Paolo Coelho knew from a young age that he wanted to be a writer. His traditional Catholic parents couldn't understand this impulse in their son, so Coelho's childhood and adolescence was a contentious one. He attended law school in a vain attempt to appease his parents, but quickly dropped out and became a lyricist for some of Brazil's most popular musicians. In 1986, Coelho walked the road of Santiago de Compostela, had an epiphany, and decided that he would become the writer he had always wanted to be. His novel, <i>The Alchemist</i>, published in 1988, sold more than 65 million copies in 56 different languages and launched Paolo Coelho on a path that would make him the all-time bestselling Portuguese language author.