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.
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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
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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Thanks for letting us interrogate you! Can you give us a go-for-the-gut answer as to why you wanted to be an author?
I’ve been writing since I was sixteen. I’m now 65. It’s ingrained.
Tell us (we won’t tell promise!) is it all it’s cracked up to be? I mean what are the perks and what are the demands?
I don’t enjoy writing. I enjoy having written.
Which route did you take – traditional or self-published – and can you give us the nitty gritty low down on what’s that like?
We had much interest from New York publishers, however they all insisted the book be in the doctor’s first person voice. She refused, saying this was too egotistical. So we self-published. It’s more expensive, but it’s also more rewarding if you work it right.
What’s the snarkiest thing you can say about the publishing industry?
It’s like William Goldman said about Hollywood: “Nobody here knows anything.”
Tell us for real what your family feels about you spending so much time getting your book written, polished, edited, formatted, published, what have you?
It’s my job. My wife teaches Pilates. I write.
What was the craziest or insane thing that happened to you in the book publishing process?
For this book? It was the first time I saw a human heart closeup. It had been taken out of a 16-year old during a transplant. They put it in a dish and moved it to the other side of the OR. I went to look at it. And it beat!
How about the social networks? Which ones do you believe help and which ones do you wish you could avoid?
I’m big on Facebook. The others I’m weak.
Book sales. Don’t you just love them (or lack of?)? How are you making the sales happen for you?
There are three tricks. The first is publicity. When you’re done with that, you need publicity. And when that’s finished, a big dose of publicity really helps.
What is one thing you’d like to jump on the rooftop and scream about?
WILL SOMEBODY PLEASE FIND A WAY TO GET ME DOWN OFF THIS DAMNED ROOF!
Okay, too much sugar for you today! Here’s a nice cup of Chamomile tea and come on over and sit under the cabana and watch the waves roll in. Now…can you tell us what you love about being a published author and how all those things above doesn’t matter because it’s all part of the whole scheme of things and you wouldn’t have it any other way?
As a writer and actor (stage) I’m a storyteller. I think that stories bind us, make us realize our common humanity. In the theater we go through weeks of arduous, soul-searching rehearsal to find out who our characters are. In writing, we cut open veins and bleed into the computer to flesh out our stories. People will see them and be changed.
Go now, the mass is ended.