Midcoast Maine is fortunate to see many a Blues Music Award winner pay a visit and even has its own Mississippi Blues Trail marker. Movement in the opposite direction is rarer, although North Atlantic Blues Festival co-founder Paul Benjamin of Rockland’s recent term as president of the Blues Foundation kept the road from Memphis to Maine open for travel. This month will see some real reciprocity as Belfast resident Amy van Singel heads to Tennessee to see the seminal book she co-edited inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame.

“The Voice of The Blues: Classic Interviews from Living Blues Magazine” by van Singel and Jim O’Neal was published in 2002. The following year, it won an ASCAP Deems Taylor Special Recognition Award in the Popular Books category, an honor that brought van Singel to New York City’s Lincoln Center. But the award she is most proud of resides with her in Belfast, a bowling-trophy-looking object given by great Chicago-area DJ Pervis Spann, another 2012 Hall of Fame inductee.

“It’s there with the dusty stacks of magazines,” she said the last week of April.

Those Living Blues Magazines were produced in pre-PC, pre-word processing days as a labor of love, she said.

“It was a slog but I loved doing it too,” van Singel said.

Growing up in the Chicago area gave van Singel the opportunity to see many of the Great Generation blues artists performing live, once she realized who and where they were.

“When the British invasion landed, I could see they were all doing imitations of this American music … I quit listening to rock ‘n’ roll and pop when I was 15, started taking the Burlington train in and discovered the Jazz Record Mart,” she said.

JRM, in Chicago, was owned by Delmark, the blues record label that came into its own with Junior Wells’ “Hoodoo Man Blues.” So van Singel fell in love with the blues early. She also started writing about it early, beginning with an end-of semester paper for her high school English class.

“Every time I wrote about the blues I’d get an A; nobody knew anything about it, they thought it was this mysterious music,” she said.

So mysterious that van Singel ended up teaching a couple of college-level courses about the music she loved — and knew so much more about than her teachers. While a junior at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., where she went on to earn a degree in radio, TV and film studies, she and fellow blues fan O’Neal started Living Blues Magazine in 1970, which they co-edited through 1987, four years after it was acquired by the University of Mississippi. It is still published.

The book contains 12 of the almost 57 interviews with blues artists published by the magazine — many more were done, often using then-standard reel-to-reel and then cassette tape recording. It has signs of becoming a definitive reference for American blues artists of a certain time and place.

“It was such an esoteric thing to do in the ’70s! The fact that anyone read the book amazed me,” she said.

The book is still in print and being sold on Amazon.com, which van Singel is glad about on loyalty as well as royalty grounds. The interviews allowed great artists of a genre not widely celebrated in their lifetimes to tell their distinctive stories. Interviewees in “The Voice of the Blues” include Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Little Milton, T-Bone Walker and Freddie King.

“It was the last hurrah of the great Chicago musicians. I ran with the greatest; they were my friends, and maybe that’s warped me as far as listening to the newer artists,” she said.

Moving from Alaska to Maine has made it a little easier for van Singel to hear live blues again. She attended last year’s North Atlantic Blues Festival and she was planning to see Charlie Musselwhite May 1 at Rockland’s Time Out Pub. She and her husband arrived in Belfast just about a year ago, which means they both experienced one of Maine’s mildest winters in years and escaped one of Alaska’s snowiest.

“We left just in time,” she said, adding, “Belfast is a drop-dead charming town.” She also has found an outlet for her one-time Alaskan radio host persona Atomic Mama, who occasionally guest-hosts for Paula Greatorex’s “Blues The Healer” show Monday nights on WERU-FM.

The Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held Wednesday, May 9 at the Memphis Marriott Downtown, the night before the 33rd Blues Music Awards. Also on hand will be her co-editor and former husband O’Neal, chairman of the Blues Hall of Fame committee of scholars, record producers, radio programmers and historians.

“It’s a double whammy! I get to go to the induction ceremony, reception, dinner and the awards, I get to go for both nights … It’s [the Hall of Fame] a big deal in the sense that people who are nutcases about the blues picked it — my peers,” she said.

Most rewarding, however, is the fact that “The Voice of the Blues” is beginning to be used as source material in other writings about the blues.

“It’s footnoted all over the place! I’m very pleased that the interviews have provided some benefit to the musicians,” she said.

The Blues Foundation is in the middle of a $3.5 million campaign to establish a physical Blues Hall of Fame at its headquarters in downtown Memphis. For more information, visit blues.org/halloffame. To read excerpts from “The Voice of The Blues: Classic Interviews from Living Blues Magazine,” look it up on Amazon.com.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or dernest@villagesoup.com.