Inspired by the mine fire stories of Centralia and Carbondale, a soon-to-be-released book will bring the story of a troubled family living with the "curse" of their surroundings.

In Natalie S. Harnett's book, "The Hollow Ground," readers are introduced to Brigid Howley, 11, a young girl whose family is forced to seek refuge with her estranged grandparents after underground mine fires ravaged the Pennsylvania coal country she called home.

The family, though, takes strange pleasure in a "curse" laid upon them generations before by a priest who ran afoul of the Molly Maguires.

Harnett, Long Island, N.Y., found real life inspiration when doing research for the book.

"I was blown away when I found out about the priest who was rumored to have cursed the town of Centralia in the mid-1800s," Harnett said.

According to the author, when the Mollies heard about this priest speaking out against them, they attacked him. The priest then cursed the entire town, saying that in 100 years, not a single building in the town would stand.

"Amazingly, this curse has pretty much come true due to the mine fires burning beneath Centralia," Harnett said.

The author based her story on the town of Carbondale, renamed "Barrendale" in the book.

She recalled the town as she spent most of her childhood vacations visiting her grandfather in Wayne County, and didn't know about Carbondale's mine fire until she started to do her research.

"The Hollow Ground," published by Thomas Dunne Books, is scheduled for a May 13 release.