Carstensen is a Danish-born Kiwi and has also lived in Canada as a child. He is an English teacher by profession and has worked mainly in New Zealand. He has also lived and worked in China and did stints in Scotland and Indonesian Borneo. He is writing fiction in his semi-retirement and has published short stories in various literary journals and competitions. Also, he disappears occasionally into New Zealand backblocks with a backpack and a fly rod.