From A Virtual Fling To The Real Thing: Diary Of An Internet Relationship provides a humorous narrative of a developing romance as the reader follows the true story of how the authors met over the Internet.
From the tentative musings of Claire as she first spots Sam's photograph on a dating site, overcomes her resistance to Internet dating and finally makes the decision to contact Sam to their actual first meeting two and a half months later after several hundred e-mail exchanges, the book provides an insightful look into the thoughts, feelings and viewpoints of two strangers as they virtually come to know each other.
From A Virtual Fling To The Real Thing portrays the situation from both the female and the male perspective allowing a glimpse into both sides of the story, through their e-mails and their own individual reflections. It is a unique, personal and factual look at one couple's successful experience with internet dating. As in a 'face-to-face' romance you follow along with their hopes, their doubts, their anxieties and ultimately their joy.
While the book, written in diary format, has been slightly fictionalized, the story is factual. The characters, Claire and Sam represent the authors. Their feelings reflect what the authors felt during their months of e-mail communication. Although some of the emails contained in the book have been slightly edited, they are the original ones the couple sent to each other over the two and a half month period before they met. The book details their emotional journey filled with hope and humor towards one another before their first date and their impressions upon finally meeting in person. The book represents what can happen if people are willing to take a chance and virtually believe in romance. And of course, the ending is real.
The co-authors Maria Almudevar-van Santen, a Canadian national living in Switzerland, and Onno van Santen, a Dutch national living in England, met via an Internet dating site. Given the distance, it was not likely they would have met through 'conventional' means. When asked the question, "How did you meet?", they noted that as soon as the phrase 'via the Internet' was uttered, they had a captive audience. Thus, they decided to put their story to paper using the emails they had written and the thoughts that went with them, during the two and a half months before they met in person. The result is a humourous look at the world of Internet dating from both the male and female perspective.
They married in April 2002 and now live in Canada where they are both working on other writing projects for adults and children.