From CGS Student to Published Author

Marcus Wachira (’22, ENG’24) recently celebrated the publication of his first book, “The Lashe Contingent.” Photo courtesy Marcus Wachira

By Gabrielle Drillis

When Marcus Wachira (‘22, ENG ‘24) started his gap semester as a first-year CGS student, he couldn’t have predicted that just three years later he’d be a published author. Wachira is a senior studying mechanical engineering with a passion for creative writing. During his time at BU, he has earned the title of President for Boston University Baja SAE, a student-run organization that designs and manufactures off-road vehicles for competition, and created Delightfully X, a club that offers an alternative to students who want to get out and be social in sober environments. 

Marcus recently celebrated the publication of his first book, “The Lashe Contingent.” Through the help of CGS professors, the gap semester, the CGS summer semester in London, and the ability to let his creativity shine without judgment, Marcus’ novel recently earned a spot in the Top 20 Time Travel Releases on Amazon. 

We spoke with Marcus about becoming an author, the people who supported him at CGS, and his advice for aspiring writers.

Q: Can you provide a summary of your new book “The Lashe Contingent”?

A: “The Lashe Contingent” is a prequel to a book I have been writing. My forthcoming novel is a 500 page book that is a coming-of-age time travel story with a biracial protagonist. This particular novella is a prequel before the antagonist becomes evil. It follows the character Michael Lashe, the first black superhero from the future year 2088. He fights crime, creates robots, and has a goal of creating an unbiased police force for his hometown, London. One day, a time traveling group kidnaps him and he is set on a mission to become a time traveler with a prejudiced time traveling companion.  

“The Lashe Contingent” earned a spot in the Top 20 Time Travel Releases on Amazon. Photo courtesy Marcus Wachira

Q: What inspired you to embark on such a big project and what was the writing process like?

A: For the larger book that has yet to come out, I was inspired by the Duran Duran album cover ‘Rio’. I was really into art and wanted to know who the model was and could not find any information on it. Naturally, I started thinking a lot about who this person could have been and it blew up into this 500 page book. I, of course, inserted things from my own life. I really wanted to include time travel and a biracial protagonist because I think we need more sci-fi characters like that. As for the prequel that is currently out, I was inspired by CGS, honestly. In my first draft, Michael was British. Then, going to London for the summer program I thought, ‘this will work!’ 

Q: Has writing always been a part of your life or is this something you discovered at BU?

A: Writing definitely was not always part of my life, even reading wasn’t. I did read some stuff, like “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” and then for a while in middle and high school I just sort of stopped. I started getting back into it at BU when I became a writer. It was weird, I never really said ‘I want to become a writer,’ it just kind of happened because I had so many ideas in my head that I just had to put them down. Getting into CGS helped because of the gap semester it gave me much more time to think and write about things. Now I feel that writing will always be part of my life. I never want to stop and there’s so much I still want to do. 

Q: Who have been some of the most influential people in helping you complete this?

A: My goal coming into college was to find one person to help refine my novel and get it published. When I came into CGS, I found so many people who wanted to help, which was amazing. Professor Regina Hanson helped a lot. She was one of the first professors I had and I told her about my story and that I needed help on it, and she picked up on it immediately. We had a directed study and she really read my story and gave me great feedback, which felt good because I knew the story was good since an accredited author told me to keep doing what I’m doing. Dean [Natalie] McKnight also helped connect me with many other people and introduced me to Professor [Joelle] Renstrom, who is like my editor in a way. She is really into sci-fi and robots, which is right up my alley. 

Q: How did CGS inspire you before or during the process of writing your book?

A: The gap semester really helped as it gave me more time to write it, but leading up to the London program, Professor Andy Andres emphasized being creative in the daily writing assignments, and it just really spoke to me. Charles Bukowski has a phrase, “go all the way with your writing,” which inspired me. I wrote 50 pages and now, published on Amazon, it’s 100. I just really threw everything at it that I could. CGS taught me to be creative and don’t hold back. 

Q: What are your next steps? Do you plan on writing another book one day?

A: The bigger book will take a lot more time as I want it to be really good, but “The Lashe Contingent” and the forthcoming novel will both be part of a big series. I want it to be at least six books, but I think it’ll be more. The stories are all done in my head so it’s just a matter of putting them down on paper! It’s just so much fun to write all of these. 

Q: Will you combine your academics and writing passion?

A: I do want two careers, a writing career and an engineering one. I discovered I love manufacturing through an internship I had this past summer, but it also helps so much in this prequel. Michael is making robots and so in my head I think, ‘what are some manufacturing terms I can use for this?’ I understand what people in STEM might really enjoy in a story, but I also add in romance and mystery, so I throw everything into it. 

Q: If you could leave one piece of advice for aspiring writers at CGS, what would it be?

A: Don’t set out to write a book one day. Instead, just sit back and one day say “oh, I’m writing a book right now.” Just get started and get to work on it. I didn’t think I was going to become a writer one day, I just had so many ideas that I had an obligation to write them all out. To me, that’s what makes a writer. You feel like you have to do it, and your story will come to you. When it’s time, just go all the way with it!

More information about “The Lashe Contingent” can be found on an interactive website Marcus created that allows users to engage with characters from the story and much more. Feel free to reach out to him at