Angela B. Wells Cleare
Join us in welcoming our local tourism expert and author, Mrs. Angela Wells Cleare to the Author Spotlight. We’ve asked Mrs. Cleare a number of questions which we hope will allow you to get to know her a little better.
- Where are you from originally, Mrs. Cleare?
I am from The Bahamas. I was born on the island of Andros, when my father (at that time an Out Island Commissioner) was stationed on that island; in fact all of my siblings were born on different Family Islands. My father's parents are from Long Island and my mother's parents are from Eleuthera. I lived in New York for 2-1/2 years, London for 1-1/2 years, Japan for 6 months but rest of my life has been spent in Nassau.
- That’s quite interesting; do you have a history of writers or authors in your family?
My late sister (Lois Wells Symonette) wrote a book "Understanding Government" which is required reading in local colleges and sells extremely well.
- You seem to be a natural at writing, did you excel in writing while in school?
Yes, English was always my favourite subject and I enjoyed writing little stories. I remember in the 1950s the headmaster of Government High School, A. Deans Peggs, asking me what I wanted to be when I left school and I said "an author". His response was "What real profession are you interested in?" Well, my "real profession" turned out to be management within the tourism industry, and the thought of becoming an "author" never entered my mind until I felt I had something valuable to share within an industry I have grown to love.
Actually, I have never considered myself an "author", but rather a tourism expert who shares the exciting tourism story for the benefit of others.
- How important is reading to you? Does it affect your writing?
All of my life I have been an avid reader, although I haven't done as much reading over the past decade.
- I believe that you have a number of works in print, would you share them with our readers?
I have written many articles which have appeared in various publications e.g. a story on "Marketing Yourself" which I wrote for Zonta Club, published in the Nassau Guardian; a Quiz Book "Know Your Bahamas" which I wrote for Ministry of Tourism - Bahamahost; articles on various aspects of tourism published by College of The Bahamas and Jones Communications.
I have written two full-length books on Tourism. The first book (published in 2007) "History of Tourism in The Bahamas: A Global Perspective", is used as a reference document throughout the industry and is still selling well.
My second book "Business of Travel and Tourism in the 21st Century: A Caribbean Approach" was published in 2017, as a text book for high schools and junior colleges.
- That’s quite a handful Mrs. Cleare, are you currently writing another book now?
I plan to write a book dealing with "Operating a Successful Vacation Home Rental Business", simply because I get queries every week on this subject from persons interested in converting their homes or apartments to rental facilities for visitors, as I have done successfully.
- How long have you been writing books?
My first book was written in 2007.
- Do you have any ambitions for your writing career?
None, in particular, but I will continue to write articles, stories or booklets which fill a NEED within the community (for example, I am just finishing off a little pamphlet on St. Mary The Virgin parish which will be printed and handed to visitors).
- We all write for a number of reasons, but why do you write?
I write simply because I believe I am filling a void. I believe all of my articles or books have contributed something valuable to my readers.
- What is your process for writing books; do you create an outline before writing?
My first book took me about eight years. After drafting a Table of Contents, including subheadings on what should be covered, I created folders for each chapter and kept adding ideas, notes, photographs, etc. to each folder as reference documents. Then I sifted through the documents, organized my ideas and drafted each chapter. On completion, I went through the draft, adding and deleting before coming up with a completed text to send to a professional editor. for review and comments.
- After years of writing, do you have a daily writing regimen?
No, I do not have a daily writing regimen. Sometimes I am inspired to write; then I lock myself in the house and write for an entire week. However, there are months when I have not written anything.
- Do you consider yourself a full-time or part-time writer?
I am definitely a part time writer.
- For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?
I certainly prefer traditional hard cover books but I have read many ebooks in the past. Despite this preference for hard cover books, I plan to switch to ebooks in future because I do not have space for storage of books (I am in the process of donating most of my print books to school libraries).
- That’s very generous of you. How did you begin writing? Did you intend to become an author, or do you have a specific reason or reasons for writing each book?
