THE CHAMPION MAKER
|A Conversation With Kevin Joseph, Author of The Champion Maker
Is The Champion Maker a running novel or a suspense thriller?
Both, I hope. While the sport of running permeates the plot, TCM is not your traditional running
story like Once a Runner or The Long Road to Boston. I wrote it with a broader audience in
mind, and it includes the cutting-edge science and conspiracy elements found in the works of
Michael Crichton and John Case, along with a touch of John Grisham's legal intrigue. And like
the “intelligent thrillers” produced by these writers, TCM wrestles with controversial ethical
issues in a way that’s intended to provoke actual thought. If I’ve succeeded, TCM will stand
apart from the racks of drug-store thrillers that are forgotten the instant readers turn the final
What qualifies you to write a novel in which running plays such an integral part?
Running has been an important part of my life since age sixteen. Not unlike my character
Bullet, I had aspirations of glory across a range of distances. While not much of a success by
Bullet’s standards, I managed to qualify for the New York State High School Championships at
four different distances and was named the team's most valuable runner during my senior
year. My competitive running continued at Cornell University, where I concentrated on the 400
and 500 meters. Since college, recreational running has proven invaluable for relieving stress
and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
How real are the science and sports law issues addressed in this novel?
In the course of practicing law, I’m often required to assimilate information quickly and
accurately across a variety of unfamiliar subject areas. I brought this discipline to bear in
researching the subject of genetic engineering and learning the legal intricacies of track’s anti-
doping regime. While I’ve taken some liberties with legal procedures and used fictitious names
for certain organizations, I believe TCM captures the essence of the intersection between
science and sports─a place where many challenging ethical questions arise.
Who helped you with this project?
As any honest writer will tell you, my novel was only possible because of a wonderful support
network. My wife has made countless sacrifices to allow me to find time to work on TCM and
has provided unwavering emotional support and wise counsel throughout this grueling
process. I’d also like to thank Brian Mellone, Robert Rubino, Henry Liu, and Maureen Kelly for
their priceless editorial feedback, and Charles King of Cox-King Media for his assistance in fine-
tuning the manuscript and for convincing me to change the original title. Finally I owe special
thanks to my parents for their suggestions on various drafts, and more importantly, for
introducing me to books at a young age and supporting me in everything I’ve done.