Chris Stewart, born in 1950, is a farmer and author who shot to fame
with his first book, Driving Over Lemons in 1999. Funny, insightful and real,
the book told the story of how he bought and a peasant farm, in Andalusia, Spain,
on the wrong side of the river, with its previous owner still a resident. It became
an international bestseller, along with its sequels – A Parrot in the Pepper
Tree, The Almond Blossom Appreciation Society and Three Ways to Capsize a Boat. His latest book is Last Days of the Bus Club.
Before he became a writer, Stewart was the original drummer in Genesis (he played on the first album), then joined a circus, was an asistant pig-farmer, learned how to shear sheep, went to China to write the Rough Guide, gained a pilot's license in Los Angeles, and completed a course in French cooking. He finally bought the farm in Spain, where he lives with his wife, Ana and daughter, Chloe. All his books are autobiographical, talking about his many experiences in life.
Chris Stewart's website
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A Conversation with Chris Stewart, author of Driving Over Lemons
Let's first get some background -- how did you first get started in music?
Music, well, it was a long time ago. I'd have been about 13 when I saw Summer Holiday and the Young Ones, starring Cliff Richard. (For the benefit of your people, Cliff Richard is a sort of sanitized British version of Elvis Presley -- looser fitting trousers and rather more modest movements of the hips.) I wanted to be Cliff Richard, a ridiculous ambition engendered by his apparently phenomenal success with women, as portrayed on the screen at any rate. I saw this odd trans-substantiation as being the key to finding a mate, a quest which from the age of 12 started to occupy my every waking moment. The first step was to buy an old Spanish guitar.
I was quite devoid of musical talent, couldn't even tune the thing, but in the knowledge that a minimal mastery of this sonorous wooden box would secure me all the sex and love I could cope with, I persevered. I practiced till the blisters beneath the blisters on my fingertips were blue. In time, I achieved a certain pathetic proficiency; I mastered a Bourrée by Bach, a couple of simple pop songs, and found myself a ...
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