Dagmara Dominczyk

Dagmara Dominczyk

The Lullaby of Polish Girls is a gritty coming of age story about the tumultuous  friendship between three Polish women. It's set in both Poland and the United States and spans three decades. It's a story about losing home, love and identity, and somehow finding it again.  

Please tell us about the character of Anna.

Anna is one of the three main protagonists, a Polish immigrant who arrives in New York City in 1983 as a seven year old girl. She is the one battling two selves, two countries, two lives. Anna goes back to Poland when she is thirteen and forges what turns out to be a lifelong friendship with two girls from her hometown. A fish out of water wherever she goes. Her struggle mainly focuses on what it means to fit in, in a world full of boundaries and borders. She's also the character loosely based on my own immigrant experience. 

What made you want to write a coming of age story?

I feel like young women go through a kind of mid-twenties life crisis. A time when we haven't quite figured out what our role is in the world - and so we go backward, longing for the simplicity of adolescence. Coming of age novels have always piqued my interest - a large part of my own adulthood has been spent looking back on my life, a kind of nostalgic pull to dissect what has made me who I am today. 

How much does your background in acting help you to picture the movement of the characters and the delivery of their dialogue?

As an actress, I think I have a keen sense of dialogue and a rather overly developed sensitivity about what makes a character truly come to life, whether on stage or on page. It was easy to inhabit three lives, bodies, voices as I started writing and I do believe that a background in acting helped guide me as I told this particular story. 

What made you move from acting to writing?

Before acting, I had writing and reading. Coming to a foreign country as a child one becomes very aware early on about the significance of language and communication. Books were my saviours, growing up. I wrote poetry, short stories, plays. This was therapeutic for me as for a long time I was too cognizant of my accent etc. to speak my mind. So I wrote. This naturally transitioned to wanting to share stories, and doing it on a stage or on the screen seemed like a visceral form of storytelling. Writing was my first love, way before theatre and films came into play. 

Please tell us about the inspiration behind the story.

I spent my summers in Poland from when I was 12 to about 22. Those summer vacations impacted me hugely. I saw the other world I was a part of, I met new friends, held on to old ones. A girl I knew in Poland lost her husband when she was 25 years old, circumstances similar to that in my novel. When I found this out, it shook me. I didn't know how our lives had so diverged and why. At that point I was already starring in films and living a very different life than my old friends in Poland. There was a sense of guilt, a vague sense about fate, coincidence, and injustice. I started writing a story though I never knew details about my friend's husband's murder. I wrote 50 pages and called it The Constellations and then I put it away. It wasn't till years later, after I had married and had a son that I went back to the pages. I started writing again, and this time I had the perspective of a 30 something year old woman.  I wanted to give a voice to girls who hadn't been able to find their own voices. Something like that. :)

What is next for you?

I just finished writing a new novel, a complete shift from Lullaby, a kind if coming of middle age about a 40 year old wife and mother who wakes up on her birthday and realizes she has no idea if she is indeed a happy woman. The book doesn't even have the word Poland in it :) I also have a film coming out that I shot with my husband and brother in law and sisters. A very dark satirical comedy, due in the fall. I just shot an episode of Boardwalk Empire and next spring I'll be starring in a movie about a Polish immigrant that comes to Nashville in the mid 1980s. Finally I get to play a Polish woman! :) In between all that I work on my toughest most rewarding role - that of being a mother of two amazing little boys...

by for www.femalefirst.co.uk
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