Monday, March 1, 2010

Introducing Kensington Editor Peter Senftleben

Peter Senftleben graduated from Tulane University in 2003 with a degree in chemical engineering and math. After careful consideration, he decided instead to pursue his passion for reading—to do something he enjoyed for the next fifty years of his life—and moved to New York to get into book publishing. He started as an intern at Writers House and worked as an assistant at a boutique literary agency for a year, but soon realized that his skills and heart were in editorial. In late 2006 he joined Kensington as the editorial assistant to the editor-in-chief and is now an assistant editor building his own varied and distinguished list.

Some of his projects include Two Rivers and The Hungry Season by T. Greenwood, Something Scandalous by Christie Kelley, Spy Candy by Gina Robinson, Closer to Fine by Meri Weiss, The Screwed-Up Life of Charlie the Second by Drew Ferguson, Take Me by Shelli Stevens, Working Stiff by Annelise Ryan, and The First Annual Grand Prairie Rabbit Festival by Ken Wheaton.

Peter is currently acquiring many types of fiction; his interests include: mysteries, thrillers, mainstream and women’s fiction, urban fantasy, paranormal fiction and romance, contemporary and historical romance, romantic suspense, erotic romance, and gay fiction. His nonfiction tastes, however, are limited to pop culture, humor, and entertainment. He does not want to see anything with terrorists of any kind.

Thank you for joining us today, Peter. You have quite the impressive bio. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Rich and famous. Seriously. Also, a writer, a chemist, a chef, a stand-up comic, and a librarian.

What or who influenced you to become an editor?

It was mostly my experiences in publishing that influenced me. I started out on the agenting side, and I wasn’t cut out for it. I preferred the editorial and developmental aspects so much more than everything else. And it really indulges my creative instincts without having to do all the work of actually creating.

Are there any books that you read for pleasure?

I don’t get much time to read for pleasure these days, but when I do, I find myself gravitating to YA more and more, be it paranormal or serious, realistic, issue-driven fiction. I also try to keep up with some of my favorite adult authors in the mystery and thriller genres, as well as some literary fiction if I have time and am in the right mindset.

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

I’d love to be a chocolatier, or a baker/pastry chef, or make cheese. In school I was interested in flavors and fragrances, so I wouldn’t mind working in R&D for an ice cream or candy company or something, coming up with new flavor profiles. I think it could be fun to do the scheduling and programming at a TV network, too. I’ve obviously given this a lot of thought…

What one word would you use to describe yourself?


They say you are what you eat, but you can also tell a lot about a person by their surroundings. What does your workspace look like?

It’s very tidy and orderly, with stacks and stacks of neatly arranged paper. I try to keep my desk as cleared as possible. I juggle a lot of projects in different stages, so I need to be organized or I’ll inevitably screw up something.

Do you have any hobbies?

I love TV and movies (I’m a pop culture aficionado), cooking and baking, spending time with friends. And reading, of course.

If you were stranded on an island… what four things would you want with you?

Someone I love for company, a machete to kill things, a loooooong book for entertainment, and a blanket to keep warm.

What was the most dangerous or scariest thing you’ve ever done?

I don’t do danger.

If you could have lunch with anyone living or dead… who would it be?

Hmmmm, so many people to choose from! The first who come to mind are Ellen Degeneres, Kathy Griffin, Anderson Cooper, and Neil Patrick Harris. That would be a fun lunch!

If you could live in another time period… when would it be and why?

I don’t think I would want to. Too early in history and you don’t have running water or toilets, and anything more recent still faces too much discrimination that I don’t want to deal with. I’m fine in the now, even though we have our own problems.

As an editor you’re thought of as quite the wordsmith. Do you have a favorite word? What would be your least favorite word?

No favorite, really, though I’m sure I use some more than I should. But I don’t like the C word or the P word, even when it refers to a cat, despite how often they appear in the books I work on.

Flash Round:

Favorite Ice Cream flavor? Cookies and cream or mint chocolate chip

Favorite Food? Lasagna (with lots of cheese!)

Favorite flower? Gardenia

Favorite Sport? Errrr… Does bowling count?

Guilty Pleasure? I don’t feel guilty about anything pleasurable J

Thank you for spending the day with us, Peter.

We're looking forward to seeing you at the Desert Dreams conference.


  1. Peter,
    I don't do danger either, at least not anymore LOL. Anyhoo, welcome, and we're so glad you're heading for Arizona.

  2. Peter, the luncheon you described would be a hoot. I'd love to be a fly on the wall...except flies/food is not a good combination. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Donna Del GrossoMarch 1, 2010 at 8:02 AM

    Mathematician turned editor... Love the combination! And I have to agree that I wouldn't want to live in any other time!
    Welcome to Arizona, I hope it's nice when you get here!

  4. I think bowling counts as a sport since I'm terrible at that one, too!

  5. Great interview Peter! I look forward to meeting you in person at Desert Dreams. I don't do danger either, but damned if I can get danger to quit doing me...wait, that didn't come out right. :)

  6. Wow, Peter, from engineering to editing-- thanks for making me feel better about my degree in Political Science and the goal I have of becoming a romance author! A lot of people have told me my background and my current aspirations are a wierd combination, but hey, if you can breach the divide, then so can I. Thanks for letting us all get better aquainted with you, and I'm looking forward to meeting you in April!

  7. Hi Peter,

    Is there any sub-genre of romance that you are particularly looking for now. Maybe you would like to see more of or aren't getting much of?

    I think you'll have a great time with us in April. We are a friendly, fun bunch, but then again, most romance writers are :-)