Nicola here. Today I am thrilled to welcome Historical Honey to the Word Wench blog! I first came across the Historical Honey website a few months ago and was very taken with their eclectic mix of historical articles, interviews and reviews, from quizzes to discover which of Henry VIII’s wives you would be to details of costume exhibitions and suggestions for great places to visit. It’s a box of historical delights!
1. Annabelle, Jenna and Polly, thank you for joining us today. Where did the idea for the Historical Honey site first come from?
It all started as a bit of joke, that we would be historical superheroes, or the ‘historical honeys’ who would bring history to the masses. Anyway, we soon got serious, dropped the ‘S’, and Historical Honey was born!
2. Historical Honey’s mission is to make history more accessible for all. Why is this important to you and how are you doing it?
As much as we started off a bit silly, the premise of the site has always been the same. Whether you are an industry professional, a student or someone who dips in from time to time, we are genuinely passionate about creating a platform where people from all walks of life can share their interests. History is universal, and should be accessible to everybody, not just people who can understand the archaeological journal. We like to say it’s ‘history without the cobwebs’.
We know it’s controversial to say, but the majority of historical sites out there are dull, and even though the content can be fascinating, the delivery isn’t accessible and the majority of people are put off by history for this very reason. Annabelle and Polly are archaeologists, and there are publications/TV shows (which shall not be named) which in theory they should read and watch religiously…but they don’t. Why? Because they are boring.
We want to present history in a fun and engaging way. We actively encourage people to contribute and write 500 word articles on a subject of their choosing. In the beginning we thought we would get dozens of articles on popular subjects such as Rome or Egypt. To our surprise we haven’t received one yet! It’s an amazing insight into how varied peoples interests are, and there truly is something for everyone.
Whether you visit us just once or religiously every day, we hope you will learn something, have a giggle and maybe pass on a little trivia to a friend.
3. The site features all kinds of quirky articles on history, from badass history boys to how to have sex like Socrates. How do you decide what sort of articles fit the image of the Historical Honey site? What are you looking for from potential contributors?
We can best describe Historical Honey as a pick n’ mix of historical content. Sometimes we can be silly, sometimes naughty, but it’s all what makes us human, right? Folks from history were certainly no different!
There really are no set rules when it comes to contributor articles; if someone can bring passion to a subject, it can’t help but be interesting. It really is passion that is a fundamental driver behind the whole concept of Historical Honey, and all of our contributors have passion in abundance!
Alongside articles written by contributors we also write our own, in-house; ranging from general topics, book reviews, quizzes, interviews… the great thing about working for Historical Honey is that we get to write about whatever takes our interest (as long as its historical!).
4. What are your own historical interests and passions, heroes and heroines?
Annabelle: I am a massive medieval fan. I dream about life at the Tudor court and chat to Jenna daily about Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn (face to face, via text, Whatsapp…seriously, one day we should think about publishing our inane conversations about our Henners and Annie B!) It’s such an obvious one to choose but Anne really is my heroine. We will never know what made her tick, and that’s just what holds our fascination. She had a tragic end, but her strength is something every woman can relate to.
Jenna: My parents and friends have always regarded me as a bit of a history geek. As the only member of the HH team without a background in history or heritage, I can safely say I am your ‘Average Joe’ who loves to learn about the past! Aside from my love for the Tudor and Victorian periods, my historical interests are limitless. I love to read about anything morbid; asylums, graveyards, witchcraft and bodysnatching. I am particularly passionate about fashion throughout history, and the Honey team are renowned for dressing up in historical garb! As for historical heroines, that is a hard one, as I am quite changeable! Probably Jane Austen or John Lennon; both great writers who have changed the world through their work. Both timeless artists.
Polly: I recently completed a masters in forensic archaeology and anthropology so I do love a good skelly! I love how just a few small bones can provide a window into someone's life and times - even if they lived thousands of years ago. I have a big honey crush on Charles Darwin, I love Leonardo Da Vinci (especially his anatomical drawings) but my No.1 hero has to be Agatha Christie. She was an archaeologist before women were called archaeologists, and wrote many of her stories whilst travelling around the world - what a life!
5. If you could back in time to a moment in history, when would you choose?
Annabelle: There are too many, I couldn’t possibly choose!
Jenna: Versailles at the time of Marie Antoinette. I want to know what she was really like. Second to that, I would love to be a fly on the wall and find out what actually happened to the Princes in The Tower.
Polly: The roaring 20s - for the dresses and the cocktails!
6. Historical Honey also reviews historical fiction. What do you look for in a good historical novel?
Annabelle: I am sucker for books which allow me get inside the head of the characters; allowing me to travel along with them on their journey. Oh and obviously, a little romance never goes amiss!
Jenna: I love to get lost in time, so descriptions of surroundings, dress, smells and food are all important in building the image in my mind of where the action is taking place. And, anything a little bit sexy.
Polly: The little details that show that an author has really read up and done a lot of research about a topic really makes a historical novel. You need to be able to trust that the author knows what they are talking about before you can trust in the story. Topic-wise, I love a good mystery or anything set during the early 20th Century.
7. Can you give us a sneak peek of what’s coming up next in the Hive?
Something that has always been really important to us is helping young people get on the career ladder in the cultural sector. The HH team have all personally struggled, so we are currently building a space where all industry jobs and internships from across the country will be posted. We are also in the process of recruiting industry professionals to act as mentors for young people, as and when they need it. Working in this sector is a dream for many people, but with a bit of drive and a lot of passion it can become a reality.
Additionally, we have recently launched the exciting ‘#SecretBookClub’. Members will receive a free historical novel, at random, to read. The only catch is they have to send us a short review. As the majority of us are stuck in a rut when it comes to choosing a book to read, the #SecretBookClub will allow contributors to read something completely out of their comfort zone, hopefully providing a more honest review. Whether they love or hate it, we want to hear about it!
A big thank you to Annabelle, Jenna and Polly for visiting Word Wenches today and sharing some of the secrets of the hive. If you would like to find out more about Historical Honey you can find them here:
If you have any questions for Historical Honey please go ahead and ask! Their question to you is which historical character would you like to exchange places with for a day and how do you think that person would cope with your life? One commenter gets the choice of one of my books as the prize.