In his first two novels, businessman-turned-novelist Aroon Raman had packaged history, geography and mystery to create engaging books, loved by critics and readers alike.
In his latest novel, Skyfire , set against the backdrop of children going missing in Delhi, Aroon combines climate change and the probable use of military technology in influencing the weather.
“As a writer, I am constantly looking for new themes to base my novels on,” says Aroon.
“I hit upon the idea for this book when I was trekking in Nepal last year. I witnessed a freak weather phenomenon and wondered if it was possible for man to influence weather and control it. I began researching and the book was the result of that research.”
Elaborating on the research, Aroon says, “I discovered that the Chinese used cloud seeding during the 2008 Olympics to ensure a rain-free games. I realised that in the long term, using the weather as a weapon of war may be a possibility. This book has the same set of characters as my first novel, though the plot is based on artificial weather manipulation. It is an interesting theme. Not many people are aware that there was a UN Environment Modification Convention (ENMOD) many years ago where countries declared that they will not manipulate the weather or environment for military purposes.
The militarisation of weather has been a kind of a hidden agenda in various military technologies for some time. Though it is a work in fiction, I have based it on actual information gleaned as part of my research."
Aroon underlined the need to keep the narrative pacy.
“It was important to use the research in such a manner that the reader is engaged. I think that it is important that the research is presented in an entertaining manner. Too much jargon will make readers lose interest. A good thriller must have a good plot, must have been researched well and must have interesting characters that reader cares about . It can be read as a standalone book and as a sequel to The Shadow Throne . ”
Talking about his reading preferences, Aroon says, “I have read a lot of masala thrillers. I am a fan of writers such as Robert Harris. I think that we should stop typecasting writers and readers. I do not think it is my place to comment on what people enjoy reading.”
He adds, “I do feel that there are not many Indian writers in English writing thrillers. Ashwin Sanghi and Amish focus a lot on the mythology. I have not seen many stand alone thrillers from India.”
Aroon says that he prefers writing in early mornings and late evenings.
“I prefer writing in continuous bursts. My book and characters change a lot as the book progresses. I keep going back, adding sub-plots, altering characters and timelines. It is always good fun.”