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It's not often a book excites the 'family emotion' in me as much as Harry and Elizabeth's It Had To Be Us did for me. To read the turmoil and turnaround in their lives instilled in me only further how life has a way of passing us by. For this reason I wanted to give you a glimpse into Harry and Elizabeth's lives.

“Thanks, Lea, for the opportunity to be interviewed on The Muse Book Reviews site. We met in high school, began dating, which consisted mostly of going to movies, and married each other (for the first time!) a year after graduation. Our marriage lasted for 24 years. After our divorce, we didn’t see each other for almost two decades. When we accidentally met again, Cupid worked his magic on us and we re-married. Our family and friends wanted to know how in the world we got back together after such a long period of estrangement, so each one of us decided to write our version of the important events in our romantic journey. IT HAD TO BE US is the result. And we still see a lot of movies, probably around 200 a year.”  

Many writers have an 'idol' who has helped them along in their writing career, by studying their genre, their style. Do you have a favorite writer? If so, how have they inspired you?

HARRY:  Charles Dickens wins my vote as the best author of all time – so, of course, he’s my favorite.  But there’s no way I would even dream of coming up to his standards.  No worries, though, because the only book I’ll ever write is IT HAD TO BE US. I’m happy playing golf and letting my wife do the rest of the writing.


ELIZABETH:  Although my husband doesn’t want to do any more writing, he’s much better at it than I am – as can be seen in his sections of our little romantic memoir. I agree with Harry about Charles Dickens. No author captures the emotions and quirks of their characters with such artistry and authenticity! But, in terms of writing a memoir, I think reading Frank McCourt’s ANGELA’S ASHES helped me understand the importance of including humor in your book – even when dealing with serious matters.    


What are some of the 'high's' and 'low's' you have experienced as a writer/reviewer while establishing your career?


HARRY: For me, the ‘high’ came when I finished writing! Since I’m not interested in a career as a writer, I yield my time on this question to my wife.


ELIZABETH: After co-authoring IT HAD TO BE US, I wrote (under my real name, Betty Jo Tucker) a humorous life-at-the-movies memoir titled CONFESSIONS OF A MOVIE ADDICT, followed by an analysis of Susan Sarandon’s film career, SUSAN SARANDON: A TRUE MAVERICK. The ‘highs’ have involved hearing from readers who share their reactions to these books with me. The ‘lows’ all relate to promotional efforts. I love to write, but self-promotion is way down on my list of favorite activities. That’s why I appreciate The Muse Book Reviews site so much, Lea!


Do you find an agent a necessary step in your writing career? If so, what are some of your experiences and feelings with any initial agent contact? If no agent, then how did you come about choosing your present publisher?


HARRY:  Why get an agent?  We don’t need anyone from the FBI or CIA messing around with IT HAD TO BE US.


ELIZABETH:  See what I have to put up with, Lea? But, seriously, I’ve never considered obtaining an agent. Our first publisher saw the draft of IT HAD TO BE US as work-shopped on a writing website and picked it up as one of their inaugural offerings. Later, TRC (The Romance Club) published it as an E-Book with some additional items, like the recipes you mentioned in your wonderful review. For my other two books, I wanted to get them out quickly, so I went with Hats Off Books, a print-on-demand publisher.


Did you start off with writing goals? If so, which ones have been achieved and what are your future goals?


HARRY: My goal was to write as honestly as possible about the events that brought Elizabeth and I back together. I hope that comes through in IT HAD TO BE US. Although I put in a lot of humor, writing everything down was quite an emotional experience for me.


ELIZABETH: Like my husband, writing as honestly as I could was my main goal while working on our romantic memoir. And that remains important to me now in my work as the lead film critic for But I also try to write entertaining, insightful reviews that give readers a different way of looking at a movie. 


Being a writer/reviewer, I know time management is a heavy duty load to handle with family and outside commitments. How do you handle time management? Can you give us a brief timetable of your day and/or methods you use to prod you to write?


HARRY: Being retired, I admit to letting my wife handle all aspects of time management.


ELIZABETH: Not quite all aspects, dear. You take care of tee times and everything else related to golf. Where I’m concerned, sorry to report that most of my time management problems involve sitting too long in front of a computer: I seem to live in cyberspace. But I don’t need anything to prod me to write. There’s always a movie to praise or pan! 


Writers need a constant source of writing articles and outside motivation. Do you find your immediate circle of friends understanding to the time you devote to your writing career?


HARRY: I’m happy Elizabeth loves to write, and I really like to read her movie reviews. But she could spend more time doing other things. Going outside might be a good start.


ELIZABETH: Hmm. What my husband just said probably summarizes how my friends and family feel about all the time I spend at the computer writing and editing. I’ll try to do better.  


Your book received a great review on The Muse Book Reviews. What was your inspiration and purpose in writing this book?


HARRY:  We’re glad you enjoyed our little romantic memoir, Lea.  And thanks for that terrific review! Our surprising reconciliation was the inspiration for this book. We wanted to explain how it happened.


ELIZABETH: We didn’t intend for IT HAD TO BE US to be published. As mentioned before, we wrote our reactions down as a way to let our friends and family know how such a miracle happened. But one day I was reading over our notes and thought, “Hey, this is good stuff,” maybe others would benefit from reading it. So I did a bit of editing and posted it as a novella on the Zoetrope Virtual Studio website.


Where can our readers hook up to find out more on your writing career and any new projects in the works?

HARRY:  Readers can find out more information about us by clicking on the following URL:

ELIZABETH: For more information about Betty Jo Tucker, click on:

And to read my movie reviews and film-related articles, go to:

When did the idea to write a book on Susan Sarandon come about and was this a collaborated effort with Susan?

ELIZABETH: When a publisher asked me to write a book about a film star, I thought Susan Sarandon would be a fascinating subject. Mention this remarkable actress in any conversation and things perk up considerably. Sarandon has portrayed some of the most unforgettable female characters on film, and her outspoken support of various causes has made her one of America’s most controversial celebrities. My book, which is not entirely complimentary, was written without Sarandon’s approval or co-operation. However, it does include some information from a personal interview I had previously with Sarandon for other outlets as well as from interviews with people who’ve worked with her.

HARRY: I’d like to add that I’m happy my wife hasn’t been sued over this one yet.     

Do you have any words of wisdom to pass on to new writers?

ELIZABETH: Write something every day.


HARRY:  Shoot from the heart, but remember to aim at the funny bone as often as you can. 

As you can evaluate from this interview, Harry and Elizabeth not only possess good humor and spunk but the love flowing between these two comes across by their words. 


My initial reaction when I first approached the book to review...another sob story. How wrong. The down-to-earth, back and forth chapters (Harry's views then Elizabeth's interpretations of the same situation) made this a delightful read. I loved the way one of them interpreted a similar situation with a completely different view at times. This kept me reading because it just proved how at times a man or woman sees things differently than the other.

Please stay tuned for updates on an upcoming chat with Harry and Elizabeth and their ongoing saga. Updates will be posted on homepage.

Thank you Harry and Elizabeth in allowing us a glimpse of how two people, after so many years apart, can get back together again and work side by side and complete a project together. May your humor and love continue to shine.

Lea Schizas

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