Interview: Reina Regina, Author of Please Pick Me

Hello book nerds! I’m welcoming December with a new author interview, and this time with another Filipino author!

Reina Regina is the author of Please Pick Me (published November 11, 2020), a poetry book that tackles falling in love, vulnerability, and wanting that love for ourselves. Reina offered me an a copy of her poetry book in exchange for an honest review a few months ago and I adored it!

Now I’ll be chatting with Reina about her first ever poetry book, writing inspirations, and other poetry book recommendations!

Hi, Reina! Welcome! Please tell us a little about yourself. 

Hi, Alexx! Thank you for having me! So hey, everyone, I’m Reina. I’m a freelance writer, professional tarot reader, Instagram creator – and now, I guess, a published author! I tell tiny stories and talk about magic on instagram.com/reinaxregina.


Please Pick Me is your first published poetry book, am I correct? (And congratulations, by the way!) How does it feel?

Yes, thank you, this is my first published book – of any genre!

It’s been unreal, so far. Publishing a book began as a dream, and then it was like six months of logistical nightmares during lockdown, and then it was suddenly a fact of life. It’s like having a baby but I haven’t really sat down to talk to the baby and tell it, “Hello, I’m your mother.”

Even now, when I read reviews or gushy messages about Please Pick Me from people, I still feel like, hey, that book must be lovely, but they can’t possibly be talking about me!

I love that you chose the idea of vulnerability in your book! I know for a fact many will relate to it or learn a thing or two from your words. Did you find it hard or easy, writing these pieces about being vulnerable? 

At the time of writing, I found it very easy, because they were my stories and frustrations and emotions, and I was just writing them for me to get my feelings out. The hard part was deciding that I was ready for people – complete strangers, as well as friends and old foes and family – to read them.

But I guess that’s definitely where part about embracing vulnerability comes in. I was raised in a military household. Hiding your feelings was part of strategy – I was taught that if you showed your feelings in any way, you were giving your enemies ammunition, or you had lost control of the situation because you let people get to you.

And I recognize that we have to dissemble or disguise our feelings in certain situations, like when we’re there’s a crisis or when we’re at work, obviously. But the whole of life isn’t a battle for dominance.

When it comes to personal relationships, I think the wisest thing you can do is to stop pretending it’s a poker game that you win through manipulation and pretending, and acknowledge that being honest and laying all your cards down is actually a really good strategy for building healthy and lasting relationships.

I know a lot of us fear being vulnerable because we don’t want to be embarrassed or lose control. But you can’t control how a relationship will go or how another person will feel. So I think you might as well just be honest about what you want and how you feel, and see where that takes you.

How did Please Pick Me come to life? Did the concept come to you at first, or you already had several pieces before the idea came together?

I had several pieces already, written as early as 2013. Actually what I wanted to do was to create a poetry Instagram. So I was compiling my haikus and poems, and putting them into square graphics, and practicing my grid.

And then I thought, these squares might look really good printed. Maybe I should compile them. And that’s when I started to consider the idea of turning everything into a book!

What would you say are the three things the readers will get out of your book? 

1 – I hope they know that it’s okay to ask for what they want – like, showing that you really care about something enough to make it work is TOTALLY OKAY.

Do you know that some people I know feel cringey about writing “I’m eager to work with you” at the end of their application emails, because they don’t want to come across as “desperate”? That’s how much we hate telling strangers that we want something!

So imagine how hard it is for people to say to their lovers and friends and families that they want to be treated better, or they want to be reassured or understood. It’s terrifying.

But I like to think, what’s the best and worst thing that could happen? Worst thing is you could be ridiculed for asking for love and reassurance – in which case then you know the problem with the relationship doesn’t lie with you anymore.

And the best thing that could happen is that they get what you’re saying, and you get what you’re asking for. And your relationship becomes so much better because of it, and then you feel safe, and the other person feels really good about having done the right thing for you. I think the possibility of achieving that is about ten times worth the risk of being laughed at or rejected.

2 – I think readers will also see that I paint love as a very nuanced thing.

Flowers, the chapter about falling in love shows that you can be really giddy about a crush and hate that you’re liking someone whom you’re not sure likes you back. The middle two chapters deal with loving people who are supposed to be your home and family, but resenting things they did to hurt you, but also being willing to forgive them and trying to make your relationship better every day.

I don’t think we have enough material that shows that it’s okay and normal to feel all these things! People have way more than the emotional range of a teaspoon, and I think poetry should reflect that.

3 – And the last thing I hope people take away from it is that they are always worthy of love. You aren’t the reflection of people who can’t understand how to love you. You deserve to be respected and cared for, and the first and most constant person who has to do that for you is yourself.

Which writers and/or poets have inspired you the most? 

I’ve always said that my work is inspired more by songwriters than poets – especially Taylor Swift, Sara Bareilles, and Jason Mraz.

Poems, by nature, are freely structured, so I think that’s where some writers drop the ball. I think they try to tell too much of a story, or too little, and it may not make sense but whatever comes out is still called a poem.

Songs are more disciplined – there has to be a consistent story that you tell from start to finish, using very clear images and language, and then it has to end decisively. A song can’t stray too far from what it’s trying to say, or it won’t work. I like to think that’s how I make my poems – brief, tight, but clear and consistent.

I also modeled my process of building a book on the process of building an album. If you look at how Taylor Swift chooses the songs that go onto an album, puts them in order, and then strings them together with a common thread in the foreword and the general messaging of the album and the era, that’s basically how I put the concept of Please Pick Me together!

Any other poetry books you want to recommend besides Please Pick Me? Especially for those who haven’t tried reading poetry yet!

On Instagram, some of my faves are Rip This Up and Eat It by Emma Jayne, Still Growing Wildflowers by Alisha Galbraith, and Nocturnal by Wilder poetry. I also like Tyler Knott Gregson and Iain S. Thomas!

And our local poetry scene has some amazing talent too! You can check out Maimai Cantillano, Leandro Reyes, Annia Naguit, Mark Dimaisip – the spoken word crowd, basically, and start from there.


And that wraps up our interview! This was really fun! I personally loved Reina’s answer regarding the three things the readers will get out of Please Pick Me. This book truly delves into the nuances and vulnerabilities of being in love and I hope current and future readers will also appreciate that.

That’s it for now. Please go ahead and join the conversation, so comment down below. And of course, thank you so much to Reina for taking the time to answer these questions and sharing a bit of herself for us today!


Add Please Pick Me to your Goodreads

Follow Reina Regina

Reina Regina is a writer, professional tarot reader, Instagram influencer, and former nurse.

She is published online as Reina Bambao on 8List, The Manila Times, Play Without Apology, and the Fully Booked First Look Club.

Reina resides in Manila, Philippines, and is the lady of the house for a doctor and two dogs.

One thought on “Interview: Reina Regina, Author of Please Pick Me

  1. […] This poetry book will accompany you in your journey through love—the beauty of it and the nuances, as well as the vulnerabilities that come with it. Please Pick Me is a poetry book “born after twenty-six years of learning that it’s okay to want to be wanted… and that fighting to be loved the way you deserve is bravery and not weakness”. (See my interview with the author here!) […]

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