and Central Asia to Kathmandu.
They embark on the journey in the company of fascinating fellow travellers, each of whom has a story to tell, and each of whom will undergo a personal transformation, changing their priorities and values along the way.
As they travel together, Paulo and Karla explore their own relationship: a life-defining love story that awakens them on every level and leads to choices and decisions that will set the course for their lives thereafter.
Incidentally, Coelho's wife drew the map of the entire Magic Bus route.
Coelho's books have been translated into 80 languages. His 1988 novel, "The Alchemist", has been cited as an inspiration by people as diverse as Malala Yousafzai and Pharrell Williams.
(With inputs from agencies.)