In the early 90's Regina wrote the second grade curriculum for World Class Social Studies for the Portsmouth City Public Schools, Portsmouth, Virginia. She was also the 1993 city-wide 2nd grade curriculum writer for Family Life Education for the same school system.
Regina has written more than 100 poems, including The Neighbors We Should Be, Another Day, The Effects of Hurricane Katrina on our Nation, God Is Getting Our Attention, Anchorman Peter Jennings, My Three Best Friends, Thank You Rev. Dr. Kenneth Eugene Lillard, My First Teacher, My Favorite Pharmacist 2010, Farewell Kappa Sweetheart, Melvin Twitty, and The Presidential Election of History.
As an author, Regina has also written a professional book entitled 'Teaching in Elementary Schools: The Real Deal'. This book explains the ins and outs of being a teacher. Her poems and educational resource allow the reader to become involved in situations they have encountered at some point in life. Regina was featured in the January 1977 magazine, Early Years for Teachers through Grade Three. This experience explained her expertise in reinforcing math skills for second grade students who were having problems.
Her local newspaper, The Virginian-Pilot featured her in two of its city circulars in 2007 entitled The Currents and The Clipper. These articles made reference to what led her to become an author which caused her to publish her first book, ‘Poetry from the Heart,' in October 2006. The newspaper coverage in these circulars, in February and March 2007, led to her being featured in the 2007 May/June issue of Tidewater Teacher, A Magazine for Teachers Across Hampton Roads. The article entitled 'Moving On' made reference to Regina being the retiring elementary teacher who was now moving on to further pursue her passion for writing. Regina is now the author of three books. Her third book, 'Coffee Table Poetry: Experiencing the Power of Poetic Literature,’ was published February 29, 2012.
Regina received the Apple for the Teacher Award in 1996 sponsored by Iota Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc. In 2000 a Certificate of Appreciation in recognition of dedicated services rendered in the field of education was presented to her by Delicados, Inc. Portsmouth, Virginia Chapter at their 8th Black Educators' Awards Dinner.
On November 18, 2010. Elizabeth City State University School of Education and Psychology, Elizabeth City, North Carolina, held its International American Education Assembly Program. There were six authors honored at this program. Regina was the only retired elementary teacher recognized. The other five honorees were Elizabeth City State University professors.
On June 24, 2012, Regina was one of fourteen honored by the Area II NAACP ACT-SO Coalition at their "Tribute to Excellence Awards Celebration." This honor recognized role models from the Hampton Roads area who have made outstanding achievements. Her categories of recognition were poetry/education.
Regina's published books were put on display at her undergraduate university (NSU) bookstore on October 10, 2012. Her first poetry book was displayed during Black History Month earlier in the year.
She was recently honored as Author of the Month by UBAWA (Urban Books, Authors, and Writers of America) for the month of December 2012. UBAWA was founded in 2010 by Danielle Leach which features an online network of authors across the country.
Regina was also the winner of We Read Literary Services "What Christmas Means To Me" 2012 Contest. She will receive one custom designed book cover.
Regina is a Silver Star and Life Member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. (Gamma Delta Omega Chapter, Portsmouth, Virginia). She is a native of Portsmouth, Virginia, but now resides in Chesapeake, Virginia with her husband, Alton. They are the proud parents of one adult son, Jason, and one adult daughter, Andrea.
About “Coffee Table Poetry”
Coffee Table Poetry: Experiencing the Power of Poetic Literature was written to inspire everyone needing encouragement to excel.
“Reading my poems will enable you to appreciate what you have accomplished in life. Every poem is written from my own personal point of view. My poems have had an effect on my life, making me strive for higher goals. I know others will achieve desired goals in life too.” –Regina Southall
UBAWA: When did you first decide you wanted to become an author?
Regina: Although I wrote my first poem when I was a senior in high school, I didn't feel I was a writer and poet until I became a teacher in 1970. I was always writing lesson plans, creating workshop programs, developing curriculums, and attending in-services that required extended written assignments, making presentations, and always having to write something for school during my hours away from school. I always said as a young child growing up, one day I would have a book I have written on a shelf in a bookstore one day. I guess my destiny was planned early on when I envisioned becoming a published author.
UBAWA: How did you decide on the idea for your 1st book? 2nd book? 3rd book, etc?
Regina: The idea to write my first book, 'Poetry from the Heart' resulted because of me being on the computer September 17, 2003, when Hurricane Isabel was destroying my neighborhood. As I listened to the wind blowing, I typed. When I finished I had created my poem entitled "The Neighbors We Should Be." This poem is the very first poem in my first book.
My professional book, 'Teaching In Elementary Schools: The Real Deal' was written because I realized from everyday teaching experience I encountered, those not in education did not know what teaching really entailed. I needed to tell society why teachers demand the respect they were not getting.
