LOVE and politics do not normally mix.

But Polly James was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize when she combined the two in her first book, Diary of an Unsmug Married.

The story was based on a blog called Mid-Wife Crisis that the former Penketh resident wrote under the pseudonym of Molly Bennett.

It is about a married mum-of-two who works for an MP and is going through a bad patch with her husband when an old school friend starts flirting with her through Facebook.

But it also echoed Polly's real life as she used to be a caseworker for two MPs.

Polly, who lived in Highfield Avenue, said: "The funny thing was all the MPs following it became more obsessed with the love story than they were about the politics.

"I think it put the humanity back into politics. Nobody had written about politics from that angle before.

"People have written insider accounts but it has always been from the glamour of the House of Commons.

"This was ordinary people with the job of working in the constituency and seeing real life and how politics affects ordinary people.

"About 95 per cent was based on real things that happened to me or colleagues over the years.

"Within a couple of months of starting the blog just about every political journalist in the country was trying to work out who Molly was."

But when Polly was nominated for an Orwell Prize in 2011 she had a dilemma as her double life was about to be rumbled.

"The worst thing was I couldn’t even go to the award ceremony because I was writing under the pseudonym of Molly Bennett," added Polly, whose stepdad David trained at Warrington Art College.

"I didn’t want to draw any attention to my previous MP bosses and I still don’t name them.

"It was weird because you’re stuck at home writing this blog and this whole life is going on around you that you’re totally detached from.

"Sometimes it didn’t feel like it was me so it was totally peculiar."

It was a book deal with HarperCollins which convinced Polly to go public as the brains behind Molly.

The 56-year-old has not looked back since with her new novel, Would Like To Meet, out this month.

It is about Hannah Pinkman, who seeks to make a new life for herself when her marriage reaches the end of the line.

Polly said: "I’ve been interested in reading stuff about online dating for a while because a lot of my friends have been doing it.

"It seems to be that you hit your 50s and end up splitting up, probably once the children have gone. You suddenly realise nothing is holding you together apart from them.

"I was mulling around ideas for a while trying to find an angle on it. Then I suddenly found a forum where loads of women were talking about how horrific it was when they spotted their exes on social media.

"That gave me the way in. That is something that wouldn’t have happened to my parents’ generation.

"Back then when you split up from somebody – unless you had children with them – they would disappear into ether and you wouldn’t have to think about them anymore.

"Now everybody’s lives are lived so publicly so there is probably no getting away from it. That has got to make the whole thing more traumatic and weirder and so the idea came from that.

"I was also trying to think about how it would feel for my friends. When you’ve been married a long time your whole lives become enmeshed."

But with two stories about women becoming less than enamoured with their husbands, is Polly's husband Mark beginning to get a chip on his shoulder?

Polly added: "My husband is incredibly helpful when I’m writing books. I’ll often ask him questions for a male perspective. He gets to know the characters and live in them basically.

"However when my first book came out he read the first three chapters and couldn’t read anymore. He said: ‘People are going to think it’s me’.

"I’m pretty sure he won’t be able to read this one either. The funny thing is that although he was so paranoid he’s the one that tells everybody this story and points out any likenesses..."

- Would Like To Meet is out on June 30