Namaste, first and foremost, I am seriously devoted to creativity. Throughout my life, I've noticed that I see things differently than others. Writing is a formidable creative challenge. My writing is described as "visual." Adopting this style came naturally to me due to my life-long career as a visual artist and communicator.
– Stephen Shields
Creator of Peak XV
More recently, he highlighted his talent and skill in graphic design and branded communications, forming S-Squared Creative, a new business venture based in Dallas, Texas. The virtual, creative, and integrated branding firm is the latest project in his career, spanning nearly 30 years and covering all aspects of business-to-business and consumer-based branding. He began his career as a fine artist and expanded his talents into graphic design and broader-based media forms, creating advertising and marketing campaigns for small to global companies. Then, looking for more creative challenges, he began shooting photography and writing professionally. Stephen's first novel, Anne Bonny, was written and self-published in late 2012. His second book, Peak XV, is his latest project to explore creativity.
Above Photo: On a cliff overlooking the Khumbu Valley, Nepal.
PEAK XV’s Inspiration
Peak XV is not another rehashed story about a climbing team's adventures set out on a quest to climb the tallest mountain on the planet and overcome adversities. Instead, the story is loosely based on George Mallory and Andrew Irvine, two English mountaineer explorers that lived in the early 20th century. Mallory had an obsession with becoming the first to summit Mount Everest. After two failed attempts, a third expedition was planned and funded in 1924.
He and his second, Andrew Irvine, were last spotted only 800 feet from the summit when an unexpected storm consumed the top third of the mountain, and they vanished from sight, never to return from the mountain. As mentioned, Peak XV is based on these two legendary men and the controversy that to this day surrounds their final assault to summit Everest. Were they the first to find their way to the top, or were New Zealander mountaineer and explorer Sir Edmund Hillary and Nepalese Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay the first climbers confirmed to have reached the summit of Everest?
Peak XV explores this controversy but weaves together broader fictitious perspectives. Peak XV involves:
Different points in world history, 661 BC in ancient Nepal, at the birth of Siddhartha, known today as The Buddha.
The early 1920s, post-World War One England.
In the early 1950s and 1970s, Nepal and London, England.
The characters unknowingly interconnected each of these eras in the story by the common paths traveled and their actions that formed a connection that influenced the resurrection of an ancient Nepali death curse cast 2,500 years earlier.
Peak XV is a diverse story about how past events affect the present, the differences, and beliefs between western and eastern cultures, ancient spiritualism, mysticism, and folklore.
Photo: Taken circa 1924, this image shows George Mallory and his British Expedition team at their first base camp, prior to Mallory beginning his fateful third attempt to climb and summit Mount Everest.