My third book, 'Coffee Table Poetry: Experiencing the Power of Poetic Literature' was written because I had encountered so many personal experiences. These experiences were sometimes happy, hurtful, sad, and rewarding. I am able to vent my feelings through writing, so this is what I do. I really feel good after I have written my thoughts down on paper.
UBAWA: How long did it take you to complete your first book? What was the process like?
Regina: I worked on my first book, 'Poetry from the Heart,’ for two years and eight months. Starting with the poem I wrote about Hurricane Isabel kept me fired up to continue to write poems. I could not work on a daily basis because I was still teaching. Whenever I had time to spare I would compose another poem. As I wrote, I would save my poems on the computer. The first publishing company I dealt with told me that in order to submit a manuscript, I had to have 25 poems to be considered. When I finished writing I had created 46 poems. I submitted my manuscript to the publishing company in June 2006 and my poetry book was published October 2006.
UBAWA: What’s so rewarding about writing books and being an author?
Regina: My greatest reward is the fact that I have accomplished a dream that many have never been able to achieve. That dream is being a published author. I am still overjoyed because of what my author representative stated, having read my manuscript submitted for my professional book: "You have an interesting narrative. I really like your approach and outlook to this subject. You have a nice way with words and your writing has a nice flow to it. Your book is nicely put together and filled with information I am sure many people will feel helpful--both in the profession and those who are not. Books like yours provide insight for many. It is obvious that you have done your homework and have fervor for your subject matter because you really speak to your audience with a strong opinion.”
UBAWA: Was there ever a time you felt like giving up?
Regina: I never felt I would ever give up. I was always taught as a young child growing up to never lose hope in what I was capable of doing.
UBAWA: There’s more to being an author than writing a book. How do you manage to handle the business side of things?
Regina: Writing is not a task for me, especially now that I am retired. I am now able to do everything I desire to do and when I want to do it. I work on my writing at my own speed. I do stop to take care of the needs of my husband from time to time. However, he is a very independent individual and allows me to do the things I enjoy doing. When I have a task to complete I stick to it until I finish regardless of how long it takes. I function best during the early morning hours. Writing has now become my business and I handle it with care.
UBAWA: Do you have an editor or do you edit your own books?
Regina: When I submit my manuscripts I pay an editor from the publishing company to edit my books.
UBAWA: does the cover art for your book(s)?
Regina: I submitted my own picture to go on the cover of my first book. The cover for my second and third book was chosen from a template I was able to select from, provided by my publishing company.
UBAWA: Do you ever encounter writer’s block? How do you get past it?
Regina: I have never encountered writer's block because I love writing.
UBAWA: How often do you write?
Regina: I work on various writing projects daily. I am either adding to something I started or always creating something new to add to my file.
UBAWA: Tell us about your last book signing.
Regina: My last book signing was held on March 25, 2012 at the Community United Presbyterian Church, in Portsmouth, Virginia. Family and friends attended and purchased copies of my latest book. They also had an opportunity to read information I had on display about previous book signings. Refreshments were served during the book signing.
UBAWA: Beside social media, what other methods are you using to get the word out about your book(s)?
Regina: I carry my books everywhere. They are always in the trunk of my car and in my pocketbook. Sometimes I wear a big button that shows my first book cover. I give out business cards, give out complimentary books to family and friends, and sometimes wear a t-shirt showing my books. I also carry around magnets that show off my book covers.
UBAWA: As a Woman of Color, what inspires you the most?
Regina: I am inspired the most by what my parents, grandparents, and great-aunt did to mentor me through their encouragement and support while growing up. As a Woman of Color, I too think I am a Maya Angelou.
UBAWA: Who is your biggest influence?
Regina: My biggest influence was the extended encouragement I received upon entering first grade. My first grade teacher was like my mother away from home. She too was an influence on my life which has made me the person I am today.
UBAWA: Have you ever done something in the past you regret? How did you get through it?
Regina: I regret I did not keep all of the antique items my grandmother had after she died. Back then I did not realize the value of so many things that people just considered "old."
I was able to get through this just by telling myself nothing will last forever, get over what you can't turn around. .
UBAWA: How do you get through the tough times in life when life throws what it throws at you?
Regina: I get through the tough times in life when life throws ill will at me by reciting over and over again a poem entitled 'Lesson' by Grace Easley, playing over and over again the CD entitled "Smile" by Kirk Franklin and by traveling. .
UBAWA: What is one goal you want to accomplish for yourself in 2013?
Regina: One goal I want to accomplish in 2013 is to publish a collection of short stories for children that are already written.
UBAWA: What do you have planned next?
Regina: My next plan is to travel to the last 14 of our 50 states I have not been to.
UBAWA: How can readers and others in the literary community reach you?
Regina: Readers and others in the literary community can reach me by writing me at my home address, calling me, or sending me an email.