But while I'm generally very pro-chasing-your-dreams, that s**t always carries the potential of turning ugly when your dream is to become filthy rich, and your means to chase it is to outright lie to everyone. It's possible that Leon Carmen, a 40-something taxi driver from Sydney, Australia, was aware of this, but he had a profitable story in his head, damn it, and he wasn't about to pull the brakes. His story was about an Aboriginal girl who's brutally taken from her parents at a young age and put in a white foster family. This tragic tale of Australia's Stolen Generations was a surefire hit, but there was one minor problem: As a middle-aged white dude, Carmen's roots were firmly on the novel's antagonists' side. Realizing this would give him the credibility of a fox pitching Watership Down in publishers' eyes, Carmen devised a cunning plan: He would become the Aboriginal woman in his book.
Writing under the pseudonym "Wanda Koolmatrie" and shaping his story as an autobiography, Carmen's book, My Own Sweet Time, became a smash hit, and earned rave reviews and literary awards upon its publication in 1994. The strangely elusive Ms. Koolmatrie became the toast of the Aboriginal rights movement, and everything seemed pretty sweet.
Must have been a good book, because no one was buying it based on the MS Paint cover.