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June 30, 2024 12:00
Literary Fiction

Francine Toon


Before joining The Novelry, Francine Toon was a Commissioning Editor at Hachette, publishing distinctive prize-winning literary fiction. Francine has worked with internationally renowned authors such as John le Carré, Stephen King and Fredrik Backman.

Francine Toon. Former commissioning editor at Hachette

The Editor & Author

Previously Hachette

Before joining The Novelry, Francine Toon was a Commissioning Editor at Sceptre, Hodder & Stoughton’s literary imprint, part of Hachette UK. She published distinctive, prize-winning fiction and worked on the novels of bestselling, world-renowned authors.

At Sceptre, Francine was known for bringing warmth and creativity to her meticulous editorial process and for fostering strong working relationships with authors. She consistently championed under-represented voices and developed initiatives to make publishing more accessible and transparent to authors from all walks of life. Mentoring new writers was one of the most rewarding aspects of Francine’s time at Hachette. She loves nothing more than discussing a work-in-progress, from the big, thematic ideas to the minutiae of sentence structure.

With over a decade’s worth of experience, Francine has edited a broad range of genres, including literary, crime, historical and reading group, and gained an in-depth knowledge of the publishing industry as a result. Early in her career she worked on the novels of Stephen King, John le Carré, Fredrik Backman and Erin Kelly. Later, as an editor of literary fiction, she published award-winning authors such as Ned Beauman, Jessica Andrews, Rowan Hisayo-Buchanan, Kopano Matlwa and Huma Qureshi (a graduate of The Novelry.)

At The Novelry, Francine brings the dual perspective of an experienced editor and bestselling author to ensure showstopping submissions.

Editor by day, prize-winning novelist by night.

As an editor and an author, Francine has gained invaluable insight from both sides of the publishing process. Her debut novel Pine, published by Doubleday, was a number one Sunday Times bestseller and a Waterstones Thriller of the Month. Pine won the 2020 McIlvanney Prize, was shortlisted for Bloody Scotland’s Scottish Crime Debut of the Year and longlisted for the Highland Book Prize and the Deborah Rogers Foundation Writer’s Award.

Francine wrote Pine while working in publishing full time, inspired by her childhood in the Scottish Highlands and its culture of gothic storytelling. She came to novel writing via poetry. Her poems have been published in The Sunday Times, The Best British Poetry 2013 and 2015 anthologies, Poetry London and Ambit among other publications.

Praise for Pine:

‘A literary gothic thriller to chill the marrow’ – Guardian

‘The novel's strength is its evocation of bleak landscapes and complex characters’ – Sunday Times

‘(A) pacy horror-tinged novelTelegraph, Best First Novels of 2020

‘Splicing small-town domestic drama with grisly mystery and occult thrills, it’s a cleverly crafted debut’Metro

I live for storytelling and am deeply passionate about helping authors realise their vision to the highest possible standard.

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Experience working on the novels of Stephen King, John le Carré, Fredrik Backman and Erin Kelly

Novels by

Francine Toon



They are driving home from the search party when they see her. The trees are coarse and tall in the winter light, standing like men.

Lauren and her father Niall live alone in the Highlands, in a small village surrounded by pine forest. When a woman stumbles out onto the road one Halloween night, Niall drives her back to their house in his pickup. In the morning, she's gone.

In a community where daughters rebel, men quietly rage, and drinking is a means of forgetting, mysteries like these are not out of the ordinary. The trapper found hanging with the dead animals for two weeks. Locked doors and stone circles. The disappearance of Lauren's mother a decade ago.

Lauren looks for answers in her tarot cards, hoping she might one day be able to read her father's turbulent mind. Neighbours know more than they let on, but when local teenager Ann-Marie goes missing it's no longer clear who she can trust.

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