SMITH: If I’m honest with you, I feel that this book is the first book that I’ve really written as an adult. For a lot of people this would be their first novel. I’m 36. It happens that I wrote three books as a very young person. I don’t think it’s uncommon. There are a lot of British writers who started young, from Dickens to Amis to McEwan. But they were much more sure of themselves as young writers than I was. Your mid-thirties is a good time because you know a fair amount, you have some self-control. I knew my own mind a bit more. And I stopped trying to please people.