Book - The Final Child

We're delighted to be part of the Titan Books tour to celebrate the release next week of The Final Child, the new thriller by Fran Dorricott. Today, in an exclusive for us, Fran waxes lyrical about her main character, Erin Chambers' favourite candles...

He won’t forget her...

Erin and her brother Alex were the last children abducted by ‘the Father’, a serial killer who only ever took pairs of siblings. She escaped, but her brother was never seen again. Traumatised, Erin couldn’t remember anything about her ordeal, and the Father was never caught.

Eighteen years later, Erin has done her best to put the past behind her. But then she meets Harriet.

Harriet’s young cousins were the Father’s first victims and, haunted by their deaths, she is writing a book about the disappearances and is desperate for an interview with the only survivor. At first, Erin wants nothing to do with her. But then she starts receiving sinister gifts, her house is broken into, and she can’t shake the feeling that she’s being watched. After all these years, Erin believed that the Father was gone, but now she begins to wonder if he was only waiting...

Erin Chambers’ top ten favourite candles:

Ever since her childhood brush with death Erin has claimed to be a big fan of self care – except her definition of “self care” pretty much only extends to buying a LOT of scented candles and lighting a whole bunch of them whenever she is feeling stressed or anxious. Which is, these days, quite often.

Erin has a few priorities when it comes to candles:

1. They have to smell good, not look pretty. She makes her own candles but likes the feeling of going into a store and choosing ones that somebody else thought would soothe or calm her. No simple tea-lights in this house!

2. They absolutely, definitely can’t smell like ‘outside’, ‘woodland’, or ‘wet leaves’; they can’t smell like ‘rain’ or remind her of being cold. No super sharp scents. These make her think too much of her brother, Alex, and of the night she was found alone in the woods.

3. She’d really rather they didn’t have a silly name. Unlike me, Erin very much isn’t into candles called Haunted Hollow or Cat’s Purr. She’d prefer them to be functional rather than funny.

4. Erin’s favourite types of fragrances are usually either food-related or “the kind of candle they’d light in a fancy spa” – though Erin herself has never been to a fancy spa.

So, without ceremony, here are Erin’s top ten:

1. Cosy

◦ “A fragrance which recalls beautiful bonfire nights, wrapped up in a soft blanket. The initial scent, blending balsam, peppermint and eucalyptus, gives way to the main body fragrance of cashmere, cedarwood and golden amber.” This scent is the closest Erin will come to the outdoors because it reminds her of hugs with her mother.

2. A Calm and Quiet Place

◦ “A meditative fragrance—balanced and centred with gentle jasmine, warm amber and the barest whisper of patchouli.” This is Erin’s favourite spa scent; it makes her feel as if she has her life under control (which, of course, she absolutely does not).

3. Chilli Pepper Gelato

◦ “Spicy red chillies and a dash of citrus softened with sweet notes of creamy coconut and vanilla bean.” A daring choice, but this scent is for nights when Erin is feeling brave instead of scared.

4. Lavender and Cedar

◦ “Notes of lavender and pink pepper layered with sage and, patchouli, and cedar.” Erin’s second favourite spa scent. Lavender always makes Erin think of her grandmother, and the cedar feels fresh without being too woodsy. A ballsy, yet meditative scent.

5. Strawberry Lemonade

◦ “Soft lemon and sunny lime glimmer with sour strawberry and a daring splash of raspberry.” It’s summer in a candle, and who doesn’t want a little of that from time to time? Especially on these lingering autumn nights, when the dark draws in and it feels like somebody is watching you…

6. Maple Pecan

◦ “Rich maple, caramelised brown sugar, and sweet honey butter blend with soft spicy undertones and the warmth of toasted pecan.” A positive autumn scent. The autumn is Erin’s least favourite time of year, but maple pecan makes everything, including the anniversary of her kidnap and her brother’s disappearance, feel less awful.

7. Red Velvet Cake

◦ “Freshly baked chocolate red velvet cake topped with sweet creamy frosting, layered with a fine dusting of warm, dark powdered cocoa.” Erin’s philosophy, lovingly inherited from her brother Alex: what is there that cake can’t solve? Well, actually quite a lot but it certainly helps.

8. Coconut Rice Cream

◦ “A sweet, creamy treat with notes of aromatic rice and fragrant coconut – freshly scooped at an island oceanside market.” Somehow clean and rich at the same time, this is Erin’s go-to ‘bad day at work’ scent because it’s so unassuming and requires no mood or meditative intent. Lately, though, it’s not quite been cutting it.

9. Home Sweet Home

◦ “A warm, homey blend of cinnamon, baking spices, and a hint of freshly poured black tea.” A firm favourite across the board, although Erin dislikes the name and wishes they’d call it something simple like “Warm Spice”. Her home is not feeling as sweet and safe as it once did.

10. Wild Sunset

◦ “Sun-kissed blossoms and salty ocean air.” A simple candle, as Erin prays for simpler times ahead. Unfortunately, somebody else has other ideas.

Of course, having a variety of favourite candles implies the existence of a least favourite candle. And Erin definitely has one of those. It’s probably nothing sinister. It’s probably just a joke. But now this kind of candle fills her with an icy dread and if she never sees another one it will be too soon.

Erin’s new least favourite type of candle:

Scentless red pillar candles, the kind you might find in your local discount store. The kind that an intruder might leave in your home to frighten you. No thank you, not today.

Thanks again to Fran Dorricott and Titan Books for a fun and en-light-ening article [I see what you did there - Ed]
The Final Child is published on September 7th by Titan Books

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