Childrens author Jessica Parish was the guest of honour at her hometown’s Church Square shopping centre.
Jesscia, who hails from Haydock, was in the town centre to give her fans a sneak preview of her latest book.
And of course, she brought along her pet pooches Pugalugs and Dug. who are the stars of her new book, The Magic Bone, which was unveiled at BHS in Church Square.
The latest tale (or should that be tail?) from Jessica’s pen hits the book shelves on June when Jesscia and her husband will be back at Church Square signing of the book for fans.
The book is the fourth in the Pugalug and Dug series and is helping raise money for charity, with £1 donated to the children’s charity the NSPCC for every copy sold.
“When Pugalugs and Dug were pups they would be looked after by their grandad, my father-in-law Jim Parish, when Mark and I were working,” said Jessica.
“One day Jim was in the garden and the dogs somehow managed to slip out of the gate and take off.
“Poor Jim was looking everywhere for them and eventually received a call to say someone had found them and taken them to a local vet.
“The dogs had been found together, a mile from Jim’s house outside a pub, and it got us thinking about what had happened to them in between and adventures they may have got up to.”
Jessica, 28, was working as a recruitment company account manager, when she decided to seize the opportunity to pursue her childhood dream of writing fiction.
“I’d always loved writing at school but it hadn’t been a career option when I left school,” she said.
Together with Mark, the pair set up their own publishing company, Pugalug Publishing Ltd, and found an artist, Helen Poole, from Crosby in Liverpool, to illustrate the books.
Jessica has been busy writing her first three books charting the growing up of the puppies, their first walks, likes and dislikes and dressing up to go trick or treating, plus the couple have also been marketing and distributing the stories.
“It’s been a steep learning curve but I’m absolutely loving it and hearing from our young fans who regularly write and email us is fantastic,” said Jessica.
“I hope my stories help children get into reading and they learn to enjoy books.
“We are even producing Pugalugs merchandise now, such as mugs, T-shirts and bags, which are proving hugely popular too.”
Jessica, who is currently in talks with a national bookstore chain, added: “I’m confident the Pugalugs stories will be available in bookshops nationwide before very long and I’d like to thank all the young fans of Pugalugs for encouraging us.”
Church Square Shopping Centre manager Steven Brogan said: “It’s terrific that Jessica chose Church Square and BHS to preview her latest book about Pugalugs and Dug.
“As a dad myself, I know how important it is to get children into reading at a young age, and Jessica’s books certainly seem to appeal to them.
“We are all excited about the new book and the fact that it is raising funds for a great cause is even better.”