I was too much a New Yorker, always second-guessing the 'market.' I became so discouraged that I decided to write something that would please me alone - that became my sole criterion. And that was when I wrote 'Forgetting Elena,' the first novel I got published.
There ought to be more grants that go to people in their late twenties and early thirties. That's a crucial age, although it's very hard to judge who is worth supporting and who is not. Looking back on my own life, I see that was the period when I was closest to giving up as a novelist and when I most needed some encouragement.
I suppose people hadn't really thought each decade should have its own character and be different from the others till the 1920s, although I remember in a nineteenth-century Russian novel someone remarked that a character was a typical man of the 1830s - progressive and an atheist.