I always remember the quote attributed to Les Brown "The graveyard is the richest place on earth, because it is here that you will find all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled, the books that were never written, the songs that were never sung, the inventions that were never shared, the cures that were never discovered, all because someone was too afraid to take that first step, ...or determined to carry out their dreams."
My only reason for writing is to share my knowledge with others. All the articles and books I have written contain basic information which should be shared. I agree with Les; I do not believe any of us should go to the grave without sharing any special knowledge and expertise we possess.
- It sounds like you are well on your way with pouring out your wealth of knowledge while you are able. How many hours daily to you devote to writing? Do you write a draft on paper, at a keyboard or from an audio recording of yourself?
If I am in the process of writing a book, the time I spend is based on deadlines (and inspiration). I draft on the keyboard, often print the draft (since I can more easily read hard copy than text on a screen), review the hard copy and correct on the computer. Whenever I travel, I take my hard copies of draft chapters and correct at airports, in hotels, etc. When I return home, I am all set to insert my new copy into the master document.
- Do you write every single day?
- That was quite emphatic:-) Does writing energize or exhaust you?
- How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Although I take about a week to write an article, each book has taken me in excess of five years for research, drafting, editing (along with professional editors), and printing.
- What do you think are common traps for aspiring writers?
- writing on topics which are of no interest to the general public and as a result the books will go unread;
- difficulty in getting started (I know so many persons with talent as well as valuable information which should be shared; yet they refuse to take the first step).
- books which are poorly written are distracting even though they may contain good information. Incur the added expense (or should I say "investment") for a retaining a good proofreader and editor.
- How important is it for you to receive book reviews?
Book reviews are most important. Most individuals are persuaded to read, or buy a book based on the reviews of persons they trust.
- How successful has your quest for reviews been so far?
Before publishing my second book, I sent a draft of the book to key individuals and requested reviews; these reviews were printed in my last book. The success will be tested within the coming months as I market my book within all the schools in the country.
- Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?
There are many other companies and individuals (like Teri Bethel at BooksByBethel.com) who are skilled in helping others to market their books.
- Why do you think that other well written books just don’t sell?
No interest by the public or not marketed.
- What is your take on the importance of a good cover and title?
I believe the title and cover should give some indication of the content. They should also draw attention to the book.
- Have you ever designed your own book cover? No
- Do you believe a book cover plays an important role in the selling process?
Absolutely, yes. My two book covers were designed by a talented young graphic artist, Ambrose Fernander, who still works in the Ministry of Tourism. I asked him to come up with a cover which depicted the contents of the book.
- After writing a number of works, what do you think is the secret to becoming a successful author?
This can be better answered by persons like Dr. Gail Saunders and others who has written a dozen or so books and continue to write.
- How do you feel when people recognize you in public and appreciate your work?
We all like to know that our work is useful and appreciated. I am stopped so many times in public places by persons who have told me that they use my first book constantly as a reference document. I am happy that my objective in writing the book has been achieved. I certainly hope I achieve the same success with the second book.
- Have you received any awards for your literary works, Mrs. Cleare?
While I have not received any awards for "literary works", I have received awards for my contributions in tourism and these awards also single out my achievement in writing of the two full length books on tourism - the only local books on our number 1 industry.
- Where can we buy or see your books?
My books can be purchased in all the local bookstores and online through the publisher (Xlibris.com and lulu.com) and on Amazon.
- How easy/difficult has it been getting your books in local store shelves? Not difficult.
- What advice would you give aspiring authors on publishing and marketing their books?
Get advice from some of the successful local authors.
- Mrs. Cleare you’re quite a busy lady with a variety of interests, what is something most people don’t know about you?
My main interest is young people. My greatest joy is NOT WRITING but the volunteer work I do at Albury Sayle Primary where I (along with a team of persons) work with the young kids weekly to improve their literacy skills and build their character. I believe we all have a duty to help shape the lives of these young people; the teachers are overworked and they cannot do it alone.
Well, Mrs. Cleare, it’s been a pleasure learning more about you. Thank you for your amazing contributions to our youth and the tourism industry. On behalf of BooksByBethel.com and our community of authors, we certainly wish you all the best in your endeavors!
For more information on how you can secure copies of Mrs. Cleare's books click here!