William Mathis was born in Chattanooga and grew up near the two major battlefields featured in Chickamauga Dreaming: A Novel on the Civil War's Enduring Impact.
Although he moved to British Columbia after marrying a Canadian, the author's continuing fascination with the complex historical and geographical character of Chattanooga resonates in his novel. The numerous monuments and markers that visibly reflect the Chattanooga area's heritage inspired Mathis to probe the psychological and emotional connections between the modern South and the Civil War.
His second novel, Baseball Card War, is a mystery also set in Chattanooga. The new novel features some of the same characters that appear in Chickamauga Dreaming. They are years older and still under the influence of the Civil War, but taking on a new challenge to help solve a serial murder case in modern-day Chattanooga.
Most of the stories in the Love and Deceit collection are also set in the South, reflecting the author's attachment to people and places there.
Private detective Derek Sprye slowly gets sucked into a serial murder case without realizing he's at risk of being killed. The blatant clues the assassin leaves could have multiple meanings, though the victims are all men who gamble using baseball cards. While investigators are confused, perhaps the killer is as well. Is he making tragic mistakes while vengefully hunting a man who is already dead?
While trying to avoid dealing with his dramatic weight gain, Keith encounters a series of confrontational characters who use food rhymes to give blunt diet advice. His doctor friend Charlie, a dazzling and dominating blue-eyed blonde counselor, and a threatening enforcer send a tough message that motivates and frightens Keith. Can he achieve and maintain a healthy weight? His life depends on it.
Sometimes wishes turn into reality. Sometimes deceit is used to help the Wish Fairy complete the job. When Leslie offers to give a neighbor the chance to turn his teenage fantasy into reality 18 years later, her ultimate goal is well hidden in a preposterous lie. But if romantic happiness is the outcome, does the deception really matter? Only if the truth is discovered. Then it matters a lot.
The indelible mental image Sharon holds of her family and happiness is shattered in an instant. But more tragic surprises are on the way, revealing the astonishing truth about her relationships. How could she have been so elaborately deceived while feeling so deeply loved? In this complicated love triangle, harboring three different relationships, one person knew the extent of the duplicity.
Rita spent her childhood yearning for her dead mother, who left behind no memories or photographs. She constructed elaborate fantasies to compensate for the loss. But when her mother mysteriously reappears as if resurrected, proving her father a liar, Rita demands to know the truth. The answers are far from what she expected. Can Rita ever forgive her family for such actions?
It's hard to see anything with a blindfold on the eyes and the brain. Rebounding from heartbreak, Todd accepts an offer for a weekly blindfolded adventure from a mystery woman who claims a mutual attraction. He enjoys the experience, but can’t stop trying to determine the identity of his benefactor. Just after he decides he knows, he realizes he doesn’t. And he suspects his mistake may be fatal.
Combining deceit with relationships involving lovers, family, or friends can be devastating. But these short stories examine how the consequences for dishonesty, in its many forms, can vary widely and at times be humorous or bring surprising results. The context for deceit differs in each story as relationships fracture, survive, revive, or disintegrate. Sometimes, love simply overwhelms deceit.
An 1863 Chickamauga Battlefield event scars a series of Weston family men in ways none of them understand. Finally, Rob, five generations removed from the Civil War, is forced to confront the event’s role in his life. But first the family grapples with layers of deceit, the South’s racial divide, a wildly eccentric father obsessed with the war and the potent influence of a long-dead ancestor.