The Belch Park Field Trip


Henry Williams has never been a leader.
Or stood up to the bullies.
Or kissed the girl of his dreams.
In fact, he’s never stood out from the school crowd.
Mind you, he’s only twelve years-old.
And a foot shorter than his classmates.
All that will change today, though.
The school inspectors are visiting Chrome Junction Academy.
The principal needs to get rid of the cream of the cr@p!
He would have preferred to send them to another galaxy far, far away…
Instead, the obnoxious, high-on-energy-drinks brats are off to…
Roller coasters! Mega-drop towers! Ghost trains! Ferris wheels! Bumper cars!
No end of opportunities for fun, thrills and spills!
The perfect place to run rampant and enjoy themselves…
But wait!
South London’s notorious Our Lady of Sacrifice Roman Catholic school is also there.
They’re Chrome Junction Academy’s natural enemy.
Oh bugger
Limbs will break…
Dares will result in irreparable damage…
The innocent will be caught in the crossfire…
Even the park may not survive
Henry’s destiny awaits…
Chrome Junction Academy’s underdog must step up… and grow a pair.
He’ll have to ensure the safety of his friends.
Fend off the bigger, badder kids.
and get them out of Belch Park in one piece!

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About Andrew Mackay

Some authors are afraid to cross the line.

Me? Oh, I’m glad you asked! I make “the line” my starting point…
My brand is satire.
I hop between genres like madman on crack because my razor-sharp literary knife is hungry for political and social commentary. One genre just can’t cut it (if you’ll forgive the pun.) I’m obsessed, I tell you!
I write straight-up humor and farce, horror, crime, romance… all under the banner of satire.
My novels often contain a ruthless commentary on society, delving into the darker machinations of modern life. They can be uproarious, funny, outrageous and shocking. Make no mistake, though. They are this way for a reason, and always come equipped with a sense of humanity and wit.
My influences include John Cleese, Tom Sharpe, Kurt Vonnegut, James Patterson, Hunter S Thompson, Douglas Adams, Imogen Edwards-Jones, Michael Frayn, Chris Morris, Jerry Sadowitz, Christopher Hitchins, Bill Maher, George Carlin, Jordan Peterson, Pat Condell, and writer/director Larry Cohen.
My obsessions include (and are essentially limited to) obscene amounts of: smoking, drugs, alcohol, caffeine, sex, debating, daydreaming and writing about himself in the third person.

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1. Your book has such an interesting name. How did you come up with this book name?

Does it? Hmm. In the UK, just outside of London, we have a theme park called “Thorpe Park”. I kind of grew up with its evolution. Back in the seventies it was just that – a park. Fields and trees and a few models. In the eighties, it acquired some mildly exciting rides. In the nineties, it changed its business image, installed a few vicious roller coasters and became a big attraction. Now, in 2018, it has millions of really dangerous and violent rides, ample opportunities to line the pockets of mega-conglomerate food companies and a hotel. It’s evolved in much the same way I have.

So, taking the core themes of children and high-on-energy-drink terrorism, I decided to parody the park and call it Belch Park – Belch, after burping up small chunks of vomit. The was my starting point really. If you have an overactive imagination and a dark sense of humour, as I do, the book sort of writes the satire itself. Yes, kids fall off roller coasters. Yes, they do puke on those big, spinning ides. Of course, a child will climb the launch coaster track and risk death. And yes, at some point, the pent-up, sexually-frustrated animals in the zoo will break free and trash the place…

2. As a large fan of young adult fiction can you please tell me about why you chose to write in a young adult genre?

I didn’t intend to at first. The first draft of The Belch Park Field Trip was overly violent and incredibly profane. It wasn’t until my illustrator delivered the final cover that I realised it would appeal to kids, young adults and even proper adults. So, I toned down the swearing and made it more inventive (e.g. “Go away, you flabby knob goblin”) The book is more South Park meets The Goonies in tone because of it. So, the answer to your question is “I never” but then changed it accordingly. It’s the first book – my fifteenth, no less – that kids can actually read without being traumatised.

3. If you could choose to write with another author similar to what you write in genre who would it be and why?

I really don’t want to co-author books. I’m too psychotic and impatient as it is without having to wait for someone else. I bash out first drafts in 4-6 days. I’d go out of my mind having to wait months. BUT… if I absolutely had to, I would have loved to co-write with Douglas Adams or maybe Hunter S. Thompson. The other problem is that I’m multi-genre. By April I would have tackled sci-fi, humor, satire, crime, suspense, thriller, YA and romance.

4. I love the cover of this book as it is so colourful as well as so unique. What was your motivation for this cover and did you design it?

No, my illustrator Kreacher designed the cover. He does all my covers and illustrations. It all starts with an idea in my head. I sketch it out (badly, because I can’t draw) and he creates a preliminary sketch. We agree that, and then he colours it in. Belch Park was based on a few ideas, most blatantly Rollercoaster Tycoon. But everything else is different. The vomiting and the girl flying off was my idea (natch.) Also, there are a few hidden jokes in the cover if you look hard enough. The name of the zoo is “Zoophilia”, for example. “Max Dark’s Chicken Coma” is the park’s virtual reality haunted house experience. But if you’ve read my horror series PURE DARK, you’ll get the joke. I always reward my long-term, genre-hopping, follow-Andrew-wherever-he-goes fans and readers.

5. As an avid reader when you read for pleasure what genre of books do you choose and why?

I generally dislike sci-fi, but I am on a diet of it for my next book. I kinda like the idea I’m tackling sci-fi when I’m not a fan, because I think it’ll give it a new lease of life. I generally read satire and biography. The last books I read were Nomad, by Alan Partridge and Stewart Lee’s How I Escaped My Certain Fate. I also love Imogen Edwards-Jones who wrote Hotel Babylon, which was the inspiration for my first series In Their Shoes. John Cleese is my creative idol, though, in some many different ways.

6. If you could change one thing about the process in writing what would you wish to change?

I’d like to get seventeen proof readers who can go through my manuscript one after the other. Those small, irksome errors – that readers don’t mind as long as the story is decent – irks me. It makes me afraid to re-read my books for pleasure, because I’m bound to spot some daft little typo or something…

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