An interview with Tom Bissell in which he drops this gem while talking about John Jeremiah Sullivan and Geoff Dyer: “I prefer to think of that kind of nonfiction as a voice whispering to you in the night. “
Using pen names has been a common practice for, well, a very long time. George Eliot is a nom de plume, as are George Orwell and George Sand. Though not a George, journalist Sarah Hall chose to publish her fiction under a different name. She writes for The Guardian about this decision, the history of the pen name, and the reasons authors continue to use them.