The Friends of the Library and guests of the Marco Island Branch Library recently gathered for Books and Brews, a special guest lecture. Author of the Garage Sale Stalker series, Suzi Weinert discussed her personal background and the inspiration for her characters. Her unique story plots have garnished a successful novel series and movie deals.
Weinert’s fascination with garage sales began at an early age. As a child, her family moved regularly because her father was in the Air Force. After she finished college and married the love of her life, who happened to be an Army Officer, they moved 11 times. Always in search of a good deal, Weinert would find herself at bazaars and thrift shops both on and off base. She found solace in garage sales wherever she moved, which later inspired her first book.
In her first novel, “Garage Sale Stalker,” the protagonist Jennifer Shannon lives in an affluent city in Virginia where she frequents garage sales. Jennifer unknowingly discovers a hidden world of child abuse and murder. Weinert, saddened by real life headlines of child abuse, wove the issue into her novel. She conducted extensive research for accuracy, contacting the Fairfax Police Department in northern Virginia and Child Protective Services, and keeping a running file of newspaper stories of child abuse.
The series continues in “Garage Sale Diamonds,” when Jennifer discovers diamonds inside a doll, setting off terrorists to reclaim the accidental purchase. The story involves serious issues, such as human trafficking, domestic abuse, and homeland security.
In Weinert’s third novel, “Garage Sale Riddle,” Jennifer buys an old painting at an estate sale and discovers a riddle hidden behind the backing. She travels to Naples, Florida to help move her elderly mother back to Virginia, all while trying to find the hidden treasure and avoid her killer. The novel offers a perspective on aging in America. Readers learn about how the older population impacts our society’s economy, and how the elderly are often targeted by scammers. As each mystery unfolds, carefully crafted social issues emerge. This helped the series gain serious attention from movie executives.
Weinert discussed when a Hollywood producer called to pitch the idea her first book being made into a film. The process of screenplay writing differs from writing a novel, so a team of experts helped digest each story and produced a flow fit for the screen. Weinert even made a brief cameo appearance in the first film. Since her first novel, Weinert has contributed to 11 Hallmark two-hour movies; “Garage Sale Mystery,” “All That Glitters,” “The Deadly Room,” “The Wedding Dress,” “The Novel Murders,” “Guilty Until Proven Innocent,” “The Art of Murder,” “The Beach Murder,” “Murder by Text,” “Murder Most Medieval,” and “A Case for Murder.” Her twelfth film will be released later this year.
The author encourages everyone to write for expression, no matter what age you are. “It’s never too late to discover your talent,” Weinert remarked. “Writing a novel is like driving at night. You can only see as far as your headlights.”
For more information on the series and author Suzi Weinert, visit www.SuziWeinert.com. Books and Brews is hosted by the Friends of the Library at the Marco Island Branch Library located at 210 S. Heathwood Drive. Call 239-394-3272 for lectures and future event information.