A MARRIED couple have turned their experiences as parents and working in public relations to write their first children's book.

Suzy and Ben Simpson, who live in Tarporley, both attended Sir John Dean's Sixth Form college in Northwich in the early 2000s.

The pair have joined forces with professional artist and Ben's brother Joe Simpson, to write and illustrate their first book - The Pescatarian Bear.

When a bear wakes up from hibernation feeling very hungry, he goes off in search for a meal and along the way, meets a number of interesting creatures and learns he is in fact a pescatarian – but he doesn’t know what that means. From there his journey of discovery begins.

"I could never have imagined when Joe introduced me to his big brother Ben at his 17th birthday party back in 2001 that we would one day be launching a book together and dedicating it to our children - Joe’s niece and nephew - some 20 years later," said Suzy.

The couple both work in PR and digital communications for national companies and have combined their writing and communications skills with their first-hand experience as parents of two young children, Lola (aged 5) and Kasper (aged 2) to create their first children’s book.

Ben added: "Having two young children with very different eating habits, we were inspired to create a book that prompted healthy conversations about where our food comes from and people’s differing diets.

"We are fortunate to have a very talented artist in the family and, once we got Joe on board as our illustrator, it was full steam ahead to self-publish our first book.

"Both Lola and Kasper are big fans of the Pescatarian Bear and it has fast become a family favourite for bed time stories in our house – with very little promotion from the authors!"

Joe, who was also raised in Northwich and now lives in London, has been working as a fine artist for over 10 years. His realistic paintings have been exhibited internationally and shown in prestigious venues including; The National Portrait Gallery, The Royal Albert Hall and Mall Galleries.

His exhibitions include portraits of famous actors and musicians including Olivia Colman, Michael Sheen, Paloma Faith, Matt Lucas and Brandon Flowers. This is Joe’s first foray in to children’s book illustration.

"As soon as I heard the premise for the story I was inspired to get involved," he said.

"The story has an unexpected and somewhat gruesome twist at the end to surprise and engage older children which was fun to illustrate.

"While being based in nature, there was also the opportunity to include lots of detail in the artwork to appeal to the curiosity of younger children, who might be learning to recognise everyday objects and learn new words."

The trio are focussing the launch of the book on local independent retailers initially.

The Pescatarian Bear is stocked in The Barn at The Hollies Farm Shop in Little Budworth and their sister farm shop in Stretton as well as Tarporley interiors boutique, Baile.