Due to the enormous body of work represented by Steven’s audiobook performances, they are separated into:

(Alphabetically by the author’s surname)
(Alphabetically by the author’s surname)

Interview at

Download (free) an interview with Steven, in which he discusses his work as an audiobook reader.


Steven Pacey Interview

When I was asked to say a few words about my career and reading audiobooks, I thought … you see the problems are two-fold: one, I have no memory, and two … um.

A sketchy tour of my early career finds me, at the ages of 11 to 13, on the stage. My elder brother is mainly responsible for this: he was working in stage management and heard they needed a lad, and got me in. This came to an abrupt end, by the way, at the age of 13, when I was doing a production of The Winslow Boy with Kenneth More. It was going very well for a while, and, I had one of those squeaky little voices. And my end line in this play (or one of the lines after the end of the cross-examination scene) was “I’m not, I’m not. I didn’t do it!” [high pitched voice].

Which was fine, for several months, and then, it got to a point where, of course, I sounded like a mixture of Margaret Rutherford and Arnold Schwarzenegger, so it was more like: “I’m not, I’m not. I didn’t do it!” [alternating deep and high pitched voice]. So I had to give up anyway.

I went back to school for a short while and dreamed away my time, and came out again at 16, and into Godspell, where I played Jesus … and then went on to do various parts in Alan Ayckbourne plays, Somerset Maugham, Michael Frayn, even Will Shakespeare. What I’m best known for is my worst role, in Blake’s 7.

But, the thing about audiobooks, is that you get to play all the parts that you wouldn’t possibly be considered for visually. So, it’s fantastic. One one page, you can be playing a 90 year old crone, a 21 year old beauty and a German colonel … and that’s great fun, it really is, for any actor. This is a chance that you get to do everything yourself.

But, I just want to give you a flavour of what it’s like here in Bath, where we actually record these things. There’s three adjoining studios. The producer sits one side, in her box, and we sit in ours. We’re in there for basically for 3, 4 days … I mean they let us out occasionally, of course … but it’s a very hard job.

I’ve been asked which books I’ve particularly enjoyed reading. There are several, of course, and at the moment, you’d find me reading Robert Ryan, who I’ve done … four … now of his books. This one’s called Dying Day, and it’s set just after the second world war, the cold war. And then, who else do I like? I like Susan Hill. She’s been writing some detective novels that I’ve enjoyed reading: Various Haunts of Men, The Risk of Darkness, The Pure in Heart. She’s terrific at those. I read C S Lewis, I remember. We did a trilogy: Out of the Silent Planet, That Hideous Strength, Perelandra. They were fiendishly difficult to do.

But the ones I really, really enjoyed doing were Joanne Harris’ books: Gentlemen and Players and Sleep, Pale Sister, because she’s an incredible technician. She writes superbly, and all the characters are incredibly real, they’re all three-dimensional, and there are always twists and turns and surprises right up to the last minute.

Of course, the three or four days you spend in the studio is not the only time you’re working on this book. There’s quite a lot of preparation to do, and it takes a similar amount of days, actually, to prepare. With the characters, when they’re just about to speak, I put a line, and then I put something like “Northern Peter Lorre”, that just reminds me what kind of a character I’m looking for, what sort of voice they’ve got. Because it’s difficult sometimes, when you’ve got five different characters on a page to actually pick them out and do the narration … and sometimes, the narration isn’t even in your own voice, you’re doing it in first person and it’s somebody who’s Lithuanian or something. So, that can be jolly difficult.

So, that’s quite an exhaustive process: but, when you’ve done that, you do then feel confident that when you come to reading it, that you’re not going to make quite as many mistakes as otherwise would have done. And that’s the other thing, of course, one does feel terribly sorry for the editors who have to clean up after all your appalling mistakes. Um … you think I’m saying this actually without any problems, but, of course, this is being edited to death …

© BBC Audiobooks/AudioGo Ltd, 2007

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  • Richard says:

    Your reading of Joe Abercrombie’s First Law series, Best Served Cold and The Heroes is incredible and entertains me on journey after journey. Thank you for bringing the books even further to life.

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