Nonfiction Author Interview: Mark Oristano

Mark Oristano has been a professional writer/journalist since the age of 16.

After growing up in suburban New York, Oristano moved to Texas in 1970 to attend Texas Christian University.  A major in Mass Communications, Mark was hired by WFAA-TV in 1973 as a sports reporter, the start of a 30-year career covering the NFL and professional sports.

Mark has worked with notable broadcasters including Verne Lundquist, Oprah Winfrey and as a sportscaster for the Dallas Cowboys Radio Network and Houston Oilers Radio Network.  He has covered Super Bowls and other major sports events throughout his career.  He was part of Ron Chapman’s legendary morning show on KVIL-FM in Dallas for nearly 20 years.

In 2002 Oristano left broadcasting to pursue his creative interests, starting a portrait photography business and becoming involved in theater including summer productions with Shakespeare Dallas. He follows his daughter Stacey’s film career who has appeared in such shows as Friday Night Lights and Bunheads.

A veteran stage actor in Dallas, Mark Oristano was writer and performer for the acclaimed one-man show “And Crown Thy Good: A True Story of 9/11.”

Oristano authored his first book, A Sportscaster’s Guide to Watching Football: Decoding America’s Favorite Game. A Sportcaster’s Guide offers inside tips about how to watch football, including stories from Oristano’s 30-year NFL career, a look at offense, defense and special teams, and cool things to say during the game to sound like a real fan.

In 2016 Oristano finished his second book, Surgeon’s Story, a true story about a surgeon that takes readers inside the operating room during open heart surgery. His second book is described as a story of dedication, talent, training, caring, resilience, guts and love.

In 1997, Mark began volunteering at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas, working in the day surgery recovery room. It was at Children’s that Mark got to know Kristine Guleserian, MD, first to discuss baseball, and later, to learn about the physiology, biology, and mystery of the human heart. That friendship led to a joint book project, Surgeon’s Story, about Kristine’s life and career.

Mark is married and has two adult children and two grandchildren.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

About the Book:

 

What is it like to hold the beating heart of a two-day old child in your hand?  What is it like to counsel distraught parents as they make some of the most difficult decisions of their lives?

Noted pediatric heart surgeon Dr. Kristine Guleserian has opened up her OR, and her career, to author Mark Oristano to create Surgeon’s Story – Inside OR-6 With a top Pediatric Heart Surgeon. 

Dr. Guleserian’s life, training and work are discussed in detail, framed around the incredibly dramatic story of a heart transplant operation for a two-year old girl whose own heart was rapidly dying.  Author Mark Oristano takes readers inside the operating room to get a first-hand look at pediatric heart surgeries most doctors in America would never attempt.

That’s because Dr. Guleserian is recognized as one of the top pediatric heart surgeons in America, one of a very few who have performed a transplant on a one-week old baby. Dr. Guleserian (Goo-liss-AIR-ee-yan) provided her expertise, and Oristano furnished his writing skills, to produce A Surgeon’s Story.

As preparation to write this stirring book, Oristano spent hours inside the operating room at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas watching Guleserian perform actual surgeries that each day were life or death experiences. Readers will be with Dr. Guleserian on her rounds, meeting with parents, or in the Operating Room for a heart transplant.

Oristano is successful sportscaster and photographer and has made several appearances on stage as an actor. He wrote his first book A Sportscaster’s Guide to Watching Football: Decoding America’s Favorite Game, and continues to volunteer at Children’s Medical Center.

“We hear a lot about malpractice and failures in medical care,” says Oristanto, “but I want my readers to know that parts of the American health care system work brilliantly. And our health care system will work even better if more young women would enter science and medicine and experience the type of success Dr. Guleserian has attained.”

Readers will find all the drama, intensity, humor and compassion that they enjoy in their favorite fictionalized medical TV drama, but the actual accounts in Surgeon’s Story are even more compelling. One of the key characters in the book is 2-year-old Rylynn who was born with an often fatal disorder called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome and was successfully treated by Dr. Guleserian.

Watch the Book Trailer at YouTube.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

What made you decide to become a published author?

I’ve been writing journalistically since age 16 (back in 1968.) I wrote my first book seven years ago. A Sportscaster’s Guide to Watching Football.  I was a football broadcaster for 30 years.

Would you consider your latest book, Surgeon’s Story, to be a one of a kind?  How so?

In terms of the immediacy of the story as we watch Dr. Kristine Guleserian in the operating room, and the way she deals with the incredibly challenging problems of pediatric heart surgery, yes, I’d say it’s rare. Dr. Guleserian is one of only 9 women in the U.S. board certified in pediatric cardiothoracic surgery, so you know it’s a special story.

Where is your writing sanctuary?

Just my office at home. Although someday I’m going back to Santorini, Greece for a week to sit on a hotel balcony, drink coffee, and write.

What do you believe a writer should not do as far as getting his or her book published?

Don’t compromise your values. Don’t listen to people who tell you how your book “should” be written. Be true to yourself first.

What inspires you?

I love telling stories. As a sportscaster, broadcasting football games was a storytelling exercise. I work now as a stage actor, and that’s obviously storytelling.

What is one thing you learned about your book after it was published?

That people were amazed it was so short.

Why do you love to write non-fiction?

I’d much rather tell real stories about real people. I’m not very good at making up fiction.

You’re concocting a recipe for a best selling book.  What’s the first ingredient?

A topic that makes people’s eyes bug out.

What’s one fun fact about your book people should know?

That you don’t have to be a medical student or a doctor to understand it. Lots of charts, photos, and explanations for the lay person.

Aside from writing, what’s your passion?

Acting.

What’s next for you?

Lunch.

 

 

 

 

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