In the first two weeks since her first novel published as an eBook, East Brainerd's Francine Fuqua has sold more than 350 copies of "In Pursuit of Abraham," which tells a fictional story about her grandfather,
George Falcoz-Vigne. Now that her book is available online, Fuqua is approaching movie producers with the creative version of her grandfather's story.
"It's a kind of biography of my grandfather, but it's also a fiction," Fuqua said. "A lot of what I wrote did happen, but a lot is also stuff I made up in my own mind."
Her grandfather worked as the director of a higher education program in France, but the building was bombed during World War II and he lost his job. So he decided to write a novel and tell the story of heroines such as Sarah from the Jewish Bible.
"He wanted to write the story from the women of the Bible, not the men," Fuqua said.
His research brought him into contact with Jewish families in France, but it also drew the attention of Nazi soldiers looking for Jewish sympathizers. The soldiers began hunting him down and visited his home several times to try to capture him. Fuqua's grandfather fled France and crossed the Alps with .help from Resistance leaders. He traveled on his own to Cairo, Egypt, where he decided to continue his research and writing by following the footsteps of Abraham. He finished his notes in 1947, but never published. Fuqua said her grandmother asked her to translate and publish the notes after her grandfather died in 1981.
Fuqua kept the notes for nearly 30 years, but didn't begin writing until her children were grown and she had the time. Fuqua herself was born in France and lived there until she was 20 years old before immigrating to the United States. She said she has a few strong memories from World War II such as eating boiled rutabagas when food supplies ran short. She lost her father when he was shot down in his airplane and three cousins during the war. At the tender age of 6, Fuqua remembers being pulled out of her home and into the courtyard with the other women and children in the area, where they were forced to watch Nazi soldiers execute one of their neighbors.
"I put that in the book," Fuqua said. "Basically, I do have a lot of my own memories from the war in there and stories my mother and grandmother told me."
Fuqua said the story of Sarah, which was written by her grandfather, is incorporated in the book as part of her character's research. "In Pursuit of Abraham" highlights a few facts before diving into a fictional tale where Fuqua's main character, George, embarks on a historical treasure hunt and comes face to face with both romance and betrayal.
"I'm starting on a sequel and I'm asking my readers what they think should happen next," Fuqua said.