How to make a historical novel look modern?

I have always loved books with pictures, and regretted that we’re supposed to grow out of them as we become adults. Except when we read Dickens.

I wanted to have something a bit like the drawings of scenes in books like Oliver Twist – drawings that have enormous power over readers. I also wanted to avoid making this book look too “historical”.

What to do? For some time, I contemplated paying my improviser friends to come and play scenes so that they could be photographed. But the logistics – let alone the expense – defeated me.

So I thought about using modern faces. I asked some of my improviser friends to pull the kinds of expression that might help to convey a sense of particular characters. And once again they managed wonders.