"The only thing to do was to write my way through the dark times. And I discovered a joy in it. I had always taken a pleasure in writing, but the joy became deeper, perhaps because what had happened had made me more serious and more rigorous and made me realise just how important every word is." She laughs. "I suppose you could say that I drew on the pain creatively." She raises an eyebrow. "That's writers for you. We use everything."Lavery was accused of lifting arguing passages for her play Frozen from an article by Malcolm Gladwell in the New Yorker in 1997. The case never came to trial and many people, including Gladwell himself, supported her.
"I have changed the way I write. I make sure that I've left any research that I've done a very long way behind," she says. "What happened has made me much more careful and that's a good thing. I think, writing Frozen, I was immensely naive and very stupid. Frozen's subject matter was so thorny I wanted it to be completely accurate, but that meant I wasn't as careful as I should have been. It is typical of me: if I was going to make a mistake, it was going to be a big one."