Author Interview: Act III by Richard Romanus

Welcome to Actor & Author Richard Romanus

Born and raised in Vermont and Connecticut Richard Romanus (1943) attended Xavier
University and received a BS in Philosophy… Born and raised in Vermont and Connecticut Richard Romanus (1943) attended Xavier
University and received a BS in Philosophy. He then attended the University of Connecticut Law School for a year, after which he left school to pursue a career as an actor. He studied at the famous Actor’s Studio with Lee Strassberg and his first major role came as the character “Michael” in Martin Scorcese’s classic film Mean Streets. In the years that followed Richard Romanus performed in numerous stage productions, films and television shows. In addition to his acting, Richard Romanus is credited with the composer on several films. Together with his wife, Anthea Sylbert, he also wrote and produced Giving Up the Ghost in 1998 and If You Believe in 1999, for which they were nominated for a Writers Guild of America award for Best Original Screenplay.
Since the end of 2001 Richard and Anthea have been living in Skiathos, Greece.

Act III:
Richard Romanus on IMDB:

If you could travel in a Time Machine would you go back to the past or into the future?
Into the future. I already know about the past.

If you could invite any 5 people to dinner who would you choose?
Leonardo DaVinci, Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein, W.C. Fields, and my father, who was a dentist, because he would never have believed I could have assembled such a group.

If you were stranded on a desert island what 3 things would you want with you?
A picture of my wife and son, a machete, and a few yards of mosquito netting.

What is one book everyone should read?
Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations. It may inspire them to read the authors’ works.

If you could have any superpower what would you choose?

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
It’s funny, touching, thoughtful, and informative.

Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects?
My novel, Chrysalis, a love story set in Greece during WWII and the ensuing Civil War, is came out shortly after Act III. I am currently working on a series of short stories entitled, Sketches of Skiathos, about Skiathos Island and its inhabitants.

What inspired you to want to become a writer?
I have been writing as far back as I can remember. I wrote my first song at 3 years old.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
Standing in line at the Skiathos Post Office, I was approached by a man several places ahead of me who had been waiting half an hour to mail a letter to me. He was born in Skiathos and now lives in Thessaloniki and told me that whenever he missed Skiathos he would read the stories of Skiathos by Alexandros Papadiamantis. He was writing about the Skiathos of a hundred years ago, however, whereas my book , ACT III, was about his Skiathos, and he wanted to thank me for it.

What was your favorite book when you were a child/teen?
When I was a child I enjoyed a series of adventure books about a boy named Tom Swift.

What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?
Tell the truth.

If you could choose only one time period and place to live, when and where would you live and why?
I would choose to live in the present on the island of Skiathos. It has a foot in two worlds, old and new Greece. I can get smoked salmon and decaf espresso in the markets and still have to stop on the road to let a goat herd pass.

If you could be one of the Greek Gods, which would it be and why?
Zeus. Why be anyone lesser?

What is your favorite Quote?
“To thine own self be true.”

How did you know you should become an author?
A celebrated screenwriter, Alvin Sargent, who was ordinarily very shy, approached me after I delivered a eulogy for a friend of mine and said to me “You may not know it, but you’re a writer.” Afterwards, whenever I saw him, he would ask me if I was writing, and that I “should write every day”. I finally believed him and began to write seriously.

Who are your favorite authors of all time?
Charles Dickens, Honore Balzac, and Marcel Proust.

Can you see yourself in any of your characters?
ACT III is a memoir, so I am central to the book. Chrysalis has several characters which are inspired by aspects of myself, including the protagonist, a seventeen year old girl who has a severe myopia which we share.

What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?
Make each thing you do a prayer.


A successful Hollywood couple decides that if life is structured like a movie, then why shouldn’t the last act be spent indulging themselves in the hopes of realizing any leftover dreams? So the couple sells their house, pack up all of their belongings, and together with their large black standard poodle, Guido, and twenty-two boxes start their last act by deciding to go merrily on their way to no place in particular until they find paradise.
Their first stop is Skiathos Island, Greece. What ensues is a comedy where these two Hollywood types are forced to deal with the Byzantine labyrinth of Greek bureaucracy, the peculiar Hellenic version of time, and a complete host of new challenges such as the neighbours’ goats who insist on eating their newly planted English roses.
In the process the couple learns to appreciate and treasure the innocence and the generosity of the people of this small island and learn things about themselves that they had long forgotten in the pace and glitz of Hollywood. Paradise indeed.


Chrysalis tells the story of seventeen year old Maria Christina Triantafyllou, who lives in Metsovo, a small mountain village in Greece, where women are judged according to their physical strength. Tall, thin, gangly, and extremely myopic, Maria Christina lives in the shadow of her sister, who is considered a goddess in the village. Less evident is Maria Christina’s adoration for her sister’s husband, the handsome and accomplished village doctor.

Fate intervenes when Maria Christina’s dull life is abruptly interrupted by the onslaught of the Second World War and the overlapping Greek Civil War. Being the only western gate into the country, her village becomes a strategic location in both wars, which forces her to emerge from her cocoon and into the center of the turmoil. The crisis affects the fate of three generations, all of whom experience the peril of those years in different ways, changing not only the community and Maria Christina’s destiny, but also redefining the role of women in society.


  1. Richard Grupenhoff says:

    Is it possible to get in contact with Richard Romanus? I knew him in college, and have just read his wonderful book, Act III.