Alice Askew was born Alice Jane de Courcy Leake in London, the eldest daughter of a British military officer and his wife. She began writing as a young woman and in 1894 published a short story under her initials, A. J. de C. L., in the Belgravia Magazine. In 1900, she married Claude Askew, with whom she had three children. The couple began writing together and The Shulamite, the first of their 80 books and stories, was published in 1904. A stage adaptation of it was performed in London and New York City, and it was made into a Hollywood silent film entitled Under the Lash (1921). During World War I, Alice and her husband travelled with a British field hospital to Serbia and worked as correspondents for the British Daily Express. The Stricken Land: Serbia as We Saw It (1916) was their last book. Alice served as a nurse with the Red Cross in Corfu, and Claude accompanied the Serbian Army. They were killed returning from leave in Italy when the steamer they were travelling on was sunk by a German submarine.