Laurier alumna Heather Dixon’s breakout novel hits the stands

Contributed Photo / Heather Dixon
Heather Dixon.

Laurier Alumna Heather Dixon released her first novel titled Burlington this summer. The suspenseful novel tackle’s themes of friendship, motherhood and sense of belonging. Burlington was released on Aug. 22 and Dixon’s next novel is coming in October.

Burlington is Dixon’s first novel to be published but is not the first novel she wrote. She has been writing novels since 2018 and Burlington is her third novel.

“After I wrote my first book, I learned that I did it all wrong,” said Dixon.

Dixon had to research and learn what worked best for her and how she could properly write about plot, character development, structure etc. Now that Dixon has been through the book writing process three times, she is learning what works for her.

Given that this is Dixon’s first novel, the process has been a learning curve as well. Dixon is an early bird and regularly wakes up at 5 a.m. and writes when the rest of her family is asleep.

“That time in the morning when I am alone nobody interrupts me. Not even my dog gets up at that time, so I can just really focus,” said Dixon.

After revisioning and rewriting for several months, even years, the books are ready to be sent out to potential literary agents. During these times when publishers are going through her current novel, Dixon begins working on her new projects saying,

“I find that its works best for me during that time, to start working on my next project,” she said.

Now that Dixon’s book has been on the stands since Aug. 22, she is learning about the less lovely side of publishing work: negative feedback.

“This is the interesting part because a creative person is usually quite sensitive. So, there can be 10 good reviews and one bad review and I see that one bad one and it’s all I can focus on,” said Dixon.

Burlington has been receiving a great mix of reviews in its first month on the stands.

“I knew all along some people would love this book and some people wouldn’t and that’s perfectly OK, because that’s the way the world works. But it’s a hard adjustment,” said Dixon.

Dixon has a community of friends she confides in and seeks advice from and she constantly reminds herself that the reviews are for other readers not for her.

Dixon graduated in honours English literature in 2002. Since her time at Laurier, she has nursed her writing skills working in advertising. After having her children, she began writing about motherhood on “mom blogs” and she has found her way back to the creative side of things saying, “Motherhood for me gave me a renewed sense of passion and purpose for writing, so I bring this into a lot of my writing.”

As a child Heather was an avid reader, enjoying the writings of Beverly Cleary and characters like Judy Blume, “at the same time I was always writing, I was just writing like silly little stories when I was a kid. But I always had that part of me that wanted to write,” said Dixon.

Dixon’s next novel, The Last Summer at the Lake House is set to come out this month.

Contributed Photo / Heather Dixon
Burlington novel.

This article was originally published in print Volume 23, Issue 2 on Thursday, Oct. 5.

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