The Voice Star Sisaundra Lewis interviews Elaine Howard, Author of Passion in the Bones:

We all get by with a little help from our friends. Throughout her life, attorney and certified coach Elaine Howard battled academic struggles, low self-esteem, and an eating disorder. The one person who was a constant ray of light was her childhood friend, Sisaundra Lewis (star of The Voice, Season 6, Team Blake). Howard recounts how Lewis inspired her to overcome despair in her new book, Passion in the Bones (A Guide to Breaking the Chains of Negativity and Living Your Own Adventure), which is a dinosaur-themed step-by-step guide to finding and pursuing a passion that will get the positives flowing in your life. 

Below, Lewis interviews Howard about her book and personal journey.

Sisaundra Lewis: Elaine, we’ve known each other since middle school, why did you decide to write a book at this time in your life?

Elaine HowardPassion in the Bones has been several years in the making. As you know, I’m a private person and I reveal a lot about myself in the book so there were times when I walked away from it. But I knew in my heart that I had to finish it – and put it out there – to help others who may be focused on negativity or at least stuck in a rut. My purpose is to remind readers that we all have the power to enjoy our lives and spread positivity by sharing our passion with others.

Sisaundra Lewis: Until I read your book, I did not realize how far you really sank before you found your passion.

Elaine Howard: Of course not. I wanted you – and the rest of the world- to see me as a success so I kept my feelings and struggles to myself. However, because I was focused on what I felt was missing in my life, my worry, doubt, and fear produced negative energy which I unknowingly projected out into the world. It was not until I inadvertently discovered my passion for paleontology and began pursuing it that my life began to transform into the exciting adventure that I’m still on today. Now, I want to encourage others to find their own unique passion.

Sisaundra Lewis: Your passion is paleontology, but I found it very interesting how important music has been in your life.  Why do you think that is?

Elaine Howard: Music really affects our mood. I had a difficult time in middle school and junior high with academic struggles and low self-esteem, but each time I would walk into class and hear you belting out a song, it would always lift my spirits. I loved music so much that I decided I wanted to become a rock star. While that dream fell by the wayside, it led me to take guitar lessons from Chris Juergensen, who is another one of the amazing individuals I feature in my book. Chris is now a renowned guitarist who continues to inspire and educate musicians around the world. While I did not turn music into a career, it has been an integral part of my life and continues to lift my spirits even today.

Sisaundra Lewis: You emphasize the idea that one’s passion must be shared with others.  Why do you think that so important?

Elaine Howard: If you’re pursuing something that you keep to yourself, it’s only going to help you so much. It’s the process of getting out there and sharing something positive that you are genuinely excited about with others that will open new doors in your life. Also, with so much negativity going on in the world, now more than ever, it is important to share something positive with others. We all have the power to do that.

Sisaundra Lewis: You also discuss the importance of seeing yourself as a winner.  How do you tie that into your message about finding passion?

Elaine Howard: In my book, I talk about you and other inspiring individuals who are making a difference in the world by pursuing their passion. However, none of you achieved success by accident. You first had to see yourself as a success and then move forward in that direction. For example, because you knew your true worth, you went from picking fruit in the orange groves to becoming an internationally known vocalist. Likewise, my friend Basil Bain, who came from a family of 12 children rose above his circumstances to become a board-certified business litigation attorney with his own successful law practice. And then there’s Dean Lomax, a young British fellow who could not afford to attend university whose passion and positivity led him to become a multi-award-winning paleontologist and author (who also wrote the foreword to my book). When you know you are a winner, there is no limit to what you can achieve!

Sisaundra Lewis: You explain in the book that it’s never too late to find your passion.  Can you give any advice to people who may be looking for their passion later in life?

Elaine Howard: Figure out what you’ve always wanted to do and just go for it! At the Wyoming Dinosaur Center and other museums, I have met people who only discovered their passion for paleontology after retiring from their jobs. They now spend much of their time pursuing their interests and living the life they’ve always wanted. Those retirees have shown me firsthand that age is just a number, and that we are never too old to learn and pursue new adventures!