The book follows a mentor-mentee relationship between a boy and a man named Tetsuya. Tetsuya is prodigious archer, though now retiered. When a boy searching for answers comes to him, Tetsuya answers them and describes life and it’s meaning beautifully, often using archery as an example.
In a recent blog post, Coelho wrote that this book was, “in a way, a breakdown of my experience in archery.”
He explained how he got the idea for the book saying, “One day I was sitting in my house in the Pyrenees and I thought how incredible it was, the archery, and I wanted to write a book about my experience. I wanted to write it at least for me to read, or to condense for myself. I tried to teach myself what I learned instinctively. Sometimes, when you learn, you have to sit down and understand what it was that you learned. In doing so, I wrote the book.”
It was in Pyrenees that he started learning archery. He has found the sport elegant from a young age and told himself he would one day learn it. In Pyrenees he was fortunate to find someone to teach him.
“This person started teaching me how to use the bow and arrows, and he taught me the basics of archery. It is going from an extreme tension to a total relaxation, in the very moment you open your hand. And it is indeed elegant, because you need the posture to shoot well. It is about learning how to focus and doing this kind of exercise not for the sake of doing exercise, but for the sake of doing something you want to do. And so I learned,” Coelho wrote.
He went on to say he never had a mentor like Tetsuya himself and then, to the disappointment of aspiring writers and his fans, added that he doesn’t give mentorships.
“I don’t mentor younger writers. Who am I to mentor anyone about anything? Of course, I get invitations for Master Classes, but I never accept because I have nothing to teach. I think writing is an experience in and of itself.”
He expressed how he enjoys fan feedback though, “I get a lot of letters about my books, and sometimes, they see things that I didn’t see, and tell me about them. I am very glad to read these, because I learn from them. I learn with them, about myself.”