"You get to embody all the characters, of course, but you also get the control. Once you’re in the booth, it’s all you."
Steve West started acting back home in England, doing theater, TV, voice work, and commercials. “But,” he tells us, “England doesn’t have as big an audiobook culture as we do here yet.” Eventually, he moved to Los Angeles, and after only seven years in the business, has more than 100 audiobooks recorded and a slew of impressive awards. “The thing I love about recording audiobooks is that it’s kind of a one-man play. You get to embody all the characters, of course, but you also get the control. Once you’re in the booth, it’s all you, and you bring the work from the page into a whole different form.”
While recording Stephanie Laurens’s The Adventurers Quartet in his home studio, West tells us, “It was boiling hot weather. Even with air-conditioning on, my recording booth becomes a mini-greenhouse. The only thing for it in these circumstances is to record in your underwear. I’m not kidding, and I can bet you a lot of narrators do this in their home studios! If they say ‘no,’ they’re telling fibs.”
Laurens is known for her steamy love scenes, and while recording one of the more involved such scenes, West remembers stopping and thinking--”What on earth is going on here, Steve? What are you doing? You’re a fully grown man sat in a box, speaking into a mic, pretending to be both the man and the woman in a full-on love scene, and you’re in underwear, sweating. Is this acceptable?” The absurdity of the scene struck him as hilarious, and he had a good laugh about it. “Hopefully, that doesn’t burst anyone’s bubble about the ‘glamorous’ life of a narrator. LOL.”
West particularly enjoyed working on the teen novel STRANGE THE DREAMER. “I love the journey of the main character, Strange, from his humble beginnings to his huge transformation. Also, there’s a love story between him and one of the other main characters. Those two aspects, his transformation and the connection between him and the other character, took me on my own journey. Author Laini Taylor creates a spectacular setting for all this to happen. It’s sort of fantastical, and I’m quite happy about it.”
West provided voice work for the big Marvel Studios picture Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. And listeners will soon be able to learn English as a second language through his voice, since he just recorded a whole course for a UK company, which should be available at the beginning of the summer. He’s also just finished recording THE DAUGHTER OF SHERLOCK HOLMES, by Leonard Goldberg, and is looking forward to recording Into the Gray Zone, by Adrian Owen; LEGION OF FLAME, by Anthony Ryan; and THE DYING GAME, by Asa Avdic. We’re looking forward to hearing them, and while we listen, we’ll try not to wonder what Mr. West is wearing.--S.J. Henschel[JUNE/JULY 2017]
© AudioFile 2017, Portland, Maine
A Buccaneer at Heart RT Awards - 2016 AudioFile Best Romance Novel Narrator
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