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Third time’s the charm

Suzi Weinert releases her third book in the Garage Sale series

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March 8th, 2017
Ashy Ponds community member Suzi Weinert celebrates the release of her novel Garage Sale Riddle, the third installment in her Garage Sale series.

Ashy Ponds community member Suzi Weinert celebrates the release of her novel "Garage Sale Riddle", the third installment in her Garage Sale series.

“Writing is an extreme privilege, but it’s also a gift. It’s a gift to yourself, and it’s a gift of giving a story to someone.”—American novelist Amy Tan

Suzi Weinert has given that gift freely throughout her life. 

“In second grade my teacher asked us to write sentences using our spelling words,” she says. “For some reason, I linked mine together into mystery stories that I would read in front of the class.”

The love of storytelling also led Suzi to minor in creative writing in college. Even now, she spins terrific tales to her grandchildren when asked to tell them a bedtime story. But it was not until the age of 75 that Suzi wrote her first novel, Garage Sale Stalker, a 351-page fictional thriller about a woman, Jennifer Shannon, who tracks down a killer, Ruger Yates, as a result of a yard sale connection.

“My experience shows that it is never too late to discover and explore new talents,” she says. “This was the only book I ever expected to write, but when I finished the book, my publisher said, ‘Oh no. You’re onto something big. This is just the first of your Garage Sale series.’”

Suzi followed her first novel with a second mystery, Garage Sale Diamonds, in 2014, and a year later moved with her husband, a retired Army brigadier general, to Ashby Ponds, an Erickson Living community in Ashburn, Va.

Since moving to the community, she completed her third and recently released book in the series, Garage Sale Riddle.

“In this latest mystery, Jennifer buys an old framed painting and soon discovers a mysterious map and riddle hidden inside,” says Suzi. “She must outwit a wealthy and powerful Civil War artifact collector who believes the map and riddle lead to a historic treasure. At the same time, Jennifer must fight to rescue her aging mother from a devious criminal preying on seniors.”

Expanding her following

Suzi’s stories and the mysteries she creates continually captivate a growing number of readers. During the writing of her second novel, Garage Sale Diamonds, her writing caught the attention of a Hollywood production company. She was approached about making a TV movie based on Garage Sale Stalker, for the Hallmark Channel, starring Lori Loughlin.

“We signed a contract giving the production company the right to use the book’s characters as well as the concept of danger springing from something happening at garage sales,” she says. “The movies are all based on my work, but the screenplays are their own stories. Interestingly enough, the producer says his first movie in the series, Garage Sale Mystery, received such history-making viewership that Hallmark actually changed the name of their second channel from Hallmark Movie Channel to Hallmark Movie & Mystery Channel.”

The seventh movie in the Garage Sale Mystery series, The Art of Murder, premiered this past January. 

“It’s thrilling to see my characters on the screen,” she says.

True calling

Suzi admits that her love of reading fueled her desire to write her own stories.

“I like to read books that contain enough information that I learn while being entertained by the story,” she says. “So those are the kinds of books I write. In the midst of shaping a compelling mystery, my first book explored the issue of child abuse, my second book dealt with Middle Eastern terrorism, and my newest book explores aging in America.”

Since moving to Ashby Ponds, Suzi has made a point to meet the community’s other authors and is working to rekindle the Authors Club. She now writes for the resident-run quarterly news publication Around the Pond.

“I also regularly attend a variety of educational lectures, the book-reading club in my building, and enjoy Ashby Ponds’ many trips to the Kennedy Center, wine tastings, and band concerts,” she says.

But first and foremost, Suzi makes time for writing and encouraging her neighbors to consider writing their memoirs.

“Writing is storytelling, and everyone at Ashby Ponds has an important story to tell,” she says. “Penning one’s memoirs is a significant and engaging assignment. No one has ever lived your life but you. Only you can be the one to tell that story. Along with the facts, it’s an opportunity to share what you’ve learned along the way and how circumstances contrived to result in the person you are today.”

Despite her busy lifestyle, Suzi is currently gathering ideas for a possible fourth novel in the Garage Sale series. 

“I’m considering setting the novel in a community similar to Ashby Ponds,” she says. “My story’s senior residents will experience adventure, intrigue, and mishaps. But don’t worry. Jennifer will solve everything!”

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