Velia Ercole was the daughter of an Australian-born mother of Irish and Breton heritage and an Italian father. Ercole grew up in Grenfell where her father was a doctor. She was educated at the Dominican Convent, Moss Vale, and during the 1920s worked as a journalist at the Sunday Sun. She published her short fiction widely in Australian magazines during the 1930s and on into the 1940s. She treasured her Breton background and spoke French fluently. After travelling in France, she settled in England, where she occasionally used her husband's last name as a pseudonym.
'The setting of "No Escape" is a small township in New South Wales, once a goldminers' paradise, now the unprogressive centre of a pastoral district. An Italian doctor named Leo Gherardi, settled there with his wife Teresa and their small son Leo, had been forced to leave Italy for political reasons just at the beginning of a promising career in medicine. His wife in accompanying him temporarily gave up a brilliant future on the concert platform. But both were convinced that absence from their beloved Italy would only be an unpleasant interlude during which they would save money to have Leo's case reviewed and his sentence annulled. This hope alone buoyed them up when they began life in the township of Banton.'