Leslie Howard

Leslie Howard

Jim Cooper: This week Leslie Howard is with me. Thank you for doing this.

Leslie Howard: Sure, thanks. Great to be here.

JC: Leslie is an award nominated audiobook narrator. She’s done over 250 titles. She’s a SAG AFTRA member specializing in nonfiction, spirituality and fiction. She has a background in intensive yoga study and metaphysics. She works with a lot of the big houses, penguin Random House, Simon and Schuster, Harper, Hachette, along with independent authors and independent publishers as well. She’s been profiled in Audio File Magazine, which is a big deal for those of us in the audiobook world.

She’s a mother of six living in rural Pennsylvania with her husband or family, and a little animal sanctuary out there as well, which is dynamite. That is so cool. She’s a lifelong spiritual seeker. She found her calling in, projecting the words that shape our world through her authentic energy. And she is the first guest I’ve ever had that has her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

LH: ,

JC: They don’t need to know whose it really is, but, but if you go out there, look for Leslie Howard because you will find a Leslie Howard on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. . Let’s talk a little bit about your attraction to tarot. What started you down that road? You seem to be very into the spiritual side of that and to tarot card reading. Is that something you’ve always been interested in or is that something more recent?

LH: Well, I’ve always been interested in the mystical. I’ve just had a very rich inner life, imaginative life, and a feeling like there was more to things my whole life. Various psychic experiences and things since I was as long as I can remember. So I just didn’t have any vocabulary for it growing up. And it was just something I was just kind of running my own experiments on, basically. And then I found in a bookstore when I was a young teenager, the metaphysical section and the new age section, sometimes it’s called metaphysics, sometimes it was called New Age and it was where all the cool books were. So I started exploring through those. And actually my first tarot deck was given to me by my grandfather, who was also a very curious person and was just interested in exploring whatever was out there. He was a very open-minded person. So he happened to have a tarot deck and he gave that to me and I started using it and having interesting experiences with it. So that was part of the, the beginning of my journey of spirituality and divination and having words to put with things I’d say. But it’s just become a, a deep part of my life in, in a lot of ways more philosophic and spiritual ways as well.

JC: Is there special training in order to use tarot cards for reading or for… I’m not sure exactly what the mental gymnastics you go through going through the deck and what it means in that kind of thing. Is there special training for that or is it here’s the card that comes up. Let’s see what happens.

LH: I’d say it’s probably both. I’ve actually narrated a bunch of books on tarot and so that’s like the training in a way. It’s really a language of symbolism and it’s just a way to be still and to listen to your own higher self and any messages that are there for you. It just offers you something physical in the world to facilitate that. There’s different decks with different pictures, but there’s also like standard things and common across them.

LH: And it is very much a language of symbolism that you, you know, and it, it can be just picking a card and Wow, that reminds me of that thing going on in my life right now. You know, something in the picture jumps out at you. Right. But there’s also definitely a whole language, a whole set of knowledge about what the different numbers mean and what these different roles they, you know, may represent different roles of, that people can have in the world. It’s just a way to communicate.

JC: So, it’s like, okay, there’s something out there. I don’t know what it is, but there’s something out there and it’s in force and it’s working. There’s definitely some sort of energy going on out there. And I’ve seen on your website, you use that to a great degree before you get in the recording booth. I think you had a video up there of you sitting out in the farm and just being quiet and still before you get into the booth. Has that really helped your voiceover career?

LH: Yeah. Well I would say just in general, getting still, and I have a yoga practice and I would say that’s all like part of it. I came to doing audio books, voiceover stuff because I had some natural talent. I did a couple musicals in high school and stuff, but no actual training in the field. And I found as I started getting coaching that all my yoga training was completely applicable. It facilitated being able to surrender, to sit down with a top coach and make the changes he’s telling to me. The focus in the booth, from having a meditation practice, breathing practice, it has all helped me so much. And I’m very empathic and that has gone along with those things and that allows me to really tune into the characters.

JC: I’ve had this conversation with several people, but I’m, I’m still not keyed into it. Help me understand manifesting. I mean, I hear about it and I was like, okay, you think about it and it’s gonna happen. Well, no, it can’t just be like that because then everything would happen that we all thought about. How do you approach manifesting in your life?

LH: That’s a great question. So I actually have a yoga class coming up where I’m going to get into this and it’s super popular right now. Yes. I agree with what you said. I have a more expansive take on it. I would say number one, I don’t think the universe is an order service.

JC: Okay.I’m there with that.

LH: I think service is more the action word here. So if we could just get what we wanted, everybody would. The practices of manifestation are good. Getting clear on what’s important to you, meditation and things like that. But ultimately we all have karma. And karma is connected to it.

JC: Let’s talk about the animal sanctuary. I understand it’s not a big one. And there’s a lot of animal sanctuaries in Pennsylvania. I was surprised to see how many there were. What led you to that? What was the event that said, Hey, let’s do this and see what happens.

LH: I love animals and I thought, well, I’m also into fiber arts. And I was really into that for a while.

JC: What is fiber arts?

