Nadine Dorries, a prolific novelist who has produced 19 works including two trilogies, a six-part series, a novel and two novellas, told The Sunday Telegraph: “I still write 1,000 words every day, and I always will.
“Writing is very good for my mental health. I’m a happier person on the days I write.”
Ms Dorries, 62, considered on the right wing of the party, received £19,000 in royalties and £154,000 in book advances in the 11 months to October 2019, her most recent declaration to Parliament shows.
There was anger and confusion last summer when she was appointed junior health minister after she led calls to cut the time limit for abortions and tried to amend the law to strip abortion providers of their role in counselling women.
Earlier last year, Ms Dorries apologised for mixing up two British Asian women who both work in politics. She tweeted a video featuring Ash Sarkar, a political journalist at Novara Media, but referred to the “prospective candidate for Chingford”, who was, in fact, Faiza Shaheen.
The mistake was widely mocked, with users pointing out that “not all brown women look the same”.
MP for Mid Bedfordshire since 2005, she says she writes each morning, usually between 6.30am and 7.30am. “If I miss that, I tend to write for about six hours on a Sunday. I do about 300,000 words a year, which carves up into a couple of books.”
She submitted three books in advance before joining Boris Johnson’s government in July.
In 2013, she won a six-figure deal from publisher Head of Zeus for the worldwide rights to three new novels, and in 2018 she was given a £50,000 advance payment for one. The latest in her Tarabeg trilogy will come out this year.
Her earlier trilogy, The Four Streets, was published in 2014-15, and her six-part Lovely Lane series appeared from 2016-19.
The Four Streets, set in 1950s Liverpool, was inspired by her childhood in the city, and particularly her Irish grandmother.
One critic wrote of her first novel: “Dorries is just not very good at making things up. Things in the novel appear to happen purely because they seem like a good idea at the time to the author. Characters potter in and then out again as soon as their service to the plot is done.”
For another it was “the worst novel I’ve read in 10 years”.