The Only Way Is Essex is a popular TV show but Elderslie resident Linda Johns said that is not how she remembers her hometown.
In her new poetry book, Reflections of Life from an Essex Girl, the 64-year-old profiles her life experiences in the UK and Australia.
“I really started writing poems when I was 13 years old,” Mrs Johns said.
“I had been collecting them in a folder for years and I said to my husband it would be nice to have them in a book.”
Mrs Johns sent her poems to publishers all over the world but it was the well-known publishing house, Balboa Press, that printed Mrs Johns book.
“I was really pleased with the book,” she said.
“You always think that what you write will never be good enough but I have had great feedback.”
Mrs Johns said her poems featured a lot of her fears and worries but there were also some about happier times.
“I seem to write better when I am upset,” she said.
“I thinks sometimes it is easier to write it all down and get it all out.
“I was an unmarried mother from Essex who was a squatter for two years.'
“We couldn’t get a home in London so we were forced to get on a boat and leave our country.”
But Ms Johns said it was also important to embrace the good times.
“I think my life has made me feel very deeply but you have to have a sense of humour about these things,” she said.
“My poems are very easy to read and relatable for a lot of people.”
Reflections of Life from an Essex Girl is available from Booktopia and Amazon online.