LH: Like knitting anything. With yarn, with fiber as in wool or silk or different fibers. Weaving, felting; there’s a lot of different stuff. So I got really into that whole area and when we got our place in the country, I just pictured looking out the window and seeing sheep and it was just my fairytale vision.
And you could say we manifested that

JC: Touche. Okay, fine.

LH: But I would say it’s about living a good life. The other thing with manifestation is I don’t think we know what’s necessarily best for us. And that’s the thing I’m most cautionary about as far as really pushing for certain things. I’m more of the service attitude and just going to the source and trying to stay really connected and see what that’s gonna look like in the world. But we all have things that we enjoy and are attracted to. So I thought it would be wonderful to have sheep and, wonderfully and thankfully, my husband was a really good sport about this.
We started with an angora goat, which is where mohair comes from. So like a mohair sweater is from a goat and you shear it, we’d have to shear them about twice a year. And we still have one angora goat right now. And for a while we had a few sheep and currently we have three alpacas and three goats. As for our fiber flock.

JC: So you’re going to start your own clothing line is what you’re telling me? You’re going to have another website for me soon?

LH: That would be fun. But I’ve gotten away from it in focusing on the audiobook work, but I would like to start to bring it back a little bit in the realm of gifts and things like that.
We’re also vegetarians and environmentalists, so having an area of land that we could protect and let the plants grow. And we also make our own herbal medicines and stuff. I had a little Etsy shop and I would sell my fiber stuff and yarn sometimes and jewelry and all kinds of stuff like that I would do. We have a pig that we rescued that was brought up in a house as a house pig….

JC: A rescue pig? I don’t think I ever heard of a rescue pig before. We have rescue dogs…

LH: We have a rescue goat. I have a rescue macaw. They’re harder animals to take care of and people have them for a while and they’re like, yeah, I don’t really don’t want to do this anymore. And sometimes by the time that happens, the animal might not be in the best condition mentally or physically. The rescue pig was doing well, but needed a home .

JC: So you do this as a sanctuary. You’re not looking to place these animals anywhere else. You’re not a rescue organization per se, right?

LH: Yeah, it’s just our little place and they have a home for life here and they’re safe. We have ducks and we’re raising some baby birds right now. We have some baby peacocks and Guinea hens. I love birds. They’re my favorite. With the blue and gold macaw, they say it’s like having a 2-year-old with a pair of wire cutters.

JC: I’ve never heard that before, but that’s brilliant.

LH: Yeah, he’s in his thirties.

JC: Oh wow. How long do they live?

LH: They say like 80 years. 50 years. It’s like a serious lifetime.

JC: Wow. I never knew that.

LH: Not a pet to take on lightly.

JC: We’ve talked a lot about you and what you do, but I just want to remind everyone that Leslie is an audiobook narrator. And you can see what she does at one of two places, but it doesn’t matter because both URLs take you to the same place. LeslieHowardAudiobooks.com or LeslieHowardVO.com.

So, let’s go into these goofy questions and see where that takes us.

What breed of dog would you be?

LH: Great Pyrenees.

JC: Who would play you in a movie about your life?

LH: Winona Rider.

JC: What sound or noise do you love?

LH: It’s a sound of a Mockingbird.

JC: If you were an ice cream flavor, what would you be?

LH: Mint chip

JC: If you were to fall asleep face first into a bowl of soup, what soup would you want it to be?

LH: Ministrone.

JC: Passenger or driver?

LH: Driver.

JC: Toilet paper over or under?

LH: Bidet.

JC: Had a couple of those. Okay, fine. Bananas or watermelon?

LH: Watermelon.

JC: Air guitar or air drums?
LH: Air guitar.

JC: Library or museum?

LH: Library.

JC: Would you rather give up social media or eat the same dinner for the rest of your life?

LH: Wow. I guess I might say eat the same dinner.

JC: Would you rather have telekinesis, the ability to move things with your mind, or telepathy, the ability to read minds?

LH: Telepathy. I used to fantasize about telekinesis. There was this book called The Girl with the Silver Eyes and I was obsessed.

JC: Would you rather go skydiving in a rainstorm or climb the antenna at the top of the Empire State Building on a windy day?

LH: Oh, skydiving in a rainstorm. I hope it doesn’t hurt too much.

JC: Would you rather have a one minute conversation with your past self or your future self?

LH: Ooh, I guess, I guess my future self, although I did feel like when I was a kid I used to talk to my future self and sometimes I feel like my future self helped me when I was a kid.

JC: Would you rather have a car horn that plays YMCA or own a car with your favorite cartoon character painted on the side?

LH: Oh, the cartoon character

JC: Would you rather give up your cell phone for a month or bathing for a month?

LH: Hmm. It’s hard because we have to use our cell phone for stuff. Does that include showers, creeks…

JC: Yes. No, you can’t go into the creeks on the farm.

LH: I think I’d give up the phone. I’m gonna be good.

JC: Would you rather have whatever you are thinking appear above your head in a bubble for everyone to read or have absolutely everything you do be live streamed for everyone to watch.

LH: That sounds so fun. Livestream just because it sounds really fun.

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