ARMISTEAD MAUPIN took gay fiction to a mainstream audience with his Tales ofthe City series. David Baru visited his San Francisco home and spoke to him about their TV dramatisation and his new novel, Maybe The Moon.

‘Our New Zealand home was featured in the September issue of House and Garden. I wrote the piece about how Terry and I found the house and how happy we are there. Everything went swimmingly until we were informed by the extremely sophisticated. urbane editor that the term “lover” was offensive to their readers. I really had to take a very angry stand with them. I said that “friend” was a euphemism I was sick of reading in their magazine and that “companion” suggested that I was an old

rmistead Maupin is gay.

That shouldn‘t be news. should it? Not now that his Tales ofthe City books. the sales ofwhich i recently surpassed one million copies. have established him as one i of the most successful authors of gay i literature. And certainly not after the E televised versions ofthe novels are premiered this autumn on Channel 4.

Yet Maupin is still having to make his 5 sexuality very clear. L__

12 List 29January— 11 February 1993

fart in a wheelchair that Terry was running up and down the country roads. There's no way to go from complete invisibility to acceptance without taking these stands and making these gestures. I wish there were. because I get tired ofbeing the loud-mouthed fag.‘

Maupin and his lover share a top-floor. serious-views fiat near the Castro district in San Francisco. The front room is dominated by a glass corner with picture-postcard vistas ofthe distant Bay Bridge and the TransAmcrica building. There are two enormous couches you could get lost in. a coffee table groaning under a mountain of magazines and. ofcourse. Willy the poodle. who spent a lot oftime suspiciously sniffing my new Doc Martens.

Tales oft/1e ('in is a series of novels that began as a limited-run newspaper column. Maupin was intrigued by reports of a local Safeway that had become a popular locale for heterosexual cruising. Unable to find a single shopper willing to admit they were looking for more than frozen waffles. Maupin decided to fictionalise the story and created Mary Ann Singleton. a small-town girl new to San Francisco. She. her best friend Michael. her eventual husband Brian and their landlady Anna Madrigal were the central characters that spanned all six books and chronicled the social settingofSan I; Francisco from the mid-70s onwards. f

In retrospect. the novels provide an excellent account of the city at the centre ow