H.P. was born in a then-rustic now-gentrified small town in Connecticut.  Like any wide-eyed young girl, she dreamt of someday having a minuscule galley kitchen stocked with nothing but Ramen noodles and $2 bottles of wine.  The obvious next step was a theater degree.  

As a student at Brown University, she directed classics like Threepenny Opera and Ubu Roi, plus that one show where an actor set his pubic hair on fire, which was not her idea, no matter what you’ve heard.

Those Ramen-dreams took her to New York City, where she worked for such esteemed organizations as the Circle Repertory Company, NY Theater Workshop, and that cute 12-seat theater over the adult bookstore. H.P. paid the rent with a series of literally odd jobs, like the time she answered phones at a shipping company for two weeks without ever seeing a single other human being. She also invented new drug names for a pharmaceutical company. (Ever heard of Avraquel? Hey, she never said she was good at any of these jobs.)

H.P. also misspent her summers holding up the bar at Coney Island’s Sideshows by the Seashore, downing Coronas with her friends and sometimes buying a round for Michael the Tattooed Man, may he rest in peace.

Eventually she ran out of wine and took a job in publishing. It seemed to make sense at the time.

Here I am, at Coney, at said sideshow with said beverage, circa 1996.

Here I am, at Coney, at said sideshow with said beverage, circa 1996.

For about 20 years, H.P. worked as a book packager—essentially an editorial chameleon creating anything a publisher might need.  She edited and contributed to books on the wonders of capitalism and the evils of globalization, on the history of the Internet and the future of human rights.  She created the Ecosystems series for Facts On File and the Horrors of History series for Charlesbridge Press.  Her first novel, Magruder’s Curiosity Cabinet, was published by Sourcebooks in 2016. In 2018 she turned her love of charlatans, tricksters, and other deceivers into a nonfiction kids’ book, Fakers: An Insider’s Guide to Cons, Hoaxes, and Scams (Charlesbridge).

H.P. has a handsome and patient husband and a 14-year-old daughter from whom she steals all her best ideas.