Chris Stewart is the unlikely author of a book that has sold over a million copies. The path that took him from a schoolboy in England to drummer for the band Genesis to twenty five years of combining sheep shearing with fulfilling his wanderlust eventually led to the purchase of a mountain farm in the province of Granada, Spain.
Chris was convinced by friends Mark Ellingham and Nat Jansz to write about his experience of purchasing an abandoned farm in the Alpujarras and taming it into a home for himself, his wife Ana and their daughter Chloe.
He started writing the book in 1996 and “Driving Over Lemons” was published in 1999. With no intention of being an author and his head to the grindstone working on the farm Chris had not kept any notes and wrote the book from his memories of their adventure.
On a two month trip to Portugal, pre-Kindle days and out of English reading material, I wandered into The Owl Book Shop in Lagos and found “Driving Over Lemons”. It was humorous and engaging, plus it spoke to my ever present desire to someday chuck it all and live abroad. Two days later I was back at The Owl purchasing the sequels, “A Parrot in the Pepper Tree”
and “The Almond Blossom Appreciation Society”.[amazon asin=B006WB7KRC&template=image]
“Driving Over Lemons”, tells the story of Ana and Chris’ adventure that started with a trip to Andalucía in the south of Spain. While there they found the abandoned farm in the Alpujarras, over the mountains from Granada. In their early years in Spain daughter Chloé was born and the family says Chris, “eked out …a precarious but interesting living”. To make ends meet they collected seeds and Chris sheared sheep all over the Alpujarra.
After eight years Chris’ friends suggested he write about their adventures and struggles setting in a new country. The book was an unexpected success. According to Chris, “I discovered what it was that I really wanted to do with my life: I loved the writing, and although there’s a part of me that’s a little sad no longer to be a sheep shearer, or a sailor, or a musician… and although I still find it hard to take seriously the idea of work that doesn’t get you dirty, I have a wonderful time being a writer”. Read more about Chris at his website.