Here's the last part of my Dark Harvest interview with Kevin Lucia's Creative Writing students. Enjoy!
Dave: Why didn't anyone question the ritual before Pete?
There were people who did -- Kelly Haines' dad for one. But people like that ran up against the Harvester's Guild. And you can figure out what the Guild did to them. They ended up like Kelly's dad, just another example to everyone in town of the cost of stepping out of line.
Marieke: Why didn't the parents stand up and do anything?
Part of the answer to that one is in the answer above. Another part is human nature, which is something most horror writer's explore. I believe most people cling to a sense of stability, sometimes at a great cost. And the cost of the Run in Dark Harvest may seem extreme at first, but not when you place it within the parameters of human history. Take Nazi Germany, for example. People lived in that society, lived their lives day-to-day, got up and went to jobs and came home and made dinner. Laughed and cried on the weekends. I'm sure some of them didn't know what was going on, and some of them chose to ignore it, and some of them were knee-deep in it but still managed to close their doors at night and sleep like babies. I'm sure others battled nightmares, and some couldn't sleep at all. None of that's pretty, or pleasant, but for me it reflects one of the darker and more frightening truths about the human condition.
John: You don't give much history or background to the rituals. Why?
Good question... and one I get a lot. Again, part of this answer is in the one above. For most people, I think why isn't necessarily the most important question when it comes to day-to-day existence. The important question is how. As in: I don't care why this is happening; I care how I'm going to get through it day-to-day.
That's something I've explored in a lot of my stories, and for me it's a much more interesting question than why. Really, why's are a dime-a-dozen. If I wanted to toss one into Dark Harvest, it could have been as simple as one line or a paragraph: Well, the town was built on an old Indian burial ground, and there was this curse, and the October Boy was part of a ritual to make a deal with the Devil, and... You get the idea.
To tell the truth, I didn't care about any of that. I wasn't concerned with why's. I cared about how people would live within the very dark parameters they faced in that town. I cared about the how's. For me, those were the questions that made things interesting, and those were the questions that shaped the story. Seeing how each character dealt with the situation. The environment. The horror. Seeing how reactions and actions shaped them. For me, that's the real meat of most stories, and that was my focus in Dark Harvest.