Chris Shella is a graduate of Morehouse College and the University of Texas Law School. Mr. Shella began his legal career in Long Island, New York at the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office. He is admitted to the practice of law in New York, Maryland, the District of Columbia, and North Carolina. In addition, Mr. Shella is also admitted to the federal court in the Eastern District of North Carolina, the Middle District of North Carolina, U.S. District of Columbia, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals, the Eastern District of New York, and the Southern District of New York, as well as being admitted to the Bar Of The United States Supreme Court.
Chris Shella has had of his cases covered on Court TV, CNN, and in the New York Times, in addition to other media outlets across the globe. He has represented everyone from lawyers to major drug traffickers to a serial killer in Baltimore. Mr. Shella’s two most famous cases are the Vegan Baby Case and his defense of the Duke Lacrosse Case accuser for the alleged murder of her boyfriend.
Mr. Shella resides in Durham, North Carolina with his wife and son.
Readers can learn more about Chris Shella and his work by visiting the following:
Please tell us a bit about your book, Reasonable Facsimile, and what you hope readers take away from reading it.
Reasonable Facsimile is a book about a man caught in between, who he was and who he has become. Jasper Davis was a good man who has let his lower appetites rule him to such a point that he is just poor facsimile of the man and lawyer he once was.
Who are your favorite characters in the story?
I like Jasper. He is the world’s anti-hero. He is a man who makes bad choices but he is likeable. You will wince along with Jasper’s pain when he makes foolish choices and you will be hopeful when he turns toward the right things for his life.
Do you have a favorite line or excerpt from your book?
Yeah I do. When Jasper realizes that his excesses have ruined his trial abilities and skills. “No matter how much I debauched myself, I was always ready to answer the bell when it came to trial … today was the first day I realize that I’m not the lawyer I used to be. I accepted the fact that in my personal life I was a scumbag but I was still a scumbag that could defend criminals. Now I wasn’t so sure anymore. Who am I if I can’t try cases? I have never reached back for my fast ball and it wasn’t there until now.”
If your current release were to be turned into a movie, who would you love to see play what characters and why?
Forrest Whitaker or Jaime Foxx as Jasper Davis — they both have a depth of emotion that overcomes their physical appearance that make you want to cheer for them. I’d cast Samuel Jackson as Judge P because of his forceful personality. Sanaa Lathan as Carmen for her overwhelming sensuality. Lastly, I’d cast Adrien Brody as Jeff, Jasper’s best friend.
What are your favorite aspects of writing?
It has to be the self-exploration of building a character and seeing how you have to build their full personality to make them likeable and human-like.
Your least favorite aspects of writing?
Redrafting. It makes the writing seem too mechanical and not free-form. It’s the discipline part that is needed but dreaded.
Who are some of your favorite authors/books?
Walter Mosley, Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned
John Grisham, The Rainmaker
Michael Connolly, The Lincoln Lawyer
What are you reading right now?
The case files for briefs I have to file before the U.S. Court Of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and case files of the three murder cases I will most likely try this year.
If you could have a dinner party and invite five authors — dead or alive — who would they be and what would you serve them?
Walter Mosley, Alan Dershowitz, Thurgood Marshall (author of court opinions and speeches),Machiavelli, Sun Tzu. I’d probably serve Jasper’s favorite meal — steak, potatoes, and Jack Daniels — and watch the fireworks ensue from there.
What is a book that you wish you could say that you had written and why?
Metamorphosis. I would want to feel that I could change the story and bring the humanity back to the protagonist. I don’t like that his fate is sealed.
What is the greatest piece of advice (for writing and/or just living) that you have heard?
My best advice comes from a Johnny Cash song. “You know I won’t back down. You can stand me up at the Gates of Hell and I won’t back down. “
Stand your ground in life. Whether you are fighting yourself or another person stand for what you want and believe.