Jeff Glor talks to Dan Zevin about "Dan Gets a Minivan: Life at the Intersection of Dude and Dad."
Jeff Glor: What inspired you to write the book?
Dan Zevin: Comic relief! There are tons of serious books about parenting that are full of information and research, but for couples with small kids, the one thing we really need is a good laugh. So many people who've read my book--dads and moms--have been telling me how great it feels to laugh out loud for a change, which makes me feel great. Trust me, I know how stressful it can be to raise little kids. We all thought nothing was going to change, and then everything changes. Look at me. I used to be dude living the coolest neighborhood in Brooklyn, now I'm a suburban dad driving my kids around in a minivan and going to Costco twice a week--and loving it! It's like I say in the book, "If life hands you a minivan, you may as well enjoy the ride."
JG: What surprised you the most during the writing process?
DZ: This is my fourth humor book, but it's the first one I've ever written as a parent, so the big surprise this time around was how hard it was to combine being a writer with being a dad. The title of one chapter in the book is "On No Longer Giving a Sh*t," and it's about the tendency to become less career-driven as you put more and more energy into your family. I'm the primary caretaker for the kids and my wife is the one with the "real" job, so I'd write one chapter, then it would sometimes take another month before I had enough time to write another one--or even longer after I went and sired a second child. Having children gives every writer what they're really looking for: an excuse not to write.
JG: What would you be doing if you weren't a writer?
DZ: My goal in life is to have a job that occasionally allows me to speak to other human beings older than nine. That's basically why I just started doing this YouTube talk show where I interview people inside my minivan. I just talk to interesting people I meet in the suburbs. My last guest was a birthday party clown. (http://www.youtube.com/DanZevinsStarVehicle ) I'm thinking of turning it into a radio talk show, like a call-in show where you could ask questions to the guest. So if I wasn't a writer, I would be some kind of "talker."
JG: What else are you reading right now?
DZ: Like lots of dudes who've become dads, most of my reading these days takes place at bedtime--my children's bedtime, not mine. So, the latest books I'm reading (aloud) (to my kids) are Trent Stuart's series, "The Mysterious Benedict Society," with my nine-year-old son; and, with my 6-year-old daughter, Mary Ann Hoberman's "You Read to Me, I'll Read to You," which is cool because it's designed so that you each take turns reading short sections to each other.
JG: What's next for you?
DZ: Adam Sandler's company just optioned "Dan Gets a Minivan" for a TV, along with my last book, "The Day I Turned Uncool." If someone ever told me that the way to get my name on the map as a writer was to move to the suburbs and drive a minivan, I would have done it a long time ago.
MORE VIDEO:Dan Zevin talks about loving the life that epitomizes the antithesis of "cool" - being a dad with a minivan.
For more on "Dan Gets a Minivan," visit his website.