(Courtesy Counterpoint Press)

Author Laura Pritchett says she writes novels in part to bring attention to issues like rural poverty, people smuggling and climate change. 

Her newest book features a character named Tess Cross, who returns to her small hometown in Colorado eight years after leaving her newborn baby. In that time, she's been entangled in a dangerous world of illegal drugs and people smuggling across U.S.-Mexico border into Colorado. 

Pritchett, who lives in Bellvue, just northwest of Fort Collins, is the author of several books including "Hell's Bottom Colorado,"which has received numerous awards.

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Pritchett on taking on the challenges of life in r ural Colorado

"We have issues surrounding social justice and immigration, climate change, drought, poverty in rural areas, and so I want to write about the West as it really is which involve these topics and I don't want to fall into mythologizing small town life. "

On how people are crossing the border

"There are four million unauthorized  immigrants n the United States and they're getting here somehow. So these transports are very common and I spoke to several people who had crossed recently to get the details on what they have to do and how their routes have changed, so I did a lot of research in order to get the details right."

On living in Colorado

"One of my great loves in my life is the state of Colorado. I mean, really, I wake upnevery day feeling quite in love, and when you love something you want to see it as it really is, you want to stay curious, and you want to fight and protect it."