Some of your books feature ships and sailors. What’s the difference between a pirate and a privateer?

Pirates were thieves. They stole cargoes and ships as they wished and whenever they could get away with it. Privateers were free agents commissioned by a government to act on behalf of a state or nation. They often behaved quite a lot like pirates on the seas, but their purpose was to help the people that commissioned them win battles and wars. Many of the ships that fought on the side of the U.S. during the wars of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries were privateers.