“I grew up in Montreal Canada, but spent my summers at the cottage on Otter Lake Ontario.”

Sharon Hinterland, the owner and creative vision behind Second Life’s Otter Lake, talks about what inspired her to create Otter Lake in this month’s Creator Spotlight – brought to you by The Nature Collective.

Q: How long have you been in Second Life?
A: Almost 12 years now and during that time I only took one 6 month break about a year after I joined. Things have come a long way since then. It used to be like being in Legoland – things were much less realistic and more primmy too.

Q: What brought you to Second Life?
A: I saw a segment on 60 Minutes about how IBM and other companies were using Second Life as a virtual board room and was curious about the game, so I logged in the next day and got hooked. The rest is history.

Q: What inspired you to create Otter Lake?
A: Now that is a long story. I played SL for about 2 years thinking people who owned land were crazy. Why have it when there were so many free places to go? Then one day a friend asked me to move in with her and it didn’t take long for me to see the advantages to having a home here.

I decided I wanted my own place to be more creative and rented a sky box and really enjoyed decorating it in my style. I then migrated to the ground ending up on the Blake Sea. I really enjoyed seeing boats and planes go by and the freedom to have a boat next to my dock and sail for hours around the continents, but always wanted to have a sim of my own where I could create my own little world. So I rented a sim and it was only supposed to be for a month and that was 3 years ago.

I grew up in Montreal Canada, but spent my summers at the cottage on Otter Lake Ontario –  (https://otterlake.org/about/general-information) (http://www.sandybeachatotterlake.com).

This was my inspiration. It’s located in one of the regions where a small part of the Canadian Shield goes this far south. (For those who don’t know, the Canadian Shield is some of the oldest and hardest rock in the world and it created a rugged and scenic look.)

Shortly after I created the sim, a blogger was tossing darts at the SL map and landed on my sim and we started a conversation. He gave me some good tips and things really took off from there. I never planned on having it open to the public, but soon learned just how much I enjoyed having people here so I kept it open ever since.

Q: What’s your creative process like? Do you have everything all planned out or do you have a general idea and improvise along the way?
A: I always have a basic image, sometimes it’s very detailed, other times it’s a general theme. When I finish, it may be close to what I imagined but never the same since when I build I always change things to fit or flow better.

The one thing I do regret is only having a homestead. That makes things much harder – it’s always a balance on what looks good and saving prims. It’s always been my dream to have a full prim sim so I can use nicer trees and plants and grasses, but ’till I win the lotto it will remain a dream.

Q: How long does it take you to create each version of your sim?
A: There are times I can create what I want in a short time, e.g. 4 to 6 days and work maybe 4 hours a day and other times I have had a hard time learning to create what I was thinking of and it may take 2 weeks, where I do something, hate it, tear it down then re-do it.

My version I have now went very fast. I think I did it in 3 days? But I have to admit on this one I recycled a lot of items from past builds. My next creation will be something totally fresh, but that will not be for a little time since I am enjoying my little town.

Q: What are some of your favorite places to visit in SL?
A: There are soooo many creators now I admire and a lot of great builds. Sadly many of the sims don’t last long. I tend to like the realistic sims and a few people who come to mind are Bo, who created the Elvion sims. He has Rockmead at the moment, Busta – the owner of Rusty Nails, who has done many sims like Soul of Dreams. I also admire Vally Lavender-Prodigy sims, the owner of Seiiki and Syn the owner of the private group of sims, Elysion. And who does not know of Mothers Roads – an all time great. But sadly I have a hard time doing photos there since my avi is real size lol

Q: What do you do in your spare time outside of SL?
A: I know this is sad, but most of my spare time is in SL. When it’s not, I like to travel and on rare occasions get out on the water with my kayak. My dog limits my life – I can’t be away for a long time during the day, but I love animals and would never want to be without a true companion always by my side.

Q: What are some of your favorite nature-related places you’ve visited in real life?
A: I’ve been to every province in Canada and most of the eastern USA, but my favorite place was around Gros Morne, Newfoundland. In one day there I saw bears, moose, seals, whales and ice bergs.

Q: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live and why?
A: Hands down Newfoundland. I’ve never met more friendly people anywhere. Whenever I was lost or needed help they were like family. It’s the only place I can say I felt at home – a place full of life and spirit where the people have not lost their culture and love for music and the arts.

Now onto the fun stuff!

Q: Coffee or tea?
A: Coffee ?

Q: Books or TV?
A: TV, but I don’t watch much. Books are good since you create your own world in them, but I’m lazy and not a big reader.

Q: If you could be any animal, what would it be and why?
A: Being a human animal is nice since we have a larger concept of what is going on, but there is something to say about blissful ignorance, so an animal other then human, hmmmm.. Even though I love dogs to death I would probably choose a bird of prey like an eagle or falcon. You can soar and travel where you want without the fear of being eaten by another bird.

For additional information regarding Otter Lake, please visit the following:

Discord: Otter Help
Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/groups/otterlake/
SL Group: secondlife:///app/group/3338fbe6-2891-5c2a-07ad-ebafd9629e39/about

(to join the group, copy and paste the above into “Nearby Chat” in your Second Life viewer and then click the link to bring up the group profile)

Visit Otter Lake in Second Life: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Lanzarote%20Cove/177/124/25


Creator spotlights are published monthly. We hope you enjoy getting to know a little bit more about your favorite nature creators and some behind-the-scenes information about your favorite nature places in Second Life!

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