Tracey Damron, the ex-wife of former state legislator Steve Nunn, said her recently released book, “A Trail of Feathers,” goes beyond a story of murder and tragedy.
Nunn, son of former Kentucky Gov. Louie B. Nunn, pleaded guilty to the 2009 shooting death of his ex-girlfriend, Amanda Ross, 29. He was sentenced to life without parole.
“The intention of writing this book is to tell a story, and a story that’s worthy of being told, of a spiritual journey,” Damron said. “And the murder just happens to be a part of that journey and what happened to Steve Nunn – a good man – and what made him break.”
Damron wants the book to be a map to show people that they can choose to keep their hearts open, even in the face of great pain, like the pain Damron experienced by losing a number of men in her life, including most recently her fiancée, Christopher Haven Peck, who died about two years ago.
“Associating pain with love, that is the greatest tragedy for anyone, actually,” she said.
The book was released Wednesday.
It chronicles Damron’s life from her childhood spent living both in Kentucky and Florida to present day, with large sections focusing on her marriage to Nunn and the dissolution of that marriage following the death of Louie B. Nunn.
“There’s been so many stories in the media, so many things told, and I was there and I lived it,” she said.
She wrote the book in two months with ghost writer Janean Hamilton.
Damron said she had an agent at one point and was prepared to put together a book on another scale, but she decided to take a different approach in telling such a personal story.
“I’m self-publishing it because it’s important to do this on my own,” she said.
Hamilton said truth was of the utmost importance to Damron in crafting the narrative of the book.
“This book, it’s Tracey’s life, and that’s her journey, to live 100 percent truth,” she said.
The title of the book was chosen because feathers have been symbolic for Damron throughout her life.
“Feathers, even as a child and remembering back, have always been around me,” she said.
Those feathers were a sign to her to keep her heart open even through pain, Damron said.
“Life speaks to us in mystical, magical ways, and it’s just being open to that communication,” she said.
Damron and Nunn married four months after their first meeting, she said.
“It was absolutely love at first sight for both of us,” Damron said.
She worked as his legislative assistant in Frankfort, and they were constantly in each other’s company. Damron said they had a “fairy tale marriage.”
In “A Trail of Feathers,” she writes about her efforts to end an estrangement between Steve Nunn and his father. It was an effort that she said was difficult but ultimately successful.
“In the last two months of Governor Nunn’s life, all was forgiven and father and son were one in total love and harmony and peace with each other, and then Governor Nunn died and Steve fell apart and he didn’t want to live anymore because his dad was his everything,” she said.
Steve Nunn’s father was a large part of his identity, and the pain of losing him was traumatic, she said. The change was so great, Damron said, that Steve Nunn became a different person that she named “Ronnie.”
“It was a possession of pain,” she said.
The book includes excerpts from a diary Damron wrote in 2004 following the death of Louie B. Nunn. In it, she describes Steve Nunn’s increased fear, anxiety and use of disparaging language toward her. She writes of him wearing his father’s old clothes and telling her and some of their friends that he was Louie B. Nunn.
“He was a man I didn’t know and a man I didn’t want to know,” she said.
Though Steve Nunn writes to Damron from prison, she has made the decision not to have contact with him, she said. She still stays in touch with his children.
“The Steve Nunn that I knew and loved died long ago, right in front of my eyes,” Damron said.
Damron now lives part-time in Pikeville at Spring Branch Farm, where she hosts horse shows and practices in Native American healing and medicine.
She was first introduced to the idea of working as a healer by a shaman she met in Bowling Green when she consulted him to help with a change she saw in Steve Nunn.
“Steve Nunn did not take responsibility ... for his own pain,” Damron said. “He was looking outside of himself and lashing outside of himself. There’s another way and that other way is turning inward and shining that light ... our eyes inside of us and becoming conscious and aware.”
The shaman, she said, told her the first time they met that she was a healer.
Damron said she has Native American blood and said Peck, her late fiancée, was also a healer.
“His healing is living on through me healing,” she said.
Damron said she’s been able to heal from the tragedies she’s experienced with the support of a group of female friends she refers to as her “tribe” and by remembering the lessons Peck taught her, including the lesson of staying open to life.
“I’m happier than I’ve ever been in my life,” she said. “I’m at peace. I’m ready to love again. I’m not afraid to love again, no matter what.”
The book is available on Damron’s website at www.atrailoffeathers.com.