Editors warn authors against putting things in their contemporary novels that will “date” the books unless a project is already anchored somehow in time. As I watched the Italians lose their final game of group playof th 2010 World Cup, I wondered whether DEFENDING IRENE had made the jump from contemporary sports fiction to historical sports fiction. Soccer isn’t just the national pasttime for Italians; it’s the national passion. I was pretty sure that Matteo had dissed American soccer at some point. And naturally, he couldn’t have done that if the Americans had gone on to the group of 16 while the Italians had gone home. But as I flipped through the pages to some of the key scenes, I saw to my very great relief that he hadn’t.
Of course, a lot of things have changed since my girls’ soccer novel was published back in 2004. There’s one section where my main character emails a friend. These days, Irene would probably be updating her status on Facebook. But overall, I think that the email still works in the context of the book.