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Writing is its own reward
– Henry Miller
My Bio

Erica Lainé has been an actress, a beauty consultant, a box office manager for an arts festival, a domiciliary librarian, a reader liaison officer, a speech and drama teacher, a writer of TEFL textbooks for Chinese primary schools, and an educational project manager for the British Council in Hong Kong. She was awarded an MBE for her work there. She summed up that work with the quote, ‘He jumped on his horse and rode off wildly in all directions.’

She lived in London in the late 50s as a drama student and then as a young wife and mother until 1977. After her life in Hong Kong she came to south west France in 1997 with her architect husband to the glorious house he had designed, a conversion from a cottage and barn. She lives here with him, a cat and a dog and rooms filled with a lifetime collection of books. She is president of An Aquitaine Historical Society and through that organisation came to know about Isabella of Angoulême, the subject of her trilogy. She continues to be fascinated and intrigued by 13th century France and England and their tangled connections.

Her journal entries will be full of medieval history, threads and references from her books, travels, gardening, cooking, her pets, plays and theatre, the natural world as she observes it, her life in Asia, her life in France past and present. An eclectic mix. Erica thinks her life could be captured with the phrase Once Upon A Time.

I was born during the war in Southampton which had been heavily bombed and my memories are of bomb craters in the city, the transatlantic liners that competed for the Blue Riband crossing and picnics in the New Forest. And lots of reading, books for every birthday and Christmas and weekly visits to the library to borrow more.

My family moved to Guernsey when I was about 9. There was no public library, so we joined the Boots Lending Library, an extraordinary concept but a good one. And Guernsey provided a dreamlike time of harbours and beaches, cliffs and wooded valleys, boat trips to Herm and Sark, cycling down water lanes to hidden coves. Next there was boarding school, the Arts Educational School in Tring, where I studied drama and had a somewhat sketchy general education but there was always reading. By now I was writing poetry and telling myself and others stories. Yes. I talked to myself! Or rather told myself stories out loud, a habit that still seizes me on long walks.

Later in London, I worked in the Libraries and Arts department of the London Borough of Camden, running the box office for the Arts Festival and then working as a library assistant for books delivered to the housebound. I had to read a huge selection of books so that I could make recommendations and talk to a variety of people about books that they wanted and liked. My working life did give me some writing opportunities, a few articles for the arts magazine that Camden produced.

Retraining as a speech and drama teacher led to wider and wider reading, all good. An extra course on the history of children’s literature fascinated me and has been invaluable ever since.

In 1977 I moved with my husband and two young daughters to Hong Kong where I worked for the British Council, teaching, writing primary TEFL school text books and a set of graded readers. Some might say not very creative but when you are only allowed to use two tenses and a very limited vocabulary and make the books interesting that is a challenge.

The next step was to become the Special Projects Manager and I directed many English Language projects for Chinese teachers of English. This involved making teaching videos and writing masses of teaching material. All practice and no theory so I studied for an MA in TEFL at the University of Reading. In 1998 I was award the MBE for my work in HK. I am now retired and live in South West France where I am President of An Aquitaine History Society. I began writing seriously and creatively in 2011 and it was the most wonderful experience to be liberated into the world of imagination and stories.