• June 22, 2017
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A Bookish Conversation with ‘Surgeon’s Story’ Marck Oristano

We’re happy to be hosting Mark Oristano, author of the new nonfiction, Surgeon’s Story! Mark is here to tell us all about the writing life and his publishing journey. Don’t forget to check out his new book and pick up your copy!

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.



About the Book:

Surgeon's Story

Author: Mark Oristano
Publisher: Authority Publishing
Pages: 190
Genre: Nonfiction Medical

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.


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Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Mark. Can you tell us where you are from?

I was born in Manhattan and grew up in the New York City suburb of Mamaroneck, NY, but I’ve lived in Dallas the past 47 years.

Q: How did you come up with your title?

Well, it’s a story about a surgeon, so I figured “Surgeon’s Story” summed it up pretty well.

Q: They say you can judge a book by its cover.  Can you tell us a little about your cover and who designed it? 

It was designed by my publisher, Authority Publishing. It features a photo I took of Dr. Kristine Guleserian as she performed a heart surgery. She looked up from the patient to check something on a monitor in front of her, and the angle, her eyes, and her signature earrings made the shot a good one.

Q: Can you tell us something about your book that would make me run out and buy it?

OK… I doubt you’ve ever come across a story that stretches from OR-1 at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas, to the pitcher’s mound at Fenway Park for a World Series game.

Q: Are there any messages in this book that you want the reader to know about?

We hope that young girls will read the book and realize that they can have careers in science and medicine.

Q: What was your most favorite chapter to write and why?

Probably the ones about Andrew Madden, the 13-year old transplant patient who wound up throwing out the first pitch at a World Series game, because I’m a big baseball fan.

Q: Why did you feel you had to write this book?

The more I got to know Dr. Guleserian, the more I felt her story deserved to be told. She’s a fascinating woman, with a fascinating talent, and as much bad PR as American health care gets, I thought a good story should be told.

Q:  Now, some fun questions – What deep dark secret would you like to share with us?


Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

I’d love to go back to Santorini, Greece, and spend a week sitting on a hotel balcony, drinking thick, dark coffee, and staring out at the sea.

Q: Are you a morning person or a night person?

Night! I’m a stage actor in addition to writing.

Q: Are there any members in your family who also like to write?

My daughter, who is an actor in Hollywood, writes screenplays.

Q: As a child, were you a dreamer?

Yes. And I still am.

Q: Last but not least, the magic genie has granted you one wish.  What would that be?

That writing was much easier.

Q: Thank you so much for this interview! Do you have any final words?

Don’t get it right, get it written.

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