“Garage Sale Mystery” book series author Suzi Weinert keeps on moving
By Randall Kenneth Jones
Originally published in the Naples Daily News
Former “military brat,” current military wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and Naples resident Suzi Weinert has found herself rebranded—yet again.
No longer is Weinert known just as “the general’s wife.” In fact, retired Brigadier General Don Weinert has increasingly become known as “the author’s husband.”
With the publication of her first two books: “Garage Sale Stalker” (2010) and “Garage Sale Diamonds” (2013), Weinert has put an end to the mystery of “success after 70.” Her next project, “Garage Sale Riddle,” is slated for release in 2015.
Born in Detroit, Weinert made the first of 10 childhood moves just three weeks later. Her father, Wilford Maschmeyer, a colonel in the U.S. Air Force, fought in WW II and died while on active duty in l953.
In 1957, she married West Point graduate Don Weinert. Over the course of his career, she successfully navigated her husband and five children through 11 more military moves—eventually landing in McLean, Virginia, for a record 25-year stint.
“Moving so many times creates a daunting drag to some, but an opportunity for stimulation and growth to others,” says Weinert.
Her resultant skills: curiosity, fortitude and a careful balance of flexibility and stability.
Due to the “unload and reload” reality for our nomadic military families, Weinert often turned to military thrift shops, a practice that matched her infatuation with another bastion of American consumerism: garage sales.
However, having so often seen her personal memories sell for $0.50 to $5, Suzi Weinert understood something many of us have overlooked: “Every garage sale has a story. People die but their things continue to circulate.”
Weinert continues, “Garage sales also tell a story about the people involved: the books read, the items collected, the music enjoyed—it’s really quite revealing.”
In fact, Weinert’s literary heroine—thrifty, crime-solving sleuth Jennifer Shannon—is no different from any number of moms. “Logic and intuition are an important part of the problem-solving tool kit,” says Weinert.
The same should be said of all successful business people.
Not surprising, Jennifer Shannon’s skills include: curiosity, fortitude and a careful balance of flexibility and stability.
Thanks to Hallmark Channel, Weinert’s cunning characters jumped effortlessly from page to screen in 2013.
The first film adaptation, “Garage Sale Mystery,” starred Lori Loughlin (“Full House”) and attracted millions of viewers. The movie was so popular that Hallmark ordered another installment. “Garage Sale Mystery: All That Glitters,” a Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Original, will premiere on Sunday, October 26 (9p.m. ET/PT, 8C).
Though Producer Jonathan Axelrod describes Weinert’s original manuscripts as “too violent for Hallmark,” he found her premise enormously engaging and the subsequent burst of Garage Sale moviemaking reflects Weinert’s well-crafted characters. As Axelrod puts it: “The books are the foundation and we’re the builders.”
Peter DeLuise, who directed both films, recalls the excitement and responsibility of having the author visit the set. “I really wanted her to see that we respected her original characters.”
DeLuise, the son of legendary actor Dom DeLuise, has his own scavenger-hunt back story. The proud son of a “trash man,” Dom DeLuise would regularly load his young family into the car to comb through the neighborhood’s curbed refuse—albeit, a very non-traditional family activity in tony Pacific Palisades, California.
Even Young DeLuise’s catcher’s mitt was purchased at a garage sale for 50 cents. “Had we found a first-baseman’s mitt, I guess I would have played first base,” quips DeLuise.
DeLuise’s experience represents more proof to the widespread theory: “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” A concept that works in any number of professional settings—and one that Weinert has literally taken to the bank.
More recently, Hallmark announced the launch of the network’s first-ever Original Mystery Wheel Franchise. Scheduled for 2015, the “wheel” consists of a three-part, two-hour series of films airing in alternation of one another.
As a result, even more “Garage Sale Mystery” films are currently in development.
Though DeLuise cleverly asserts: “When Jennifer Shannon shows up, people are going to die,” Weinert’s Jennifer Shannon is alive and well and flourishing at Hallmark.
As for Producer Alexrod’s spin on the series creator: “I just wish Suzi had started writing earlier—she has a God-given talent.”
So what’s the secret to Weinert’s unexpected success? Though not consciously trying to be the poster child for geriatric achievement, at age 79, Suzi Weinert simply keeps moving. It’s second nature to her.
Just like her intuitive heroine Jennifer Shannon, Weinert has also learned the following important lesson: regardless of your age, just follow your instincts.
For more, visit SuziWeinert.com.
Marketer, publicist, business humorist, professional-courtesy advocate, branded-content writer, creative-development consultant, and entertaining motivational speaker Randall Kenneth Jones is the creator of RediscoverCourtesy.org and the president of MindZoo, a marketing communications firm in Naples, Florida.
Photos: TOP — Lori Loughlin as Jennifer Shannon, “Garage Sale Mystery” promotional photo (courtesy Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel); Photo 2 — Suzi Weinert; Photo 3 — “Garage Sale Stalker” by Suzi Weinert; Photo 4 — Lori Loughlin as Jennifer Shannon, “Garage Sale Mystery” promotional photo (courtesy Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel) ; Photo 5 — Lori Laughlin and Suzi Weinert; BOTTOM — Randall Kenneth Jones.