Last week, another writer with the same name and possibly even same birthdate as me contacted me out of nowhere via email regarding our names. He'd located a post on this blog from a couple years ago where I mentioned there being another Christopher Nadeau with an author page on Amazon in which I referred to his book as a gimmicky pastiche of emails. Well...it is. It's not a novel. It's not a collection of short stories or essays or a work of academic non-fiction or even investigative journalism.
The other me was understandably displeased with my analysis of his work and told me so, adding that I, as a fellow author, know what hard work it is to write a book. I do. Although, I'm not convinced copying and pasting emails qualifies, but I'll bet the formatting was a bitch, since it's a self-published work. He also reminded me that it was a comedic work, in case I didn't get that from the customer reviews declaring it hilarious.
The email culminated with a request for me to retract my comments (unless I'd read the entire thing, because everybody does that before deciding a book isn't for them, right?) and in return he would, at no small expense to himself, make an alteration to his name in order to ensure there would be no confusion as he embarks on a career of more writing and movie roles. Hey, it's what he wrote. I have no evidence one way or the other.
I asked two different writers, one also a publisher, what, if anything, they thought I should write back. Below is the email I sent.
You be the judge:
Hello, Other Chris.
I always wondered if we would "meet" somehow. As someone who doesn't make rash decisions regarding the writing field, I ran your email by a couple professionals whose opinions I respect: One publisher/author and one published author. The consensus was that requesting a retraction and apology from someone regarding a review is astoundingly unprofessional. Whether I read the entire book or not, I drew a conclusion based on what I felt was enough material. I understand its comedic intent. I did something similar to a supposed Nigerian chief's widow years ago on another blog where I implored her to send me money because neo-Nazis had burned down the church I claimed to be pastor of. It was an amusing gimmick and my readers enjoyed it. I am glad yours have as well. I will not be retracting or apologizing.
As far as having the same name, so be it. You and I dwell in very different genres. While there is humor in some of my work, I am not a humorist and my readers are aware of that fact. Early on, a couple of them thought mistakenly that I'd written your book and returned it when they discovered I had not. If you want to modify the spelling of your name, that is entirely up to you. As long as we're not both named "John Smith," I think we'll be just fine.
Frankly, it sounds like you're the one with the concerns over the same name issue. It doesn't take an intrepid reporter to find out that Googling our name brings up me and my work due to its sheer volume and the amount of interviews and reviews that have been written about it. Also, the copyright on my novel pre-dates yours by at least three years. No "compromise" is necessary as far as I am concerned.
Good luck to you!