About M.L. Collins

Author ML CollinsM.L. Collins has been in love with Door County ever since spending summers in Juddville with her grandparents who moved there in the 1930s after retiring from the circus.

The author's grandparents before settling in Juddville.

The author’s grandparents before settling in Juddville.

M.L. has worked as a free-lance writer and lectured extensively on the history of sex, fashion and culture at various institutions in Chicago including the School of the Art Institute, the University of Chicago Graham School and most recently, Columbia College.

She divides her time between the big city of Chicago and Door County, Wisconsin where she recently fell for a sailor named Smee.

Interview with the Author

  • Well, for one, the plot line is somewhat of a circus caper but on a more personal level, I was aware of the power of love and limerence (much like the protagonist Aida) from a very early age. All I have to do is think back to the very first time I fell “in love” when I was six years old. I met a circus performer who was a midget — we now say “little person” of course. He was extremely handsome and approximately my height and when I asked him how old he was, he told me he was 36. I remember he smoked a cigarette while answering my questions, and I realized at that moment that he was the most beautiful creature I’d ever laid eyes on. I never saw him again but I’ve remembered the power of that moment my whole life.

  • Well, sure, doesn’t everyone to some degree? We are deeply influenced by our early imprinting and as a result that affects the types of people we are attracted to and fall in love with later in life. Relationships are often variations on the same theme.

  • I’m not sure how to answer that question, exactly, but I will say that one of my favorite authors, who died recently — Jim Harrison — had a very poignant list that he called Harrison’s Five Rules for Zestful Living. They have become a mantra for me and a way to be mindful of living in this place of profound beauty. I think I’ve worked a lot of those themes into the book. Here are Harrison’s rules, pretty much verbatim:

    1. Eat well, avoid diets… we’re all going to die. Might as well enjoy a little fat along the way.
    2. Pursue love and sex, no matter discrepancies of desire and age.
    3. Welcome animals into your waking and dream life. We are mere participants in natural cycles, not the kings of them.
    4. Rather than lighting out for territory, we ought to try living in it.
    5. And finally, love the detour. Take the longest route between two points, since the journey is the thing.


  • Oh, probably.

  • Yes, there is a general theme throughout of animals doing in humans. I relish that role reversal since we as humans have largely made the planet inhospitable to so many species. We mindlessly kill off predators like coyotes and wolves and bears, and in the process alter natural cycles and the whole balance of our ecology. We mess with our plants by growing genetically modified crops that require tons of pesticides that harm not only other species but also introduce toxins into our own bodies. We poison our surrounding water with fertilizers and manure run-off from factory farms that, in turn, are hideous places of mechanized animal cruelty. It’s a very depressing state of affairs.

  • Disappearing Tree

    Things are never as they seem. Especially in Door County.


Get in touch…

Follow me on social media… Facebook