Maplewood author loves crows, racoons, writing fun stories


Author Tony Ducklow

Tony Ducklow likes to act out the spelling of his last name. 

“It’s duck, low,” he says as he squats and smiles. 

Ducklow also likes pets. Odd pets. As a kid, he kept crows and racoons. 

On a day when he was about 13, Ducklow rode from his childhood North St. Paul home off Northwood Park to Mahtomedi. 

“It was all woods and stuff,” he says. “And we found the perfect tree.”

For that rainy, overcast ride, Ducklow and his friends had but one mission: capture crows. 

Using his friend’s dad’s pole climbers, Ducklow scaled a 40-foot tree, spotted a nest of crows and stuffed the babies into a pillow case.

“When I think about it, I feel bad what I did,” Ducklow says with weary adult awareness. “I robbed their whole family.”

The stolen crows joined Ducklow’s family, living in his home until they were old enough to fly. One bird, called Egg, would come when Ducklow called and sit on his shoulder. 

The childhood story proved the perfect starting point for a children’s novel. Ducklow wrote “The Summer of The Crows” and published it in 2011. 

He says he made sure to keep suggestively dangerous stories out of the children’s novel, like young boys climbing 40-foot trees. 

“The Summer of The Crows,” a fun, jaunty read through a boy’s warm weather adventures and love for pets in North St. Paul, is Ducklow’s third book. A generalist, each of his books is of a different genre. 

His first, published in 2003, is the novel “Where Angels Tread.” He wrote the religious fiction, a tale imagining the spiritual world during the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, over years, randomly jotting ideas down. 

“Then I got a computer,” says Ducklow, “which was magical.”

His second, “From Silver To Gold,” out in 2011, is the non-fiction history of legendary hockey player Frank Sanders. 

Sanders and Ducklow were childhood friends before Sanders’ star took off — he was a stud at North High School and the University of Minnesota, played in the Olympics for the national team and was the enforcer for bygone professional hockey team the Minnesota Fighting Saints. 

Sanders would tell insider stories, to Ducklow’s amazement. Then Ducklow told Sanders they should start writing the stuff down. 

Ducklow publishes all his books himself. “You keep almost all of your profit,” he says, relishing having physical copies of his work.

“I grew up in a little bit different era,” says Ducklow, referencing the analog days of his youth. “Books were magical. It really meant something, that you’ve accomplished something, when you’ve written a book.”

He’s currently writing a sequel to “The Summer of Crow.” Ducklow says people who liked the book wanted another. This time, he’s writing about his pet racoons. He reckons a racoon-centered follow up might be less endearing. 

“They are like monkeys on drugs.”

 

—Solomon Gustavo

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